Supporting and protecting their children is something most parents want to do.
So what’s a mother to do when they feel like their child is being targeted and bullied?
What if the bully is soon going to be your family?
A woman grappling with these questions turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
Redditor Not_a_cat19 asked:
“AITA for refusing to make my son cut his hair to be in my brother’s wedding?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My 15-year old son was asked in January to be the ‘flower dude’ in my brother’s wedding (which will be end of this month). Since then, my soon to be sister-in-law (STBSIL) has made frequent comments to my son along the lines of ‘so what are we going to do about this hair?'”
“He has thick, curly hair that he’s been growing out for a little while now; he’s got a goal photo we’ve been showing to his hairdresser.”
“A couple weeks ago I texted my brother to let him know that we will groom and style his hair, and use product to tame it – but I was not going to make him cut his hair. At that time, my brother said that was fine.
“Then he told me his fiancée wants to take my son to her hairdresser for a trial run on his hair style (side note; won’t go into the entire history but I’ve had issues with her need to dictate and control, including one time she told my brother he couldn’t accompany my son to the ER for stitches unless she could go too).”
“I told him I’d make sure we did the trial run on my son’s hair. He then wrote that fiancée wanted final approval.”
“I said I’d make sure he looked nice on their wedding day.”
“Then a few days ago my stepfather wrote my son, telling him he would not be getting fitted for his tux until his hair was cut. His exact words were ‘no decent haircut, no tuxedo fitting, you will not be in the wedding but seated in the general audience with your family, that is the result of no haircut. Got it???’”
“My mother is also firmly on the haircut side; she feels I should make my son cut off his hair because ‘it’s a very formal wedding’, and claimed we should have known that was the rule from the beginning.
“I finally texted her back and stated had we been told that was a condition of being in the wedding, my son could have declined then—instead he was subjected to several months of passive-aggressive remarks until I finally addressed it.”
“So now it’s really blown up.
“At this point we aren’t even going, because to me, kicking family out of a wedding party for refusing to alter his appearance when he has had this hair for years, is ridiculous. My family thinks I’m unreasonable for not forcing my son to cut his hair.”
“Am I the a**hole?”
The OP added a photo of their son’s hair as well as a bit more context.
“[The family] definitely don’t like his hair long, and a few years ago there was an issue because I’d let him get his ears pierced – my parents thought it was inappropriate for a boy to have pierced ears.”
“He went up to visit them for the summer; when I drove up to pick him up, the earrings were gone and they were mostly healed over.”
“I asked him if he’d taken them out because they’d gotten infected or something, and he shrugged and mumbled that everyone kept making jokes about them so he took them out.”
“They don’t want him in the wedding party if he won’t cut it.”
“I was the one who said you know what, I’m done with the drama, we won’t be in the audience.”
“And part of me is just not wanting to give my brother’s fiancé the satisfaction of having her way—I do realize that’s not a mature reaction; hence the struggle.”
“I did go into defensive mode.
“I will say though—none of my kids has ever shown up to an event (whether it was a school dance, a graduation, etc…) and wasn’t well-dressed and groomed.”
“I wanted to state this because a few people have wondered in their comments whether I or my kids have shown up dressed inappropriately or looking unkempt, and maybe that was why my parents and my brother’s fiancé wanted to direct his look.
“Obviously you’ve only my side of the story, and it’s fair to wonder if my STBSIL and parents have a reason for wanting to dictate my son’s style.”
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA. Bridezilla needs to get over herself. I wouldn’t go to the wedding either.”
“This is a very ridiculous situation. If I had a nephew I loved I’d want him in my wedding regardless of what he looked like.”
“Poor kid. Tell him his hair is awesome.” ~ coolwrite
“I have semi-curly hair that I grow out and then buzz every so often—it’s gorgeous and curly when it’s at the right length, but once cut it takes months, even a year, to get back to that length.”
“They’re asking your kid to spend a year growing his hair for the sake of one single day.”
“The curls sound very much appropriate for a wedding.” ~ felixkahns
“NTA. I truly don’t understand people who think that the fact that they are getting married imbues them with some sort of power to dictate the hairstyles, hair color, tattoos, etc… of other people.”
“Your son is doing them a favor by being in their wedding. You are doing them a favor by attending their wedding.”
“Why are they acting like they’re the ones doing you a favor?”
“THEY are putting their feelings about a dumb haircut over family. Don’t let them convince you that the roles are reversed.”
“If any of them had a sense of humor, there’s a great solution here. Just fully embrace the ‘flower boy’ role and give him a flower crown to wear over his thick, curly locks, preferably with ribbons trailing on the back of it.” ~ JeepersCreepers74
“NTA—it sounds like they’ve been hating on the hair for awhile and this is their chance to ‘fix it’.”
“Go you for sticking up for your son! Take you all as you are or they don’t get any of you!” ~ LilPerditaGattino
“Holy Bridezilla, Batman!”
“Seriously, why on earth people get the idea that it’s okay for them to dictate a semi-permanent change (in as much as once the hair’s cut, that’s it, you gotta wait months/years for it to regrow that length again) for the privilege of attending their wedding… sheesh.”
“Personally, I’d be horribly tempted to rock up as a family in casual suits and wild hair colours at this point. But that’s probably not diplomatic, and so not attending might be the wiser choice. NTA.” ~ ieya404
“NTA! Long hair on men being seen as ‘informal’ is such a double standard. As long as its kempt, then it is appropriate.”
“The bride asked him to be in the wedding, fully aware of what he looks like. This is akin to brides asking their bridesmaids to color their hair, or otherwise alter their appearance, to fit the aesthetic they’re going for.”
“Don’t ask people to be in your wedding if you are going to nitpick the way they look! PERIOD!” ~ rellyy_fishh
“I could see the bride being a tad upset if it were something like OP’s son has had the same hairstyle for years, and then he dyed it magenta 2 days before the wedding.”
“I personally wouldn’t care at all, but I’d get why some people would be taken aback or be slightly miffed that they didn’t at least get a heads up on the drastic change.”
“But man, the sheer level of entitlement of inviting a teenager to your wedding and then demanding that they change their actual freaking appearance to conform to your standards??? No wedding in the world is worth that BS.”
“I’ve got curly hair and I’d be willing to wear it straight if I’m a bridesmaid and the bride politely asks if I would consider it. I know my hair won’t be damaged by the heat and it’s no big deal if it’s a polite ask, not a demand.”
“I wouldn’t change my hair color or length no matter how politely the request is phrased though.” ~ ertrinken
While the OP’s family may be upset, Reddit has her back.
Asking, then demanding, her son cut the hair he’s been growing out for awhile for an event that will only last a few hours was too big an ask.