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Stylist Berated For Listening To Teen Instead Of His Grandma About How To Cut His Hair

Thomas Söllner / EyeEm via Getty Images

Sometimes the adults in a child’s life have a tough time giving up control over the kid, no matter how old they are.

Even some adults struggle against their parents or grandparents control and demands on them, as when you’re an adult, you certainly dislike having people tell you what to do with your life.

Redditor and stylist gasolinebrat had a client who was a teenager fully capable of making his own decisions, and so when she followed his instructions on how to cut his air, she incurred the wrath of his grandmother who had wanted his hair done differently.

Unsure if she’d done something wrong, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for objective feedback from strangers:

“AITA for cutting a kids hair the way he wanted?”

Our original poster, or OP, set up the scene when the kid came into her shop.

“I (20f[emale]) work at a chain haircut salon, a few weeks ago a kid around 15-17 came in with his grandma.”

“I get them checked in and bring him back to my chair. His grandma starts telling me how to cut his hair and how she wants it, while he’s saying back he doesn’t want it that way and 
I could tell he was visibly upset.”

“I decided it was best if she didn’t hover over me, and told her she had to wait in the lobby, which from the lobby she couldn’t see us.”

OP then decided to listen to the kid and make a compromise.

“After she’s gone i asked him how he would like it cut because i could tell he really didn’t want what his grandma wanted which was a disconnected haircut (the short on sides, long on top) and he wanted a fade.”

“So I decided to kinda incorporate both haircuts to make both somewhat happy. I get done and he really likes it, and even thanks me for not completely doing the other haircut, it’s still longer on top like she wanted but it’s faded more than she wanted.”

But grandma did not like it.

“Well we get done and we go to the front and as expected she starts yelling at me that it’s not what she wanted and that he’s not old enough to make the decision about the haircut he gets.”

“Keep in mind this kid said he was a junior in high school. She proceeds to yell at me the whole time she’s paying and leaves no tip which i expected, and storms out.”

“Afterwards i talked to my manager about it and she said I should have just done it how the grandma wanted, but in the end I feel like I made the right choice.”

“I didn’t want to make that kid hate his hair I wanted him to feel comfortable. But my family tells me i also should have just cut his hair and not got involved.”


Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

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

Redditors mostly sided with OP here.

“NTA. You made the grandma mad and maybe even your boss, but you likely showed that young man kindness, respect, and autonomy that he doesn’t receive at home.”

“Human kindness is the greatest gift you can give. If i had been a bystander to that situation I would’ve tipped you simply for your strength of character.”

“Keep at it, small acts of kindness bring forth change.”-Ok_Individual9340

“I would add to your awesome comment about autonomy that when kids feel no control over their own bodies they are going to have more issues of self worth as they age.”

“My mother controlled my hair and clothing until I was nearly grown, and I developed a very, very serious eating disorder.”

“Eating or not eating was all I had left to control. Damned near killed me in later years.”

“Your manager sounds nuts, to be honest. The kid will be old enough to carry a semi-automatic killing machine into enemy territory for his country in a year.”

“He is old enough to have his hair cut the way he wants it. Jesus. NTA. You’re awesome. Suck it, Gramma!”-marshmallow_spencer

“I want to add that OP probably gave this kid the confidence he needed during the funny years as a teenager.”

“Kids are especially self conscious as they try to navigate through life and the image they want to portray.”

“By forcing a certain image/the haircut he hates onto him would also cause him resentment towards his grandma, himself, and others around him.”

“My mother forced a haircut on me for many, many years when I was growing up. Her reason was it was just ‘easier’ to manage (aka not wanting to put any effort into helping me style it).”

“This along with the way I dressed and what I could wear as a child. Looking back as an adult, I could laugh at those photos because they were so goofy.”

“But growing up, there were a lot of issues I was dealing with and hating on the way I look (and having classmates laughing at me because I dressed differently) and feeling helpless in having any bodily autonomy did not yield a good time and instill confidence in me.”

“Feeling good and being happy with the way you look would do so much more to you (especially as a young person) than you’d realize. NTA.”-philip_regular

“I agree. NTA. I have 2 kids (16 m[ale] and 11 f) and they have control of their hair. My son is letting his grow out.”

“My daughter wanted one color on most of her hair except the front where she wanted blonde so she could dye it fun colors. So far shes done green and blue. She loves it.”

“I get her the temporary hair dyes so she can try different colors without it being permanent in case she doesn’t like it. Thats how it should. It’s so important to teach our kids bodily autonomy.”

“I don’t force them to hug someone they don’t want to. I ask them if I can get a hug from them. I don’t push it if they say no. Because it’s their choice.”

