Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bullied Into Cutting

I have a sad story to tell today.

Sofie began asking if she could cut her hair short last week. She became more and more insistent that what she wanted was to cut her hair. I'm personally of the opinion that it's her hair, so she can do what she likes with it. I talked it over with her father and we agreed that we would allow her to cut to midback length.

As the stylist began cutting away her beautiful locks, she asked why Sofie wanted to get her hair cut off. Sofie told the stylist that Madison (not her real name, of course), a girl in her class, had been making fun of her and told her that she was ugly. Madison told Sofie that she'd better cut her hair off, or she'd be ugly forever. This may sound ridiculous, but Sofie is only five years old.

As I heard my daughter telling the story, I was fuming. I couldn't believe that my daughter was bullied into cutting her hair!

Once her hair was cut to the middle of her back, Sofie turned to me and said, "It needs to be shorter, Mommy. Madison will be mad if it isn't up to here." She indicated chin length.

"Absolutely not!" I said, "Mommy and Daddy decided that you could cut to where it is now and I absolutely will not allow you to cut more just because someone else told you that you had to cut it. If you decide that you want to cut it shorter later, we'll talk about it."

She seemed worried, but didn't argue. She hasn't complained about the length of her hair except to mention once or twice that it needs to be shorter because of Madison.

I sat down this morning and wrote out a long letter to her teacher about what had happened. I asked the teacher to set up an appointment with me to discuss what had happened. I am so mad! Sofie had beautiful hair and seemed really happy with it. The fact that someone else made her feel bad enough about her hair to make her want to cut it just really ticks me off. I'm mad at myself, too, because I didn't ask the simple question "Why do you want to cut it, Sofie?"

It is hair, though, and it will grow back, if that's what she wants. Her hair grows incredibly fast, too. I'm just worried that she'll succumb to bullying in other ways. I'm interested in what the teacher will say about what happened. In the teacher's defense, the bullying seems to have happened in the cafeteria, where the teacher is not present and the children are supervised by lunch monitors. Sofie may have been scared to tell her teacher (and me) that someone was bullying her.

I'll definitely update after I talk to the teacher. Bullying is not okay, whether it's about hair or anything else.


  1. I would be furious, too. Sofie is a beautiful little girl with beautiful hair, and I'm sorry that she is being bullied.

  2. Oh my gosh...i think the issue here has to be teaching Sofie self confidence , there will ALWAYS be someone picking on someone about anything, kids can be cruel and always have been to eachother, you can't stop that, but you can teach her to stand up for herself and to feel confidant being herself! I am so glad you didn't lewt her cut it off more before you found this out...WOW,....

  3. Sofie's just such a sensitive little girl. I don't think (at this point, anyway) that it's a self esteem issue. I think her feelings were hurt but she wanted to make "Madison" happy.

  4. How awful! I remember when I was teased in elementary school, my teacher refused to do anything about it. She said that "sticks and stones" rhyme and left it at that.

  5. I've always said the biggest enemy of long hair on women was other women who are jealous of it.
    Hard to believe this also applies at the kindergarden level but could well be.

  6. That's so terrible. It's so sad how the seething envy and criticism between women starts so young.

  7. I've changed my hair once to satisfy a girl that was bullying me. After I did that, she and her friends just found another thing that wasn't right about me, and wanted me to change that... It took me a while to understand that it would never be enough... after that, I stopped caring, made good friends with other kids and the bullying stopped.

  8. Clara, that is so true! We're working on building up Sofie's esteem so she can stand up for herself.

  9. Three years ago my daughter who was then 13 with beautiful waist length hair she told me she wanted her hair cut into a short inverted bob because some of her friends said it would suit her better. I told her to think hard about it for a few weeks after which she still wanted it cut. I could tell as soon as her hair hit the floor she knew it was a mistake. Very painful for both of us. Her friends,and i use that term loosely then told her it looked better long. It was in my opinion it was sheer jealousy on their part. However it was a hard lesson learned and 3 years on she has her fabulous mane back.

  10. That's so sad!! Maybe you could let Sofie know that Madison may be jealous of her beautiful long hair. You could discuss with Sofie how jealousy motivates some people to attack others, making suggestions to their detriment. You could focus on the jealousy issue - and make sure the teacher does not allow Madison to sit near your daughter - in the classroom or at lunch. Also, you could make sure Sofie's hair is worn up for school so it can't be damaged by Madison or anyone else. Good luck with this problem!