Mom's Dilemma: Should I Let My 6 Year Old Daughter Shave Her Head?

Having seen her father shave his head, 6 year old Aellyn Stannard  announced that she wanted to do the same. Her mother, Paige Lucas-Stannard said ‘yes,’ believing that Aellyn would forget all about it. But she didn’t. Lucas-Stannard felt concerned. She wanted Aellyn to choose any look she wanted, cultural gender norms be damned. Actually, she’s even written a book about defying gender stereotypes called “Gender Neutral Parenting.” But when it came to her own child, it wasn’t as easy to practice what she’s been preaching. “I believe that girls should wear their hair any way they want,” she told TODAY Parents. But “inside, my gut was like, ‘No, she’s beautiful with her hair.’” Lucas-Stannard tried to prepare Aellyn for any trouble she may face, explaining that people might think she’s a boy or say that girls shouldn’t shave their heads. What did Aellyn have to say? “That’s silly; girls can wear their hair any way they want.” Lucas-Stannard expressed her thoughts on her blog Baby Dust Diaries saying: “I, unfortunately, was very much indoctrinated by my culture to put great importance on my appearance and my hair in particular. I had very long blonde hair as a child. Other girls in my class would fight to stand next to me in line so they could play with my hair. The adults in my life always told me how beautiful my hair was.” She realized she could influence Aellyn to keep her hair but decided not to. “I probably could have said, ‘Honey, you are so beautiful [with your hair]’ and manipulate her into not shaving it,” she said. She wanted her daughter to know that it was okay to make her own decisions, to choose a different path. If she had refused to let Aellyn shave her head, she writes, it would send the message “that her appearance is important TO ME and that she exists for the consumption of others. … That her decisions should be made based on external ‘rules’ and not on her own sense of what is right or wrong for her.” Pete, Aellyn’s father, did the honours. While shaving her head, it was clear that Aellyn enjoyed every second of the adventure. While snapping pictures of the process, Lucas-Stannard recalled her own feelings of regret after cutting her hair at age 10 and realizes her daughter won’t regret her decision because she wasn’t ingrained with the same attachment to her hair. She writes, “the idea of regretting something as stupid as hair would probably never cross her mind. To her, this was FUN!” Two weeks after Aellyn’s make over and no one has said anything her or her mother about it. Lucas-Stannard suspects people think she is sick. Which is a little sad. People shouldn’t be thinking about it at all. I admire this kid for going her own way! I mean, really, why not? It grows back. Would you let your daughter shave her head? Why or why not?

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