Monday, February 2, 2009

My Child Is Afraid Of A Haircut. WHAT Do I Do???

There is not alot of things you can write about in a blog that is primarily about children's haircutting! So I sit here thinking and wondering what it is that my customers and the people all over the world who come to my website would like to hear!

I can see where you all come from, the different cities and countries, and although I do not know specifically who you are, I know what you are interested in hearing about by the things you click on in my blog. One popular item is how to deal with scared children. That's what everyone wants to know! Children who are scared of haircuts. Well, Of course, I have alot of experience with that, but so many factors are involved.

There are many reasons that a child is scared, and PLEASE, keep in mind that other than being a hair care professional, a parent, and an avid reader of psychology books, I am not an expert. I only know what I have seen after 30 years of cutting hair, and I think I have seen almost all there is to see in terms of cutting CHILDREN'S hair. From the parent who is really the scared one to the child who just doesn't want a haircut at the moment. I really have seen alot!

Some children just have an extra dose of self preservation. They are scared of a stranger, scared of being hurt, or just scared of something new. Some children do not like to be touched, maybe they have a sensory issue, or other special needs. Some children, girls or boys, want long hair, and their parent wants it short. I have seen children as young as three have strong preferences about length. Some children are afraid of the hairdryer, or the buzzers, and some children are just afraid of it all.

Over the years I have seen that kindness and respect toward the child go a long way. Patience and playing while getting a haircut works in most cases. Some parents like to spend alot of time discussing the upcoming haircut. If you do, talk about how good you think the haircutter will be, how the haircutter knows just how to do the right thing. Try not to spend too much time mentioning that it won't hurt, as a matter of fact, try not to mention that at all! Sometimes a child has never even considered the possibility of pain until they have heard it. Do not compare me to a doctor. Never even say that I am NOT like the doctor! Don't plant any ideas!

Tell your child that you have had haircuts, that the grandparents have had haircuts, and that you get to pick out a movie to watch, and sit in a red car. Talk about the water bottle and that they might have a great time getting sprayed with it, make it sound like fun! I your child doesn't like getting sprayed, tell them they won't get sprayed! Take their lead! If your child is not impressed by any of that, I am perfectly happy walking around the Thomas the Tank Engine table while doing the haircut! Tell them they have come to play and have a good time!

Some children are better off not discussing the coming haircut too much. It just makes them more anxious. Use your own discretion! But after many years of dealing with my own child, and other's children, my advice is to be careful about validating their feelings too much. Saying over and over again that you know they are scared and that they should be very brave just feeds into a downward spiral of more and more fear! I see it all the time. Distraction is the key!

What REALLY does not work is shaming the child by telling them that they are to big for this behavior, yelling at the child (well I saw it work once in seven years) or choking the child...yes I saw that once too!

For some kids, nothing will make the experience better, but I do know this, there are no children who scream and yell during a haircut because they are bad! Any child that does scream is honestly scared, and any sort of discipline will be meaningless.

Now you have this to decide...Does it really matter if my kids hair is longer than I'd like? MUCH longer than I like? MUCH MUCH longer??? If it doesn't matter, wait a bit. Things do suddenly change.

If it does matter, come to me, I will make it as swift and painless as possible, it might actually turn out to be a pleasant experience, and if not, I promise that someday, your child will suddenly get over it!

There is a reason that people drive miles and miles from all over to come to my little Bronx shop to get haircuts!

Kindness and Respect ARE the keys!

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