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A 5-year-old girl has just cut her own and her younger sister's long beautiful hair. This is not the first time.

Her parents are mortified and concerned that the girls will be ridiculed at school. They have been to the hair dresser and now have buzz cuts.

How can they make this stop? Is there anything that can be done to prevent ridicule at school?

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The five year old might appreciate the scene in Anne of Green Gables where Anne dyes her hair (unsuccessfully) and has to cut it short. –  justkt Jun 25 '12 at 15:00
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4 Answers 4

It happens to many kids. One of mine did the same - using a pair of scissors to cut about 12 inches off the sides of her hair. It looked terrible, and we pointed out her mistake :-)

They will be made fun of for a short while, but this isn't the end of the world - if I were you I wouldn't worry about it.

If she gets made fun of for a short while it will persuade her not to do out again. Probably a good end result.

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Torben makes a great point, about natural consequences. I agree with Paul Cline about the specific phrasing, but letting the girls experience the natural consequences of their mistake is likely the best medicine for making it stop. Now, since you mention it isn't the first time this has happened, there is some evidence that perhaps the teasing did not do the trick.

When my own daughter tried to cut her hair, I took her into a salon and while the secondary haircut was happening to "fix" the chop job. I asked the stylist to explain how much schooling she had done in order to learn to cut hair in a way that makes it look good.

The stylist spoke about hours of practice, we saw a practice mannequin she happened to have in back and Alice got a pretty good lesson in how perfecting a skill takes time, training and practice.

Removing scissors entirely from her experience is not a good idea because she does need practice using them for fine motor skills development. We had already limited access to the scissors unless she was watched until we thought we could trust her to use safe scissor practices and had only recently let up on the always watching part. We returned to monitored scissor use only after her "experiment in styling" and she learned that trust sometimes has to be re-earned when it has been lost (another good natural consequence).

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Let them learn the lesson the hard way. After all, the damage is not permanent although it will take a long time to grow long hair again. If they mess with their hair, then they've got to take the consequence.

The older sister should learn from this that choices have consequences. Stupid choices have stupid consequences.

Admittedly, the little sister didn't cut her own hair but she let her sister cut her hair - hopefully she'll learn to not let her sister cut her hair again.

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At 5 years old, though, the consequences are likely her friends saying "wow, you got to cut your own hair!?" ;) –  DA01 Jun 25 '12 at 14:55
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-1: I like the idea that certain behaviors have natural consequences, but I don't like the tone of "stupid choices." I doubt she chose to give a bad hair cut. She probably wanted to recreate the special feeling of attention she gets at the hair salon. Or something like that. Anyway maybe the lesson is "sometimes experiments fail". Or "we need to practice things before we do the for real." –  Paul Cline Jun 25 '12 at 16:18

How can they make this stop?

Remove the scissors from the house.

Is there anything that can be done to prevent ridicule at school?

Not really. Kids have been and always will be mean. Though at 5 years old, likely not yet in the severe ridicule stage (methinks her peers will be more like 'whoa...let me feel your buzz cut!'

Remember, hair grows back.

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-1 Removing scissors from the house is not a logical consequence. Scissors can be found almost anywhere - school, friends houses. –  nGinius Jun 25 '12 at 16:31
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I would sure hope that a 5 year old can't "just find scissors almost anywhere" and cut their hair. –  DA01 Jun 25 '12 at 16:48

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