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Redditor Called Out For Shaving Niece’s Matted Hair While Sister Was Visiting Husband In Hospital

A baby's head is being shaved by electric clippers

A child’s hair can be an intimate issue for a parent.

Parents want to be the ones who choose how to fashion their kid’s hair.

But if a parent is MIA and there is a hair emergency… what does one do?

If a child is in pain, people are supposed to act.


Case in point…

Redditor Fancy-Judgment-4041 wanted to discuss their experience and get some feedback. So naturally, they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for shaving my niece’s hair off?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My sister has a daughter, and she is 4 years old.”

“Lexi has super curly hair and needs her hair to be taken care of constantly.”

“My sister’s husband ended up in the hospital and she has been a wreck.”

“He has only been in for a week, but she is destroyed and stopped brushing Lexi’s hair.”

“I was visiting with some premade meals and noticed the house and Lexi’s hair were a mess.”

“My sister wasn’t doing well, so I offered to take Lexi for a bit so she could focus on her husband.”

“I tried to fix her hair. It’s just matted.”

“I couldn’t fix it.”

“I went to a hair salon to see if they could fix it, but it would be 50 dollars an hour for them to brush out the hair.”

“My sister wasn’t picking up.”

“So we had her head shaved the next day.”

“I sent pictures when it was done, which finally got my sister to respond.”

“It resulted in a huge argument, with her saying how dare I do that and I pointing out I wouldn’t have had to if she brushed her daughter’s hair.”

“So AITA?”

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 OP was NOT the A**hole.

“Yeah, a similar thing happened to my daughter when she was three after going to the pool multiple times in a row.”

“I took her to a salon, and they stated that it would be best to cut it off.”

“So they did, and she rocked a pixie cut for a while until it grew out.”

“She didn’t care, and neither did I.”

“It’s just hair, and it will grow back.” ~ lucyjayne

“Ugh, I feel for you.”

“My hair was like that when I was younger.”

“It was long, fine, tangled super easily, and a rat’s nest if it wasn’t brushed all the time.”

“PLUS, I hated having it brushed because it hurt.”

“I don’t know if I really just wanted it long or what, but it would’ve been so much easier and less painful if I’d just had it cut!” ~ SpudTicket

“I was neglected growing up.”

“My mom forced me to have long hair, wouldn’t let me cut it even though I begged, but wouldn’t help me take care of it either.”

“It’d get super matted, and then when she finally got around to detangling it, it’d be super painful.”

“If the child is down for having their matted hair cut, cutting it is the ethical choice.”

“Subjecting an unwilling child to painful detangling is, in my opinion, abuse.”

“And you’re absolutely right that this would probably become a reoccurring issue if the mom continues to neglect her child as she has been.”

“It doesn’t make sense to spend hours detangling a kid’s matted hair when the primary caregiver will let it get right back to that state again, especially when the kid is cool with having it cut.”

“If this was a boy would anyone even care?”  ~ Merykare

“NTA. I was leaning more towards YTA because not your kid, not your decision.”

“But this child is actively being neglected because their parent is in a depressive state.”

“Her hair is so matted she’s in pain.”

“Her mom is clearly incapable of making decisions at this point, so I’m glad someone is doing something to help her.” ~ kkccola

“The child didn’t mind, and the child was literally in pain from the matting.”

“This wasn’t a haircut to me.”

“As far as I’m concerned, OP got her niece treatment for a painful condition after making multiple attempts over multiple days to clear that treatment with the niece’s parents.”  ~ ka-ka-ka-katie1123

“I’m upvoting you.”

“It’s hair, not a limb, and it wasn’t a choice made for aesthetic purposes or with malicious intent.”

“The notion that it’s ‘assault’ is an insult to kids who get hurt, actually hurt, every single day.”

“This child is being looked after by a family member who obviously cares about her.”

“The kid is fine with it because she’s apparently more well-adjusted than the comments here. NTA.” ~ autogeriatric

“People also need to consider the child when talking about un-matting the hair. It takes hours and can be super painful.”

“I have been very depressed and let my hair get matted to hell, I tried for two hours to untangle it and I have straight hair. It was too painful for me in my mid-twenties that I ended up just cutting it off.”

“A 4-year-old would much rather cut it off than sit through that.”  ~ snarkaluff

“My hair matts pretty easily.”