“OP definitely did the right thing here. Thats a hairstylist I would be happy to take my kids to.”-Cheermom2009

And this lead to a larger conversation about bodily autonomy, and how Grandma was asking OP to violate her grandson’s.

“I’m so sick of adults taking away minors’ autonomy. The kid was old enough to explain what he wanted and didn’t want.”

“The only thing I see that could’ve been handled different was to explain to the Grandma that you weren’t comfortable giving a haircut to a teenager that he didn’t want and if the Grandma wasn’t okay with it, they could go somewhere else. NTA”-braixel

“NTA. A grandma who is dictating how a junior in high school gets his haircut is a huge red flag for me.”

“Since the young man wasn’t asking for anything too extreme, what else in his life is not in his control?”

“While I understand that she was paying for the service, it wasn’t her head. Thank you for giving this young man a feeling of being heard, no matter how fleeting it may be.”-oldnjgal

“NTA… it’s hair, it’ll grow out, and you just taught that boy that his opinion matters and probably helped his relationship with his Grandmother.”

“He would have been very upset with her if she made him get something he hated. Granted they won’t be back but he’ll remember.”

“Doing the right thing is sometimes hard. Nice job in going against the grain and doing what was right for the child who is absolutely old enough to tell you what he wants”-Alienne8r

“NTA. Thank you so much for listening to him and not the grandma. My mom once took me in for a haircut and wanted it to be much shorter than I wanted.”

“I protested in front of the barber. To which my mom said ‘Im paying for it so do it how I want it.’ And the lady did and I cried as she did it and she was upset bc ‘She’s never had anyone cry on her chair before.’”

“Like you took away my bodily autonomy???? What do you expect. So anyways, thank you for saving him from that experience.”-bsgothbitch

People agreed that his self-image was too important to damage at such a vulnerable age.

“NTA – Thank you for listening to the kid.”

“When I was moving from middle school to high school my mom gave me a ‘makeover.’ Cut my hair, which was down to my butt. Took away my glasses. Changed all of my clothing.”

“I mentally suffered from the huge shift in my self image. She pushed make up on me and was always having the salon try to teach me to look prettier.”

“They’d always tell me if look so cute if I just learned to diet a little. I started self harming around then.”-PolyPolyam

“NTA. I had something similar happen to me at the same age and my mom was pissed and made fun of me but I’ll always be grateful to that hairstylist for listening to me.”

“If anyone is curious it was an asymmetric cut which looking back on it really didn’t work worth my curly hair…”

“but like two months later Rihanna did basically the same cut with straight hair so I still feel justified that I was ahead of the curve haha.”-DrunkThrowawayLife

“I was forced into other people’s idea of ‘the right haircut for me’ because what I wanted wasn’t appropriate in their ‘opinions’ for the first 16 years of my life.”

“It only made me go out and get the cuts those people hated out of spite. After you hit the age of 12, you should be able to pick your own style.”

“Boundaries can be set, but you’ll only make the kid rebel if you continue to force your outdated opinions of what is appropriate for someone else’s hair to look like. NTA”-StillTheRick

“NTA. I also work at a chain hair salon, and that’s exactly what I was taught to do for the chain. Training says we should send parents or grandparents to the waiting area if unless the kid is a baby or really needs them there.”

“If there is no agreement on what haircut to make, you are free to tell them they need to figure it out before you start cutting, or refuse to do something that violates the client’s bodily autonomy.”

“There was a story of some dad bringing his teen girl in to buzz her hair off as a punishment, and I would never be a part of such a thing.”

“I don’t know how any hair stylist could do that to a teen while they are visibly upset or crying. It’s the same here.”

“Your client was vocal about not wanting the grandmother’s suggested cut, and he would’ve been upset the entire time you were cutting, which probably would’ve made you feel horrible and like you were harming him.”

“I think you did the right thing. Hair is very personal and plays a huge role in confidence and self esteem, especially for teenagers.”

“Teenagers are perfectly able to determine what they want to look like, and unless it’s a dress code requirement or something horrible like swear words detailed into a fade, then there’s no reason for a parent’s preferences to overrule them.”

“You did fine, your morals wouldn’t let you do something against someone’s bodily autonomy, not even for tips.”

“And this is just one client of one day, there’s plenty of other clients that will give a tip. I expect the odd negative interaction every few weeks, since we get all walks of life in the salon, and there are some difficult people out there.”-SnooMacarons1114

While OP certainly went directly against an authority figure’s wishes at her own expense, she really may have saved someone from greater issues down the line.

Hopefully she finds some peace in that.

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.