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#1 kadoodle

Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:41 AM

Please, please help.  My almost 11yo doesn't like brushing her hair.  She fights and carries on like a toddler when I try to do it too.  I have to wrangle her and fight every inch of the way to brush the tangles and nits out of it.  I go through a huge amount of conditioner and detangler, try different types of brush and comb, have the hairdresser talk to her and still to no avail.

It's a huge mess of ratstails and knots today.  She's flicked the brush at the fringe and hauled it back into a ponytail.  It looks dreadful.

I want to cut it short, but she wants it long.  Last time we went to the hairdresser, they found a headlouse and refused to cut it.  I'm tempted to cut it myself, but that would probably end up injuring both of us as she struggled.

WTF do I do?  She won't listen to reason.  She is stubborn and as far as she's concerned, it's her hair and if she wants to leave it, it stays left.

#2 CountryFeral

Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:52 AM

She is 11 she is plenty old enough to understand that if you don't maintain your hair to the point that it becomes louse ridden than you can't have long hair.  

Full stop.

It is 'her hair - her choice' but 'her choice' in this circumstance is to maintain it or cut it.  Still a choice.

I am over 40, my hair is really curly and fuzzy and it HURTS to comb (I can't actually brush it, have to use an afro comb when it is dripping wet).

The one occasion I caught headlice (in a far off distant land) I knew I had one shot at poisoning them or the alternative was to shave my head - a louse comb could not work, it is uncombable.

Luckily for me they were 3rd World lice, not yet immune to modern louse poison.





#3 FeralSchnitzel

Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:58 AM

I'll preface this by saying that our hair dramas are with younger children, but I *think* my method of dealing with it would be the same with an 11yo...

In our house, when there are serious differences in opinion like this, we sit down and talk out the alternatives. We work out which ones are unacceptable and why, and work out a plan from ther. Sure, the hair on her head is part of her body, but with choice comes responsibility. If she can't keep herself clean and hygienic to a standard that is acceptable to other people, she can't mix with other people. School won't have her, no extra curricular activities, no time with friends... I doubt it would take long for the embarrassment of being a social outcast to make her change her ways and either agree to look after her hair better, or have it cut.

Is it particularly unruly hair - curly, frizzy, thick?
Could you consider a regime of leave in conditioner overnight followed by a rinse off in the morning?

ETA, is this something you could get the school on board with if she keeps resisting? ie, ask them to discuss head lice removal with her and give her the choice of having it done by a school nurse or at home - hopefully she will be so mortified that she'll opt to fix the problem.

Edited by Schnitzelvonkrumb, 24 February 2013 - 09:01 AM.


#4 AngryBird

Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:58 AM

I'd take the complete opposite to CountryMel - she's 11. It's her hair. Leave it.

I'd explain that if unbrushed for too long she will end up with dread locks which will have to cut out when she is done with them. And that headlice will get worse and she will be very itchy and uncomfortable if they get too bad, and people will notice her scratching eventually and know she has nits.
And that you're happy to help her out with her hair whenever she asks, but it's up to her from now. NO nagging, no insisting, no threats about haircuts.
It's her hair, let her be responsible for it.

#5 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:58 AM

her choice is to either take care of it properly or have it cut short so that she doesn't have to brush/comb it.  If she refuses to take care of it at the age of 11, I'd be taking her to the hairdresser and telling them to chop it all off.

And I had hideously long hair until I was about 17.  It took effort to take care of it.  If I wanted it to be that long, I had to take care of it or my dad was taking me to the hairdresser.  I always knew my options.  More than Mum, Dad would not stand for feral hair.  

Sorry, your daughter is old enough to understand what's expected and is also old enough to be able to do this herself.  If she's not prepared to do this, then she has made the choice to have her hair cut into a style which requires little or no maintenance.

Start showing her some short funky hair styles and take the pics to the hairdressers when you go.

Edited by YodaTheWrinkledOne, 24 February 2013 - 09:04 AM.


#6 yellowtulips74

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:02 AM

What I'd do...

I'd explain that it's an issue of hygiene and grooming, and if she wants long hair that's fine but she needs to show me she can look after long hair properly.

Give her 3 weeks to prove to you that she is able to look after long hair.  Give her very specific non-negotiable instructions regarding the care of her hair.