“I regularly spend HOURS in the shower, using massive amounts of conditioner, awful-smelling olive paste, and Moroccan oil, painfully brushing it out.”

“It’s worth it because I love my hair.”

“But it’s getting bad enough that I think I’m finally going to cut off the ponytail again.”

“My mom used to do this to me as a kid and I could. not. tolerate it!”

“Don’t do this to a kid.”

“Let the hair be shorn; it’ll grow back eventually.” ~ Kingsdaughter613

“I was full-on YTA before reading the post, but I agree. NTA… Mom had time to respond (three days is a lot of time to ignore something you evidently care a lot about).”

“I personally love short hair, and it sounded like kiddo was on board.”

“And it is hair… it grows.” ~ acrylicmole

“I agree with you completely.”

“My parents neglected me and let my hair be painfully matted for years and tried to blame me saying, ‘You wouldn’t let us touch it.'”

“I was a child… they had no issues legitimately holding me down and forcing things down my throat until I puked everywhere, which I was in the wrong for too, but the hair was where they drew the line?”

“Anyway. The mom was neglecting/abusing her child by not doing the most basic care for a 4 year old.”

“Mom is lucky as f**k that OP didn’t choose to call CPS instead.”

“OP is NTA.”  ~ Yuki_Potato666

OP came back with some details…

“To make the timeline clearer, I got her Tuesday morning, went to the salon on Wednesday, and then did the cut today.”

“She had three days to respond to all the calls and texts.”

“This didn’t happen in an hour.”

“Lexi was fine with it.”

“Her head was hurting, and yes, we tried everything we could to get it out.”

“Not to mention I called my sister and texted her multiple times and waited a whole day after the salon visit.”

“It was painful for her.”

“I wasn’t going to leave her in pain since her mom wouldn’t pick up.”

Reddit continued…

“NTA, your update and comments make it clear that you did the best you could for Lexi.”

“The hair was causing her constant pain, and she wanted it gone. She’s satisfied with her new hairstyle, and you seem to have done everything you could to untangle it first.”

“I’m not familiar with that hair type, but apparently you are, as your hair is the same type.”

“l do think that your ‘we wouldn’t have had to if you’d brushed your daughter’s hair’ comment was uncalled for, considering the circumstances, and if you don’t apologize for it, this could be an ‘everybody sucks’ situation instead.” ~ _sbuddy

“Letting your child mat and then not responding for 3 days when your child is with someone else is child neglect.”

“Those comments are ridiculous. NTA.”  ~ Traditional_Rate_339

“100% disagree that that comment was uncalled for.”

“This mother completely neglected her daughter because her husband was in the hospital. You don’t just stop being a mother in a stressful situation.”

“She needed a wake-up call because she was right. If her mother had taken care of her and bothered to answer her over a 3-day time span, yeah, none of this would have happened.”

“The only a**hole is the mother who neglected to take care of her 4-year-old child who can’t take care of herself.”  ~ Frequent_Garden_557

“NTA. I’m probably going to get downvoted but it’s a pretty extreme situation.”

“You tried everything, attempted to contact her mother on multiple occasions without success over three days, and she was in constant pain… hair will grow back.”

“You’re likely going to get a YTA ruling though as you didn’t include the timeline and your attempts in your initial edit.”

“Hope your family gets through this tough time.”  ~ No-Sea1173

“It literally turns into a mat of hair, as in a solid, felted mass.”

“If it’s got wet, it can start molding because it’s not drying.”

“If the child has been around other children in a nursery etc, and picked up lice, etc, they are building multistory carparks right now.”

“Mats are heavy. They itch, they are painful and likely will pull chunks out anyway if not addressed as well as leave open wounds or lesions that could develop into scarring and long-term bald patches.”

“We haven’t even touched the social implications and backlash she may have experienced.”

“NTA. It was and is a rough situation, but this was something that needed to be done for Lexi’s well-being.”

“However, I think you do need to breathe and treat your sister a little kinder, as it sounds like she is struggling.”  ~ TheWelshPanda

Well, OP, Reddit is with you.

Your niece was in pain.

You did what you felt was necessary.

It sounds like quite a stressful time.

Hopefully, your sister will come around.

And hopefully, her husband’s health improves