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Mom Called Out For Refusing To Force Daughter To Shave Her Head To Support Stepsister With Cancer

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Hair is a very personal part of many people’s lives.

Some sit with the decision to chop off their hair for a very long time.

Many see hair as an intimate expression of self.

So demanding someone cut it without permission can be… problematic.

Case in point…

Redditor isabellaj8383 wanted to discuss her experience and get some feedback. So naturally, she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for not letting my daughter cut her hair for her stepsister?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My (32 F[emale]) daughter Mia (12 F) has a stepsister Jenny (15 F) who has cancer.”

“I don’t know too much about it, but I know her hair is falling out.”

“Recently Jenny’s mom Loren (38 F) texted me to say that Mia’s hair appointment is on Wednesday.”

“I asked her what she meant, and she said that Mia was going to shave her head to show that she supports Jenny.”

“I told her that Mia wasn’t going to shave her head and if Jenny needs support in that way then Loren can do it for her.”

“Loren said that I was being selfish and not thinking about how cancer is effecting Jenny.”

“I told her my daughter has nothing to do with Jenny’s cancer, and that they aren’t even close and there’s other ways of showing support.”

“Mia wasn’t even aware of the fact that she was getting her hair shaved off or the fact the appointment was even made.”

“I asked Mia if it would be something she’s open to but isn’t.”

“Mia’s dad Liam thinks that this can be a bonding experience for both of the girls and I wouldn’t want to get in the way of that.”

“I told them that they didn’t even talk about it with Me and Mia.”

“I don’t think that I was wrong in what I did.”

“But my stepmom and dad think that I’m not thinking about how Jenny feels.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

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

Many Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“Wait so they made an appointment for your daughter to have her hair shaved off without consulting her?”

“No that’s not ok.”

“It’s bad what the step sister is going through but you don’t just decide to shave off a kids hair.”

“A 12-year-old girl’s hair at that.”

“They’d be setting her up for ridicule and bullying. NTA.”  ~ Unl0vableDarkness

“Honestly this sounds more like a power play on the stepmother’s part than an actual ‘bonding experience’ for the girls.”

“I mean, she booked the appointment behind OPs back.”

“And only told OP about it once the appointment was made and thought OP couldn’t/wouldn’t do anything about it.”

“And didn’t tell Mia about it and I’m guessing she wasn’t going to until she was in the hairdresser chair because why?”

“If her daughter has to lose her hair then Mia has to as well because it’s not fair?”

“Because that’s what it seems like to be honest.” 

“OPs ex’s wife pretty much said ‘f**k Mia and her feelings, my daughter has cancer so Mia should suffer too’ maybe not in words but in action.”  ~danigirl3694

“Absolutely. The only reason friends/family shave their heads when a loved one has cancer is because losing ones hair can be traumatic for some.”

“They feel ugly, insecure, and very noticeably different from everyone else.”

“The head shaving is to help them not feel so alone in perceived unattractiveness and to ‘stand out’ less so (at least psychologically).”

“Mia didn’t elect to do this or even know anything about it!”

“This step mother just up and elected to shave her head without her knowledge or consent, which would likely be just as traumatic as losing it from chemo.”

“I would argue this might even be more damaging emotionally in the long run from the shock, breech of trust, and undeserved punishment since it would have been done as a surprise with no prior knowledge or reasoning by someone she trusted.”

“At 12 years old, you already feel awkward and ugly.”

“Can you just imagine the added anxiety of knowing your stepmother purposely hurt you like that?”

“Just wow.”

“This is wildly abusive of the stepmother and father.”

“And I’d be questioning whether there wasn’t more abusive behaviors going on in the father’s household. NTA.”  ~ betatwinkle

“It’s even more stupid considering the fact that Jenny might not even want this for Mia.”

“I was a cancer patient and had to shave my head and the last thing I would’ve wanted was for the people around me to do the same.”