If she doesn't meet the challenge, off to the hairdresser.  If she refuses to go, hack off her ponytail yourself and it will look so terrible she'll want to go!!!

#7 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:03 AM

QUOTE (AfroCircus @ 24/02/2013, 08:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'd take the complete opposite to CountryMel - she's 11. It's her hair. Leave it.

I'd explain that if unbrushed for too long she will end up with dread locks which will have to cut out when she is done with them. And that headlice will get worse and she will be very itchy and uncomfortable if they get too bad, and people will notice her scratching eventually and know she has nits.
And that you're happy to help her out with her hair whenever she asks, but it's up to her from now. NO nagging, no insisting, no threats about haircuts.
It's her hair, let her be responsible for it.

sorry, but in a family/house with other people, I don't think the rest of the family should have to worry about catching lice from their sister/daughter because she can't be a*sed to take care of her hair.  It's not just about her and her choice to do whatever she damn well pleases - if her low hygiene means that other people might catch something from her, then she can get off her butt and start keeping her hair clean and managed.

Seriously, it's not that hard.

#8 .Jerry.

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:07 AM

Have you tried a Tangleteezer brush?

I bought one for my curly haired daughter and they absolutely make hair brushing so much easier.  Hard to tell why, but they work.
We got the cute flowerpot one.

http://www.tangle-teezer.com.au/

#9 Pearson

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:11 AM

She is 11, not an adult.  She wants to do that when she is an adult, so be it, but until then, your house, your rules.  Set them.  Regular haircuts, regular lice treatment, and regular brushing.




#10 Sunny003

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:11 AM

QUOTE
sorry, but in a family/house with other people, I don't think the rest of the family should have to worry about catching lice from their sister/daughter because she can't be a*sed to take care of her hair. It's not just about her and her choice to do whatever she damn well pleases - if her low hygiene means that other people might catch something from her, then she can get off her butt and start keeping her hair clean and managed.


Or the amount of kids at school/after school activities she'll infect.

I'd be saying you keep your hair clean/hygienic & respectable, or it gets chopped very, very short. Even if I had to chop her ponytail off when she was asleep/not looking and then she'll need to go to hairdresser to have it fixed lol

#11 Banana Pancakes

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:12 AM

QUOTE
sorry, but in a family/house with other people, I don't think the rest of the family should have to worry about catching lice from their sister/daughter because she can't be a*sed to take care of her hair. It's not just about her and her choice to do whatever she damn well pleases - if her low hygiene means that other people might catch something from her, then she can get off her butt and start keeping her hair clean and managed.

Seriously, it's not that hard.


I completely agree. My dd also hates having her hair brushed but she knows the alternative is that it gets cut into a short bob. At 11 I think she still needs to have support in taking care of her cleanliness so I would insist that if it doesnt get brushed and deloused, its off to the hairdressers.

#12 EsmeLennox

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:18 AM

I'd give her a period of time to sort her sh*t out with her hair (probably about a week) and then I'd hack the ponytail off myself if she hasn't made a reasonable attempt to look after it. Then I'd KP24 it and once I was reasonably sure all the moving lice were dead I'd take her to the hairdresser to get them to make it look reasonable.

Bugger that, she's 11, well and truly old enough to look after her hair with minimal help. I'd make the threat and I'd follow it through. I also would not just leave it, I see no reason why everyone else in the house and her class should be at risk of headlice because one child is lazy.

#13 JustBeige

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:24 AM

I agree with PP's. she either takes care of it, or it comes off.

I would sit down with her and discuss it and make her come up with solutions also, not just "its my hair, I'll do what I want".

I would also seriously consider cutting it off in her sleep or getting the school onboard - if everything else failed.

#14 i-candi

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:26 AM

Brush it or chop it in our house.

I've done it to my DD, from long hair to a bob. Although I must admit I talked her into it rather than made her do it. Now it has grown long and she is 10 I give her the ultimatum.

DD's hair is fine and is more flyaway than dirty/tangled. I can't stand the flyaway hair look so I make her brush her hair regularly. When it looks particularly unruly I get to it with a brush, she hates it so the threat makes her do it herself.

We have rules in our house.

