Redditor Boring-Truck8870 is a mother with an autistic young daughter who experiences anxiety over anyone touching her head or hair.
One day, the Redditor and her husband made a decision concerning their daughter that consequently upset both their parents for different reasons.
She visited the “Am I the A**hole? (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for cutting my daughter’s hair”
The Original Poster (OP) explained why there was so much drama over the haircut.
“Okay so for context.. My (30 female) 4 year old daughter has never had her hair cut before. She’s autistic and very sensitive about people touching her head or hair at all.”
“My mother and MIL have been equally desperate to take her to get her hair cut. Like to the point where I was pretty sure one of them was going to do it without asking us.”
“So the other night, my husband (36 M) and I, (after spending 30 minutes with us holding her down while she cried as we tried to brush her hair) said eff it let’s just cut it ourselves.”
“It’s was so long that it was hard to manage And we figured she would feel safer doing it at home.”
“It was a huge success, I’ve cut my own hair a few times so hers looks decent, and she ended up having a blast acting out scenes from tangled. Best case scenario all around.”
“BUT now both his and my mom are flipping out. They both wanted to be there for her first hair cut. My mom thinks I ruined my daughter’s hair, and my MIL thinks I’m babying her because of her autism. It’s become a huge thing.”
“At the time it felt like the right thing, but now I’m worried that I should have called them before. Made it like an event or something.”
“Was I keeping them from a special event in their only granddaughters life?”
Edit- there are already too many comments to respond, but to clarify a few things 1.I think my MIL is just really uninformed regarding her comments. She does love and care for our kiddo.. she just seems to see ASD as having a “problem” and since our kid is the super flipping awesome amazing kiddo.. she doesn’t agree with the diagnosis. We are teaching her that you can be a super freaking awesome kiddo and be autistic.
2. I have no flipping idea why this is such a big deal to them but it also has been. She has gorgeous hair the literal color of gold that people always comment on. They’ve both become a bit obsessed with her hair for some reason
3. Thank you for all the suggestions! I am reading even if I don’t get time to comment. Advice, tips and whatnot always help!
Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
Many Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole here.
“NTA…it literally would never occur to me to call my mom or my husband’s mom when I cut my kid’s hair. They’re my kids not my mom’s.” – ladynutbar
“100% NTA. You know your daughter best, and you did EXACTLY what she needed you to do. Her comfort and well-being are a million times more important than grandparents standing around and watching a hair cut.”
“I work with kids on the spectrum and anxieties around getting hair cut is a VERY real thing. Kudos to you, OP, for making this potentially stressful situation fun and comfortable for your child.” – MindDeep2823
“NTA. I was a barber for years, and have done countless first haircuts for kids who are on the spectrum. I can tell you from experience that the less people involved the better.”
“Most kids do best when there’s no music, no extra people, and the cape and wet hair are often a big issue so sometimes no cape no water. They are also dealing with a stranger touching them while holding scissors. It is stressful for them.”
“If a parent is capable of doing it at home where they’re comfortable that is ideal. It creates a better first experience so when they’re ready they can have someone else do it as it’s not a new experience anymore.” – threehamsofhorror
“NTA – I would never think that I had to call my MIL and Mother to announce I was getting my own child’s hair cut. I have a cousin who was born with Down Syndrome. She was the youngest of 12 kids.”
“My uncle loved long hair and decreed that my cousin would never have her hair cut. Said uncle worked doing road construction and was rarely at home, so my aunt got the responsibility of taking care of her daughter’s long hair.”
“When cousin was 8, aunt and uncle divorced. There were only 3 kids living at home. Aunt had found a job, but did not make enough money to get a large apartment and pay the expenses of 3 children, and had basically been a single mom for 25 plus years while uncle was gone for weeks at a time for his job.”
“Uncle was no longer working on the road, and Aunt wanted time to herself after years of taking care of 12 children. Aunt also said that it would be unfair to the kids to be pulled out of a school they had been going to and the family home was large and paid for, so it made sense for the kids to stay with uncle.”
“2 weeks after uncle had to take care of an 8 year old’s hair that hung down to her backside, uncle took cousin to get her hair cut. Uncle loved long hair as long as he didn’t have to take care of it.” – LadyGrassLake
“Former hairdresser here.”
“It might be worth (if you have the time and money) looking into a quick hairdressing course to learn the basics so you don’t have to worry so much as your daughter grows.”
“Another idea is cheap dolls (charity/thrift shops) and youtube videos. Hair is hair and if you can get the cut line straight then that’s 90% of the job done. Youtube has also come a really long way in terms of educational videos for practically everything.”
“You could also attach the doll to a roomba in a kids pool for a more ‘child’ accurate scenario (cause even nuerotypical kids hate sitting still for hairdressers) (this was 95% a joke btw, my most fidgety client was a nt kid I chased round the shop for an hour).”
“Also, NTA at all. You are doing what is best for YOUR child, so anyone else’s opinions do not matter. Especially when that opinion is albeist and minimises your family’s differences. You do you mama, be someone your daughter is happy with, not someone your mom/mil are satisfied with.” – Violentgoth
“As someone who is autistic and has autistic kids -“
“You are NTA for cutting her hair in a way that is less stressful for her. A bit of an a**hole for holding her down to brush her hair – but I get that sometimes it’s hard to get kids to allow hair to be brushed.”
“I really recommend Cantù detangling spray and we allow tablet time during brushing / it’s helped a ton with our kiddo being calmer during hair fixing time.” – malevolentk
“NTA The whole babying comment would make me go low contact. The people are out of their mind thinking they have any right to make you feel bad for this. Tell them they can deal with it or be kept at a distance from now on.” – Upperclass_hobo
“NTA. Time for a perspective from an autistic person with touch sensory.”
“I hate it when people I don’t know well touch me especially without asking consent. Whenever I feel touched by a person behind my back, my brain tells me that someone is attacking me and I must defend myself. I had difficulties with dentist and doctor appointments when I was younger because I felt so panicked.”
“This might be a problem for you in the future but the best way to handle it is to be there in the room with your child when appointments like these happen. It’ll give your child a sense that she is safe and that you’ll protect her.”
“Another suggestion I can come up with is for you to make sure your daughter has her comfort item (usually a plushie) with her during these appointments.” – QuietWeasel
Overall, Redditors remained on the OP’s side and agreed that she shouldn’t be too concerned with pleasing her mother and MIL about missing out on a “big event”.
In edit, the OP clarified a few points mentioned in the thread.
“1.I think my MIL is just really uninformed regarding her comments. She does love and care for our kiddo.. she just seems to see ASD as having a ‘problem’ and since our kid is the super flipping awesome amazing kiddo.. she doesn’t agree with the diagnosis. We are teaching her that you can be a super freaking awesome kiddo and be autistic.”
“2. I have no flipping idea why this is such a big deal to them but it also has been. She has gorgeous hair the literal color of gold that people always comment on. They’ve both become a bit obsessed with her hair for some reason”
“3. Thank you for all the suggestions! I am reading even if I don’t get time to comment. Advice, tips and whatnot always help!”