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Dad Livid After Spouse Shaves Their 11-Year-Old Daughter’s Head Without Consulting Him First

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All parents have to go through a transition when their children become preteens: from making most decisions for them to celebrating their increasing autonomy.

But some parents struggle with the celebration part, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor 505momof2 was shocked that their husband wanted to be included in their daughter’s hairstyling decisions.

But when he remained insistent, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they were looking at the situation in the wrong way.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for cutting my daughter’s hair without discussion with my husband?”

The OP’s daughter wanted to maintain her hairstyle.

“My daughter 11 has long-standing hate of her very thick, heavy, and curly hair.”

“Last year she wanted her hair shaved, and my husband said no.”

“Finally, with [the pandemic], he said fine.”

“Recently, her hair was growing in and she asked for me to shave it again, so I did.”

The OP’s husband did not appreciate coming home to the updated look.

“My husband is extremely upset with me for cutting her hair again without discussing it with him.”

“1. It literally drives her crazy when it’s longer and her head is SOOO sensitive that a single knot causes her serious anxiety.”

“2. It’s just hair.”

“3. She rocks the very short hair and it shows off her beautiful face so well.”

The OP was surprised at their husband’s reaction.

“Part of me understands his frustration because as a parent, it’s important we know what’s going on, but this isn’t a permanent body modification.”

“I also had no idea he’d even care since she’s had the hairstyle and is clearly happier and more comfortable with short hair.” 

“11 years old is absolutely old enough to decide on a hairstyle. However, that wasn’t why I didn’t discuss it, I just literally didn’t think he’d care.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the father needed to prioritize comfort over appearances.

“My sister’s hair is curly, mine is vaguely curly but not that bad. Whenever I complain about it being too long, he says cutting it will make me look too boyish, like he’d rather I deal with literal pain from a sensitive scalp than just cut my hair shorter.”

“He has hardly any hair and has no idea how horrible it is to deal with.”

“Washing it in the shower? Physical pain.”

“Brushing it? Physical pain.”

“Being forced to tie it up in PE? Physical pain.”

“Why should I have to deal with that just because I’m a girl?”Anxious_rubiks_cuber

“NTA. Seriously, he needs to check himself, he’s not the one who has to deal with it every day, and since your daughter is clearly saying that she does not want to, then that should be her choice!”

“Also, I don’t think he knows what goes into having thick curly hair. It’s time-consuming and quite frankly, it causes a lot of pain often because of matting/knots even when being taken well care of. So good for you listening to you child!”TheHorseBandit

“I vote that OP buys a wig that is similar in length and thickness/curl pattern to the daughter’s hair and has her husband wear it for at least a few hours every day in different temp conditions. He might back off a bit when he realizes how uncomfortable hair like that can be.”

“It takes a hot day and makes it SO much hotter, especially if it’s down and covering the back of the neck. It’s heavy, like hello, all the headaches and neck pain. Even putting hair like that up, if it’s long enough, is super uncomfortable. It puts all the weight on one spot and again, headaches and neck pain.”

“Also, have him brush it. He won’t get the pleasure of feeling how uncomfortable/painful that can be since curly hair knots so easily (even straight hair does, but I can imagine it’s worse for curly hair – mine is super thick but pin-straight and it’s already hard enough, I’m honestly glad my hair isn’t curly), but he will be able to feel how much effort goes into brushing it out and how it completely messes with the way the curls look.”

“I’m all for just shaving the hair off if she doesn’t want to deal with it, I have considered this so many times, to be honest.”

“The closest I ever got though was cutting it super short. My parents didn’t like it, but they recognized that they couldn’t force me to keep long hair. Instead, they just started asking me if I was gay… ya know, because short hair is apparently the universal indication that someone is a lesbian.”mkat23

Others said the 11-year-old was old enough to decide for herself.

“NTA.”

“Your daughter is 11, she has the capacity to make decisions about her own hair.”

“The level of ownership your husband is displaying is gross.”SomuchforsubtletyII

“Oh man, for most of my childhood I had long, curly hair that I could sit on. It was so thick and heavy, I would get terrible headaches.”

“It was always tangled and honestly, it was really hard for me to brush and my mom wouldn’t help. Then I would get in so much trouble for taking long showers and using so much conditioner.”

“For years I wanted to cut it and my parents told me no. Finally one day, I asked my older sister to just cut it off for me, she did and it was the most amazing thing to feel. My head felt so much lighter!”

“When my parents came home, my mother screamed at me and my father started weeping. I think it was the only time I’ve ever seen him cry!! I told them I was the one who cut it and they didn’t talk to me for days.”

“I physically felt so much better, but emotionally and mentally I felt like I had betrayed my parents and I was a terrible child. It took me so long to realize that it wasn’t their hair and how they reacted was so selfish and cruel.”

“You listened to your daughter, you did something for her that makes her happy. You are NTA and by allowing her to do this at such a young age, you are letting her develop confidence and individuality. You’re showing her that she’s not just one feature, she’s a whole person. I think that’s wonderful!”badwolf496

“11 is more than old enough to have a valid opinion about it. There’s nothing to discuss with him other than his feelings on someone else’s hair doesn’t matter, because he’s not the one who has to live with it affecting him. NTA.”

“Him caring about something that affects him the least and her the most is troubling. He could offer to cut her hair.”Thyumos

The subReddit completely understood the OP’s confusion at their husband’s reaction and supported their decision to help shave their daughter’s head again. Some were also concerned at the husband’s insistence on being involved in the decision, as well as his focus on appearances instead of his daughter’s comfort.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.