#15 Cat People

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:29 AM

QUOTE (AfroCircus @ 24/02/2013, 09:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's her hair. Leave it.


I agree.  I think it's a huge violation to force her into cutting or even combing it.  

Can't nit shampoo be used any way?  And don't nits hate dirty hair?  I thought I read that somewhere.

*scratches head wildly now that nits have been mentioned*

#16 EsmeLennox

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:46 AM

Nits don't give a sh*t whether your hair is dirty or clean, they just want to suck the blood righ out of you in a warm cozy environment.

#17 annie13

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:48 AM

We have been through it with DSD. It was always a knotted mess that looked terrible it was always a mission to get her to wash and brush it properly but she wanted long hair. We tried everything to get her to want it short and really was a constant battle. It eventually ended up in 2 massive dreadlocks which she managed to hide for a little bit. The school even threatened to cut it. Even then she still wanted long hair so I brushed them which was traumatic for everyone. We were hesitant to force her to get her hair cut so we let it go on for years! I would of cut it long ago but as the step parent I didn't think it was my place however, because her mum isn't involved I had to try and maintain it. Finally DP said that's it enough chances and now it's short. She loves it looks great and no more drama! So much better for her.

I would cut it.

#18 sāta kōrsa

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:55 AM

While I don't agree with Afro's advice to just leave it, I do think it's important to remove the conflict from the situation.  The thought of you having to pin her down to detangle or cut her hair is quite awful.  I personally would have felt violated at that age if someone forcibly cut my hair against my will!  

Your daughter is right, it IS her hair, but she's old enough now to understand that her actions (or inaction) have consequences and can also affect other people.  

Stop thinking of it as a 'battle'.  Try to talk to her about it like you're a team and it's a problem you're tackling together.  I know it's hard when you're concerned for her and frustrated, but your nagging and getting upset about it is just going to make her dig her heels in more.  Maybe sit her down and calmly explain that a knotty head full of lice is not acceptable (show her pictures of what lice look like if necessary), then try to brainstorm solutions together, like 'we're smart, we can solve this!'.  Look online for a comb that doesn't hurt, like the tangle teezer Jerry suggested, and maybe get her to choose a really nice smelling conditioner when you're shopping together, one that you can gently comb through her hair when it's still wet from the shower.  Also, look online together for a slightly shorter hairstyle that she can choose, if she wants, and take the printout with her to the hairdresser.

Hopefully this shift in how you address it will help your DD feel more in control of the situation while still taking care of the health issue involved.

QUOTE
*scratches head wildly now that nits have been mentioned*

Lol, me too!

#19 niggles

Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:01 AM

Stop using detanglers. They work while you are brushing but all the residue they leave ulitmately makes it worse unless you are going to wash the hair every time you brush it.

My 4 year old has very long hair and I find Moroccan oil the most effective detangler. One small squirt does all her hair (we've been using the same pump bottle for nearly 2 years) and instead of leaving residue is conditions and make the hair silky and shiny.

The tangle teezer brush is also remarkable. We borrowed one recently and now I've ordered one for her.

I have to agree that once her hair gets to the state of being infected with a contagious parasite her right to make decisions about her own hair doesn't trump another's right to live without lice in the house. I would think that once this is explained to her she would be amenable to making the decision to cut short or better maintain her hair.

It doesn't have to be a dictatorship but letting her develop dreadlocks when she's shown she doesn't know how to look after them is not fair on the others in the house. Maybe down the track if she demonstrates a proper washing routine - but keeping dreads clean is not easy.



#20 Princess.cranky.pants

Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:08 AM

I agree at 11 the responsibility of looking after hair should be on her. But you can't let the nits go- she will pass them on to everyone in the family. And you can't expect her to look after it properly if it's so hard to manage.

DD2 has very curly hair. I use Full Marks to treat the nits. You just put it on an kills nits in 10 minuets. I like this one because I know it works and it doesn't have a strong smell like other nit treatments. Get it from the chemist.

Sounds like she really needs a decent hair cut. My DD's got so bad (knots/dreadlocks) that it just had to be cut. It took 1.5 hours to cut DD's hair! That was mostly cutting out all the knots! It was drastic but her hair is so much easier to manage now and not half as many knots. I think it got so knotty because the ends were dry and needed cutting badly.

