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Dad Sparks Drama By Cutting His Biracial Daughters’ Hair Short Because He ‘Wasn’t Prepared To Deal With It’

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Fatherhood may involve things a man might not want to deal with.

But when he’s a single parent—through design, death or divorce—he’s at some point going to be the only one there for his children.

A widowed father to three girls wasn’t prepared to take care of his daughters—four years after their mother’s death. So he did what he thought was best.

But after upsetting his children and getting pushback from his sister-in-law (SIL) he questioned his choices. So he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Redditor LaughableLion asked:

“AiTA for cutting my daughters’ hair really short because I was not prepared to deal with it?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“Hello. I, 35, have 3 daughters, 5, 6 and 8. They are biracial (I’m White and mom was Black) and have very very curly hair.”

“My wife passed away four years ago and I have been raising them on my own since then. My late wife’s family has always been great in helping me out, however, and we went to family functions regularly before Covid19.”

“My sister-in-law would always take them to a salon that specialized in Black women’s hair whenever they needed it, and she also regularly helped them out, so I never really learned how to help them with it.”

“Unfortunately, my sister-in-law is also a healthcare worker, and when Covid19 hit, she moved 4 hours away because she specialized in something to do with covid19 and they needed her in that area.”

“Furthermore, the salons have been periodically closing and reopening and it is hard for me to get appointments.”

“On top of this all, I am a manager at my job and we were trying to get all of our clients and employees set up for online work so that we could continue to be productive and the increased workload has had me working an average of 60-70 hours a week for the first few months of the pandemic.”

“Well 2 of my girls hair started to get really matted and it basically came down to the fact that I was not keeping up with things, I admit.”

“Their hair was getting out of control so I just decided to cut it by myself and figured it would grow back by the time they got back to school and stuff. I cut it really short, but it did not look too bad as I was following a YouTube video.”

“This was months ago now, but my oldest daughter is still upset about it because she had really long hair before and her hair takes longer to grow. My sister-in-law finally came back about a month ago and is continuing to help my daughters once again.”

“However, the other day when she was at my house, my SIL asked my oldest daughter why they decided to cut their hair so short and she responded with the whole story about how their hair got matted and their dad (me) made them.”

“Well my SIL was angry and implied in front of my daughters that because I was White, I couldn’t understand them (my SIL is really into social justice).”

“I yelled at her because I really try my best to fight racial stereotypes and stuff, and I certainly don’t want my kids to think that I love them less because of their color.”

“While we did apologize to each other, she still claimed I was wrong for cutting their hair.”

“AITA for cutting my daughters’ hair really short because I didn’t know what else to do?”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided unanimously OP was the a**hole.

“YTA. Your wife died 4 years ago. Not 4 days, 4 weeks or 4 months.”

“FOUR YEARS. So what’s your excuse for never bothering to learn to take care of your children?”

“The pandemic is only an excuse for recent history.”

“Your oldest at 8 has had you as her only parent for half her life. Your 6 and 5 year-old daughters have spent most of their lives with you as their only parent.”

“In the middle of a pandemic you just showed them you don’t care enough about them to do even the most basic of grooming. Instead of doing what was best for them, you did what was most convenient for you.”

“Just like you’ve been doing for the last 4 years. Stop saying you’re raising them alone if you can’t handle even routine maintenance.”

“A responsible parent raising them alone would have bothered to learn how to care for them 4 years ago or found a way to make it work during a pandemic.”

“Be honest with yourself. You’ve been co-parenting with your wife’s family.”

“Time to learn how to be a parent or let the girls stay with their co-parents next time their needs inconvenience you.” ~ LakotaGrl

“YTA. You could use YouTube to figure out how to cut it, but not how to care for it?”

“You wanted the easy way out and didn’t stop to think about the message you were sending your daughters – that their hair is a problem and you can’t be bothered with it.” ~ Elle_Vetica

“Seriously OP, you’ve had eight years. Four of them on your own.”

“And you couldn’t be arsed to figure anything out besides ‘make wife, SIL or a salon handle it’ until the pandemic made you?”

“What would you have done if the salon went out of business in the meantime, or heaven forbid if something happened to your SIL too?”

“Not only was this something you can and should have figured out, it’s something you should have learned a long time ago.” ~ calliatom

“But he really tried to fight racial stereotypes and stuff.”

“YTA OP. Not only have you had 8 years since your first child was born, you had longer time than that before getting to the point of marrying your wife to learn about that stuff.” ~ Waury

“At 8 she’s old enough to start learning how to take care of her own hair. This could have been an incredible bonding experience if dad had learned and then helped his kids learn how to take care of their own hair.” ~ Elizabeth_Sparrow

“Or he could’ve taken her to a salon and asked them to help figure out a hairstyle that the daughter could maintain.”

