Mom Paige Lucas-Stannard faced an odd question recently: Do I let my daughter shave her head?
As a self-proclaimed gender-neutral parent—who even wrote a book, Gender Neutral Parenting: Raising kids with the freedom to be themselves, on the subject—Lucas-Stannard prides herself on allowing her kids to figure out who they are outside traditional gender roles and societal norms. But when her six-year-old daughter, Aellyn, asked to shave her head, the mom of three did a double take.
Aellyn saw her dad shaving his head regularly. Then one of her brothers did the same, and she wanted to jump on the shaved-head train too. Mom’s instinctive reaction was “DEAR GOD NOOOOOOOO!” But she said yes, thinking the idea would blow over.
Except it didn’t. Aellyn persisted—she didn’t understand why it was such a big deal for a girl to want a shaved head. On her blog, Lucas-Stannard wrote that her daughter said, “Girls can have their hair any way they want.” You go, Aellyn! You’re right—girls can do whatever they want with their hair!
After some reflection Lucas-Stannard decided it wasn’t her choice to make. If Aellyn wanted to shave her head, it was her head and she couldn’t make that choice for her.
“I really, really, REALLY wanted to talk her out of it. I wanted to fawn over how beautiful her hair is,” Lucas-Stannard wrote, but added that it would send Aellyn the wrong message. “I will take the discomfort of seeing my daughter without hair over teaching her that she is a doll to be dressed up for others’ pleasure, or that (in) any future relationship she is in she should allow someone to manipulate her or dictate her appearance.”
In the end, everyone was happy. Aellyn loves her (lack of) hair and Mom thinks her daughter is beautiful and independent.
We think they’re both strong, fierce women who pave their own way.
Check out Paige Lucas-Stannard’s full post on her blog, Baby Dust Diaries.