Neem oil is great for curly hair. And I have heard coconut oil is too.



#21 RealityBites

Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:12 AM

We have a rule in our house - maintain it or it is coming off. DD10yo now wears plaits most days to keep it neat.

#22 AngryBird

Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:33 AM

Wow at the parents who think it's acceptable to forcibly cut someone else's hair - even if that "someone else" is a child. I'd find that a huge violation of trust and a major crossing of personal boundaries.

If she ends up with headlice, I doubt they'd last long. No one else in the family need catch them - I know if one of my kids has them no one else wants to sit with him/her, share anything or generally be too close until it's treated. And if you have headlice and the school knows, don't you get sent home until it's treated? I'd be OK for my DD to know this in advance, and if she chooses these reactions from others over caring for her hair, so be it.

I like the PP's advice of removing the battle, and ending the situation that has become a power struggle. That would be my motivation for no longer insisting she do anything and leaving the responsibility to her - because I suspect if left alone, after a time of doing nothing, your DD will start to take good care of her hair because she CHOOSES to, rather than because you're insisting. Or she'll choose to cut it off.
Either way, there's no longer a struggle for power and control and therefore nothing to "win" or "lose".

My own DD has a super sensitive scalp - what I think it gentle brushing is actually extremely painful for her. Since we have other kids with sensory issues in our family, I'm happy with accepting that it really DOES hurt her, and we work on it together. Sometimes she gets to the almost-dreadlock stage before she is ready to sit down and put up with it.

Re the nits, there are treatments that don't require combing out so you just put it in, leave it in for 4 hours/overnight and then wash it out. I think Quit Nits might make one??




#23 EsmeLennox

Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:46 AM

I thik it's absolutely fine to forcibly cut your child's hair if they will not meet the expectations of care. I think if they are sat down, talked to about the situation and the consequences of not caring for their hair are outlined then they have had adequate warning and the hair cutting shouldn't come as a surprise.

I force my children to do all sorts of things they don't want to: go to school, eat their vegetables, have showers etc.

#24 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:13 AM

QUOTE (Jemstar @ 24/02/2013, 10:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I force my children to do all sorts of things they don't want to: go to school, eat their vegetables, have showers etc.

tend to agree with this.

My DD hates having baths/showers and fights it most nights.  I'm not going to simply say "well, it's your body, do what you want."  It's not that simple.  Lack of personal hygiene does affect other people in the family.  Plus, it's not a good reflection of the individual (given they have the choice & opportunity to do something about it). I am not going to support my child's decision that she doesn't need to have regular baths/showers.

With the daughter, discuss various options, provide support and help if the daughter asks for it. It should be her responsibility to take care of her hair at that age. But if the daughter simply ignores all that, continues to do nothing, then she should also be aware that the consequence is a dramatic hair cut (into a nice style of course) where she can start fresh with her hair grooming.  If warning is given, it will come as no surprise.  And that's how I would be presenting it to my daughter - "if you continue to do nothing with your long hair, you are effectively telling me that you don't care enough about having long hair & that you want to start fresh with a short hair cut that has little or no effort required.  That's fine.  Here are some cute pics - pick which style you like while we drive to the hairdressers."

It's the daughter's choice then, as to how she wants to do things.  Like many decisions in the real world, doing whatever you want doesn't mean free reign, ignoring all others/situations.  A lot of the times, the choice is made within boundaries or constraints.  I think that applies here too.

ETA : I do not support cutting the hair while the child is asleep or anything like that.  No child will ever trust you if you do something like that while they are asleep.  I'd hate to see the fight that would erupt in the morning.

Edited by YodaTheWrinkledOne, 24 February 2013 - 11:26 AM.


#25 AngryBird

Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:21 AM



QUOTE (Jemstar @ 24/02/2013, 10:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I thik it's absolutely fine to forcibly cut your child's hair if they will not meet the expectations of care. I think if they are sat down, talked to about the situation and the consequences of not caring for their hair are outlined then they have had adequate warning and the hair cutting shouldn't come as a surprise.

I force my children to do all sorts of things they don't want to: go to school, eat their vegetables, have showers etc.


Fair enough. I try not to force my children to do anything.




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