“The reason: I did not want to be reminded of my condition every time I look at someone I love.”

“There are waaaaay better ways to show support.”

“Definitely NTA and beware of your ex trying to bully your daughter into doing it!” ~ REDDIT

“This, I’ve not had cancer myself so I can’t speak through experience.”

“But I always thought that a better way to support someone going through cancer and treatments was to do things that actually help.”

“Like maybe help with housework/cooking, or taking them to/bringing them home from appointments when possible or even just sitting with them and letting them vent or watch some of their favorite movies with them or something.

“Shaving your hair doesn’t do anything to help, will most likely make the cancer patient feel worse and honestly.”

“To me it’s used way too much for social media clout.”  ~ danigirl3694

“Agree! I had cancer as a child I know I would have hated if everyone else was bald with me.”

“Both of my parents have cancer right now and I have been told I’m not allowed to say I’m in remission anymore (looks like thyroid cancer).”

“And none of us have wanted any physical signs of support.”

“We just want people to lean on if need be.”  ~ Ladybug1388

“Unfortunately, you need to document this extensively and AT LEAST have the lawyer that handled your divorce and custody review it.’

“Having Mia’s hair shaved is legally considered assault.”

“I’ve seen parents get full custody for stuff like this.”

“You don’t want to change custody or other things.”

“But you DO want your ex to understand his responsibility, and your lawyer can make this clear to Dad and Stepmom.

“They should know your daughter has strong advocates going forward.”

“NTA. But do seek support.” ~ No_Performance8733

“NTA. You may want to call the salon where the appointment was made and give them a heads up that you and your daughter do not consent to this.”

“That way, if new wife and ex-husband pull a fast one, the salon will know not to shave your daughters head.”  ~ verybusy94

“Just jumping on this to say OP shouldn’t let her daughter go over there again without first contacting a lawyer.”

“It’s totally within the realm of possibility that they go ahead and cut her hair anyway at the very first opportunity.”

“Yes, hair grows back, but the broken trust of having it taken from you unwillingly by a person who claims to love you does not.”

“OP needs to act fast and completely derail any and all ideas that Mia’s preferences for her physical being are in any way contestable or alterable without her consent.”

“This begins with telling Mia that if she is ever put in a situation by them, again where her autonomy over her own body is being infringed on that she has permission to protect herself without fear of punishment.”

“If they take her to a salon against her will she needs to be told that it is ok for her to scream ‘NO! DON’T TOUCH ME! I DO NOT CONSENT!’ at the top of her lungs and call 911 if necessary.”

“If they assault her at home with clippers, again, she needs to be told that its ok for her to scream and call 911.”

“People will say 911 is excessive.”

“But cutting somebody’s hair without their consent is considered physical assault and to do so to a non-consenting minor in full knowledge of their wishes, without cause, would be treated as abuse.”

“OP needs to lay down the law explicitly, in writing, to both of them via email and email her lawyer so there is a paper trail.”

“They need to be told that further interference with Mia’s appearance will be treated as intentional emotional abuse.” ~ -janelleybeans-

“This 100%, how f**king dare that woman think that she can shave another little girl’s hair off without express consent from both the child in question and her mother just because her daughter has cancer.”

“Yes, her daughter having cancer is difficult.”

“But it doesn’t give her carte blanch to go around shaving other kids hair off behind their parents back.”

“NTA OP, put your foot down, keep it down and don’t let them manipulate you or your daughter into it.”

“You asked your daughter, she said no. End of discussion.”

Also how dare Loren think that she has any say in regards to a child that isn’t even hers?”

“Anything like haircuts etc are to be a discussion and to be decided by OP and her ex only.”

“And OPs ex needs to grow a set and stop letting his new wife bully his own daughter.”  ~ danigirl3694

Reddit is here for you, OP.

You being upset is perfectly understandable.

Hopefully everyone can come together and devise a way to support Jenny.

Good luck to all.

And best wishes to Jenny.