“He had options besides just chopping off all her hair, ffs.” ~ harbjnger

“Exactly. For most little girls (adult women, too, really) hair is kind of their crowning jewel.”

“Chopping it off for no good reason besides ‘Eh, can’t be bothered to keep it up’ is cruel.”

“And hair care is part of basic hygiene. He’s treating it like a privilege.”

“It should have never been allowed to get all matted.” ~ Elizabeth_Sparrow

“Plus, it can be traumatic for a child to have their long hair cut extremely short. It’s a huge breach of trust and bodily autonomy.” ~ Foreign_Astronaut

“Can confirm. It’s traumatic.”

“Asked for shoulder length, ended up with an uneven bob cut because of chatty stylist, then had to cut it to a pixie to correct.”

“I was 8 and I wanted to die I hated my hair so much.” ~ Catezero

“You say that you ‘fight racial stereotypes and stuff’, yet you included this disclaimer (in parentheses) that your SIL is ‘really into social justice’ as if to negate her argument and show how unreasonable she was being.

“You CAN’T understand what it’s like to be a Black girl, because you ARE a White man. Full stop.”

“Your SIL being ‘really into social justice’ has NOTHING to do with this argument, and is 100% stating the facts as they are presented.”

“YTA. Don’t you ever yell at any woman, especially one trying to help your children.” ~ Frivolous-Sal

“The only rationale was ‘this is the easiest option for me, so I’ll do this’.”

“Not another moment of thought was given.” ~ lurkylurkeroo

“Hopping on this to say that the anti Blackness here was LOUD AND CLEAR. Way to punish your girls for being Black.” ~ StarStuffSister

“With all the ‘curly girl’ tutorials out there, he chose to solve a problem that he created with scissors.”

“Sorry buddy, YTA.” ~ Cuteanimalsmakemecry

“And there are specifically videos out there by dads showing other dads how to do their Black/biracial daughters’ hair.”

“The fact that he chose instead to spend his time learning how to chop it off speaks volumes.” ~ pray4mojo2020

“Heck, isn’t he the, ‘I’m not racist, I have a Black friend’ type, so why don’t he go holla at that Black friend to recommend someone?” ~ minahmyu

“YTA. They’re your children.”

“It was generous of your SIL to help as much as she has, but you should have been paying attention to what she was doing so you could manage without her.”

“She is not the parent – you are. And she was right to chew you out for this.”

“You owe her and your kids an apology. It’s long past time for you to learn how to groom your kids.”

“Frankly I don’t know how you’re not utterly humiliated to be this ignorant after so many years.” ~ DiTrastevere

“YTA. Absolutely. That’s an awful thing to do to your kids.”

“Forcing your children to have a hairstyle they don’t want is violating their bodily autonomy. You had a responsibility to take care of them – and their hair!”

“Yes, it’s a lot of work. Welcome to having kids.”

“For a lot of Black and biracial people, hair is an absolutely integral part of their identity.”

“You failed to take that into account, in large part because of your skin colour and the fact that you apparently don’t understand your kids’ experiences and put your own convenience ahead of their needs.” ~ lilianet

“YTA. Don’t have kids with Black people if you dont know and are unwilling to learn how to care for Black hair.”

“You’re telling me in the 4 years since your wife passed you never took any of them to a salon for Black hair on your own? You never figured out how to at least put a comb through it so it didn’t get matted?”

“There’s no excuse for that and that’s ignoring the time between the birth of your first child and your wife’s passing that you never asked her how their hair works.”

“In that time you couldn’t Google ‘how to style Black hair’ but somehow you could find a tutorial to shave it all off. You should be ashamed of yourself for failing your daughters.”

“Do better.” ~ ultimate_hamburglar

“YTA. Your daughters are probably going to grow up, learn more about racism, and understand this incident through a newly traumatic lens.”

“Black hair is heavy stuff culturally and their White father couldn’t be bothered to learn so he cut it off. My heart hurts for them.” ~ napsXfactsXsnacks

The dad did not provide any updates and only one comment on his post—to explain his job:

“I spend most of my time on the computer for my job… and I don’t work those hours now… but did when the pandemic started.”

Without feedback from the OP, it’s unclear if he got the message from Redditors.

When AITA unanimously tells you you’re the a**hole, the message should be very clear.

But you have to be willing to listen.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metis Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. She considers herself another proud Maineiac.
Member of NAJA.