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Single Dad Flips Out After Sister Straightens His Mixed-Race Son’s Hair Without Permission

Daniel Llao Calvet/Getty Images

Hair is everything.

For many, it is part of one’s identity.

And when it’s a child’s hair, parents can be very protective.

Case in point…

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

He asked:

“AITA for flipping out on my sister?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (26 M[ale]) am a single father to my son (4 M).”

“My son has the most beautiful curly hair ever that he inherited from his mother who is afro-latina.”

“I am white.”

“My family all has straight hair except my mother who has curls too.”

“Hers are way looser than my son’s though so she doesn’t really know what to do with his hair.”

“He’s very tender headed so we usually keep it short.”

“For the past few months, he’s refused to get his hair cut.”

“I thought he was getting nervous because the barber’s is usually packed but I tried to do it at home and he freaked out so now his hair is about chin length.”

“I’ve taken some classes and used YouTube to care for it and he loves his hairstyles.”

“My girlfriend (22 F[emale]) is black and she helps me with his hair too.”

“I recently had to work late and my sister (32 F) was the only available person to watch him.”

“She was taking her family to the zoo so my son was going along with them.”

“When I picked my son up, his hair was straightened.”

“I have never used heat on his hair besides a blow dryer (with a diffuser) and I immediately freaked out.”

“I asked my sister what happened and she said that she tried to brush his hair before they went out and it looked ‘messy’ so she straightened it.”

“I have made it clear before that no one can brush my boy’s hair but me and my mother and heat is not allowed.”

“She said she forgot she couldn’t brush it and she didn’t want him outside looking messy.”

“I told her she should’ve just tied his hair up in a pony tail or bun after that.”

“We ended up arguing and I took my son and left.”

“My son was very upset and I had to call my girlfriend for advice.”

“She came over and we managed to revert his curls with minimal damage.”

“Now, my sister and her husband are demanding that I apologize.”

“They’re saying that I had no right to fight with them after they babysat my son and took him out.”

“I honestly don’t know if they’re right or wrong because I’ve asked 10 people for their opinions (majority family) and they’re spilt 50/50 on my side or hers.”

“Everyone who agrees with her is saying that I should’ve reminded her of what to do with my son’s hair when I dropped him off.”

“Because I shouldn’t have expected a white lady with white kids to know any better.”

“My son’s hair was in cute finger coils done by my g[ir]f[riend] when I dropped him off.”


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.

“NTA. Who puts heat on a child’s hair, especially when it’s not even their child???” ~ TemptingPenguin369

“NTA. White people know damn well we don’t know what to do with non-white hair.”

“Even if you had never mentioned it, If she wanted to do something to his hair, she should have at least called and asked for advice.” ~ Aggravating_Start411

“Also saying that his hair looked ‘messy’ is racist.”

“Just because his hair doesn’t look like a white person’s hair doesn’t mean it’s bad.”

“Also I have so much sympathy for this kid, I have very fine straight hair.”

“It tangles even if I’m sitting still.”

“Nobody could brush my hair as a kid without me breaking out in tears.”

“It was genuinely one of the most painful things I’ve experienced.”

“I barely let anybody near my hair now, almost 4 years without going to an actual hairdresser.”

“I can only imagine how painful this was for his kid and traumatic.”

“Just because he’s a kid doesn’t me he doesn’t deserve to have consent for what happens to his hair.”

“He’s also learning at such a young age that there’s something different about him, that should be ‘shameful.'”

“I hope his dad never lets his sister babysit him again, for the sake of protecting his son from pure racism. NTA.” ~ screechingraspberry

“I’m a white person, could straightening it with heat damage it?”

“My hair is just starting to become curly, but I would never touch anybody else’s hair… come on.”

“NTA I would have freaked out too.”

“You don’t change any child’s hair!”  ~ Jeterzhoni

“I have slightly curly hair.”

“Wake up with a lion’s main, but I’m able to put into a pony with light waves.”

“I am not sure where to put it on the chart, but think about 60% of a classic Scottish and/or Irish wavy type.”

