Wednesday, September 20, 2006


My son has an intense fear of haircuts. Believe it or not, there is a term for this:
tonsurophobia. This will not be a
useful term for most but I plan on using it as often as possible, impressing my
friends and family with my extensive knowledge of obscure words.

I think it is parental negligence to let a little boy's hair get long.  As a result, my son’s
tonsurophobia is an especially difficult struggle for me. I insist that he get a haircut every few
months. I have tried several different
tactics. First, I thought I could bribe
him. I used his current currency of
choice: ice cream; and took him to my Mother’s hairdresser. She is the only hairdresser in the area that
I have found who is willing to cut the hair of a child who is being physically
restrained by his Mother. She’s a
diamond in the rough, that Rhonda! I
sat in the chair and let him sit in my lap. She started to work with the scissors first. He screamed, kicked, flailed, and cried. It was a very unpleasant experience for
everyone involved but I accomplished my goal. My son had short hair.

The next time a haircut was in order, I asked some friends for advice and was offered a simple
solution: someone else should take him. “He’s bound to behave better for someone other than his Mother.” Most of us know that this adage is usually
true but, in the case of my son, it was not. I asked my Father to take him to Rhonda’s for a cut. He did. The same scene took place. My Dad vowed never to take him again. I would have to change my tactic, but not
for another few months. My son’s hair
was short again and all was right with the world.

A few months later, my son's hair started getting a little unruly again.  I decided that, until his fear had dissipated, I would
cut it. I had watched Rhonda
fairly closely on both occasions and felt that I could mimic her technique with
some success. I knew that I could never
use the clippers on him but that I could keep his hair at bay using scissors
only. I decided to turn his favorite
movie on and bribe him with some gummy worms. Success! It was not an easy task but it worked. My son's hair was cut and he did not have any lasting emotional (or
physical) scars. 

It has been a few months since his last cut and my son's hair is starting to reach an unacceptable length.  A salon specifically for kids has recently opened in our area.  The kids sit in a jeep and watch cartoons while they get their hair cut.  It costs $15.00.  Should I try it?  Would the lure of a jeep and cartoons be enough to keep my son still for 15 minutes?  We own a Power Wheel and a TV so it would be relatively simple to create the very same atmosphere in my home for free.  The real question is:  do my friends snicker at my child's hair behind my back?  Does he get made fun of for his homemade haircuts on the playground?  Am I deluding myself into thinking that I am a capable hairdresser?  If so, I guess I'll cough up 15 bucks and take him in for a decent haircut.  I will not let tonsurophobia get the best of my child.  His hair WILL look good, regardless of the cost to his emotional well being.


  1. Just an FYI ( I have used that phrase way to much today) carmen will cut hair if your child is having a melt down. Is Truman into racing? Garrett did the same way you are talking about the first time I took him. I can say without a doubt it was one of the most stressful times of my life. I decided to start cutting his also and it was all fine, but very time consuming seeing as how I don't really know what I am doing. I am not a graduate of Franklin Academy. I took the boys again to Great Clip and it was 8 bucks. I thought since he was older I would try again. He started to freak out I told him that he and Zachary were racing and the one to win would get a sucker. It worked like a charm and he has one other successful cut since then. Have you tried talking to him about it before hand and going over everthing with him. Turn on some trimmers and let him feel them and hear them and see they are not scary. We did that with garrett and it worked. Good luck! Oh and Truman' hair looks great ( snicker, he he) ;)

  2. Well, Melinda, I've tried everything but the racing. He's watched my husband get his cut many times but it has not helped at all. Maybe we should take the two boys together sometime. That should be a treat!

  3. Where is that new place at? We can plan on a day and take them at the same time. Garrett is needing his again. Let me know.

  4. I hope I wasn't as hard as you said. The message I wanted to get across was that the experience was pretty tramatic on Truman, but I would take him again. I don't think Truman identified haircut with his Pop Pop, at least yet.
    PS I'll spring for the $15 if you want to try it.

  5. Dad-
    I totally understand and support your decision not to take him to get his haircut again. I didn't think it was a good idea either. He already associates me with so many unpleasant activities, what's one more?
    I may take you up on that offer to spring for the $15 :)

  6. The special child salons are WONDERFUL! I took Ella to a similar place when we lived in St. Louis and have actually considered making the 2 1/2 hour drive to avoid the scene she makes when getting her hair cut. I don't know if they work the same magic with boys, but I would definitely try it.

  7. Marti-
    I've heard that they are great. The one I've heard about, in particular, is Snippets. Is that the one you took Ella to? The place by us is locally owned so it is nothing fabulous but better then a Great Clips.

  8. I think back on your wedding day and the length of hair on your groom, hmmmm... could this be another inherited trait? (shoulder shrug, shlulder shrug, cough, cough) I know a bunch of kids around Arthur that ride around in buggies that get their hair cut by turning a bowl upside down on their head, next time your in Illinois, we'll run him up to the Amish barber shop, no movies, but a nice horses patutie to stare at, that should keep him quiet, or at least get some new questions going...

  9. Papa Dale-
    Funny you should bring up the bowl haircut because, if I recall, all of your sons had one at one time or another. Furthermore, I believe that there were a few Mike-Brady perms in your clan in the late seventies (your own included)!
    Yes, I am a complete hypocrite with my anti-long hair sentiment! Things change. We get old. Our husbands cut off their hippie hair and get real jobs. We all turn into sell-outs but at least we can pay our mortgages, right?

  10. It's absolutely worth every penny! Cora (4 yrs old) was terrified of getting her hair cut. I took her to a place in Chicago like the one that you explained. She loved it. She actually looks forward to getting her hair cut. Of course the one we go to is also a toy store. So, not only do we spend the 15 dollars for the haircut but she manages to walk out of the store with all kinds of new hair clips and toys. But I still agree it is worth every penny. The only thing that I worry about is "What now?" She is 4 years old and is getting a little big for the toy car they ride in during the hair cut. I'm picturing a 10 year old still getting her hair cut in a toy car. When do I decide she needs to go to a regular salon?

  11. Joann-
    I remember you telling me about Snippets (SP) and how much Cora loved it. I should try it for my son. As far as Cora getting too old to sit in a car. Maybe a place that gives them a pony ride while they get their hair cut will open soon. The things we do for our kiddos!
    Miss you-J

  12. at least you will never have to have to take a child to get their hair relaxed :)