Thankfully, children these days feel more empowered than ever to express themselves however they choose. They can wear what they want and play with the toys that they want largely without judgment, but unfortunately not completely without judgement. One woman recently sought advice online after her 9-year-old son's teacher began commenting on his long hair, repeatedly asking him when he was going to cut it.
A mother recently took to the Reddit parenting forum to ask for advice about how to confront her child's teacher and her constant comments about her son's long hair. "My son (9) is in the 4th grade at a medium-sized school in the south," she explained in her post. "His hair is in a shaggy surfer boy style, about collar length. He has beautiful golden brown hair with a few lighter highlights that I have put in myself. He loves his hair and has never had anything but positive comments from adults and friends alike," she added. "Until this year."
She went on to write that at her school orientation, her son's 4th-grade teacher "made two comments within an hour, along the lines of “Oh, I hope you get a haircut before school starts! I can hardly see your eyes!” " She noted that her son's hair doesn't cover his eyes at all and that he wears it in a side part. She wrote that she didn't say anything at the time but "He came to me yesterday and said that she has asked him several more times when he will be getting a haircut. He is confused about why his teacher cares so much about his hair, as am I, and doesn’t really know how to respond to her."
The frustrated mom asked for advice on how to handle this teacher who is clearly demonstrating a double standard in her classroom. She noted that there is no mention of hair in the school's handbook, so he's not breaking any dress code rules. Most young girls with long hair are rarely asked when they're going to get their hair cut, yet this teacher seems almost fixated on this boy's hair.
Most of the commenters agreed that the teacher was out of line commenting on the boy's hair and the mother had every right to say something to her about it. "I'd ask her in an email, politely, to stop making comments about your son's appearance. If your son says she is continuing to make comments, then take it up with the administration. There's no reason for it, it's uncalled for and if you asked her to stop then she should respect that," wrote one advice giver.
"Email the teacher and ask her to stop making these comments, that your child doesn't like them and that they're making him self-conscious. Her personal opinions about how a child's hair should or should not be worn have no bearing on his getting an education," wrote another. "Just email her and ask her to stop. Please stop commenting on Kid's haircut. He does not know when he is getting it cut, nor do I, and it's up to him. The constant commenting is creating a distraction and making him self-conscious. I want his focus at school to be on school, not his hair. Thank you, Parent," added another commenter.
Some felt that the mother should be empowering her son to stand up for himself in this situation and reduce the 'helicopter' aspect of the solution. " You can also teach your son to say "I don't like it when you talk about my hair. Please stop," wrote one person who felt that her son should be able to directly address the teacher. Another added, "I know hes only 9 but coach him to stand up for himself. Next time the teacher makes a comment he can say "I like my hair this way and dont plan on cutting it." Teacher might say something else and he can say to talk to my mom or you can coach him in other possible scenarios depending on his personality. I think this will give him some confidence to fight his own battles but knowing you are in his corner."
The poster said she was going to email the teacher and ensure her son's hair wasn't being a distraction, but that he likes his hair long and he gets to decide how he wants to wear his hair.
What would you do?