“When I was in high school my mom wanted me to use a curling iron on my hair every day instead of putting it in a ponytail.”

“She told me to use it for ten seconds.”

“I thought she meant hold it for ten seconds.”

“Thus I burned the lower inch or two of my hair due to improper heat management.”

“That was from miscommunication rather than borderline malicious intent that OPs sister had.”  ~ Ok_Whereas_Pitiful

“NTA – but the kids 4 years old.”

“Who cares what his hair looks like?”

“Why should the sister even care?”

‘Too bad that someone at the zoo might think you have a kid with you with untidy hair.”

“It seems crazy to me to even worry about it.”  ~ IgnotusPeverill

“Oh NTA.”

“You don’t mess with anyone’s kids’ hair no matter the ethnicity.”

“Don’t cut, color, straighten, curl, etc.”

“She was way out of line.” ~ herdingcats2020

“NTA. So imagine if a blonde kid was dropped off and came back with brown hair cause the family thought that blond hair looked thin and brown would look thicker.”

“That is a similar level of crazy to what went down here.”

“There is no reason to freak out over a 4-year-old having messy hair, or to change their hair because it’s messy – that does not impede trips out of the house.”

“A 4-year-old is fine to go out the house as long as they are reasonably clean and clothed.”

“That’s it. Hair styling is 100% optional.”

Your sister was WAY out of line.” ~ thirdtryisthecharm

“NTA. She knew what she was doing, and you are right to protect your kid.”

“And keep looking out for him—I predict this is the tip of the racist iceberg.”

“Well done OP for being a great dad and stylist to your kid.”  ~ camellia_s

“NTA. Your sister was both ignorant and racist.”

“This is a microaggression.”

“The fact that she could not see it and now they are wanting you to apologize says a lot.”

“This is your child they had no right to touch his hair.” ~ ChimiJae123

“NTA. She used the word ‘messy’ as a bad excuse for wanting your son’s hair to fit her idea of an acceptable appearance.”  ~ AzureNope

“NTA – She skipped calling/texting you for input.”

“If it is not your child you do not change the hair.”

“She overstepped and is stating it was ‘good intentions.'” ~ DesertSong-LaLa

“NTA, and I’d keep her away from your kid.”

“She called his hair messy, even though it was styled by his mother in a cute, natural style.”

“At best, she’s wilfully ignorant, and at worst, actively dislikes his racial heritage.”

“Either way, her criticism of his appearance (and obliquely, his mother’s) will damage him.”

“I’d feel differently (same vote) if she seemed open to learning, but she already violated your boundary and then doubled down on it by demanding an apology.” ~ Randomized_Tiger

“NTA- Race has nothing to do with understanding that if the child is not your child you do not significantly alter their hair without parental consent.” ~ GothPenguin

“Altering a minor child’s appearance and grooming (especially one with part Black heritage) without at least consulting the parents (let alone without knowledge or consent) is a big ‘Hell, no!'”

“Not even gonna get into insensitivity regarding Black hair.”

“Ask her if it was her child, would shaving their head be okay with her? NTA.” ~ Old_Leadership_5000

“NTA. I’m white. And I know nothing of curly hair.”

“Though my hair has a bit of a curl to it when long.”

“Nothing massively curly.”

“But even I know you ask before doing anything with or to someone else’s kid.”

I don’t care if it’s simply just giving them a cookie. Or even a carrot.”

“I ask their parent before I do it.”

“I make sure to write down any allergies they have or restrictions.”

“Your sister really should have called you when she ‘forgot’ about your rule with his hair.”

“You do not mess with another person’s child.”

“I have to say at the very least she did not try to cut it.”

“That would have been a lot worse.”

“What she did was reversible.”

“And wouldn’t take a long time to reverse.”

“I say get a babysitter that you trust.”

“Make sure you write down your rules and post them where they can see them.”

“Like on the fridge.”

“And make sure your son knows where they are so he can tell them to look at them if he is uncertain.” ~ Psycuteowl

Well OP, Reddit hears you and clearly agrees with your reaction.

It sounds like you and your sister need to come to an understanding about boundaries.

Hopefully she’s willing.

Good luck.