Little Boys with Long Hair
Myths About Long Haired Boys
We live a gender-biased culture, yes, it's true. As a mother of a little boy with long-hair, my parenting abilities have been questioned by everyone from grandparents to well-intentioned strangers. Reasons cited for keeping a boy's hair short range from "people will think he's a girl" to "it will be easier for him to get lice" (yes, someone actually said that).
I have devised answers to all of the "good reasons" that boys should not have long hair:
- "People will think he is a girl" -- It's really easy to say, "he's a boy"
- "He will turn out gay" -- Homosexuality is not connected to hair length and so what if it was?
- "He will look like/be a deviant" -- Criminal activity is also unrelated to hair length.
- "His hair will get in his eyes" -- This applies to girls, as well.
- "It will get in the way/get caught when he is playing" -- Amazing invention: hair bands.
- "It will be easier for him to catch lice" -- This is quite unsupported by facts.
So there you have it, myths about little boys having long hair have been successfully debunked.
Long Haired Heroes
It's not too difficult to find some pretty masculine, macho men with long hair. In fact, when my son first requested to grow his hair long, I suspected he wanted to look like Thor from the Avengers. I was a bit taken aback when he informed me that Captain America was his favorite Avenger and how dare I call him Thor. The long-haired hero he wanted to emulate was . . . .
not William Wallace
Not Jack Sparrow, excuse me, *Captain* Jack Sparrow
And absolutely, never, ever, not at all Thor.
Yup. That's right. I named all sorts of awesome dudes sporting long hair, but he was adamant. He wanted Rapunzel's hair. I watched "Tangled" again, and I have to say that Rapunzel's hair is worthy of envy. I can really understand why any little kid would want Rapunzel's hair.
Why Rapunzel's Hair is Awesome
- It's a rope
- Its a weapon
- Its a flashlight
- It has magical healing powers
What would you do if your little boy wanted long hair?
So, you're little boy just decided that “Tangled” is his favorite movie and he wants to have long glowing hair just like Rapunzel. What do you do?
What's the worst thing about having a little boy with long hair?
I'm the sort of person inclined to let my kids grow their hair as long as they like, (especially since my son does have some remarkable golden tresses).
The biggest problem I've encountered with this long-haired experiment is not gender confusion. My son simply corrects individuals that assume he's female. It's not that it gets in his eyes, either, though it does sometimes find its way into his mouth (yuck). The most tedious aspect is that dreaded rat's nest that appears at the back of my son's head every morning. This seems to be a common condition among 2-6 year old children, regardless of gender.
Now, there are a few solutions to this issue, the first being a very short haircut. Of course, that would break his little heart. The next fix involves brushing out the rat's nest every day (cringe). I understand that there are individuals out there who love brushing hair; I am not one of those people.
Question: How do you keep hair tangle-free without having to brush it every day?
Answer: Braid it.
How to Braid a Kid's Hair
I am far from being the world's best hair braider. Before accepting the challenge of braiding a preschooler's hair on a regular basis, I had braided my hair maybe four times a year, and I have yet to successfully french braid my own hair. Naturally, I was a bit surprised to how quickly my braiding skill improved. After the first few tries, my fingers became automated french braid machines. If I can do this, it can be done by just about anyone. It takes me about 20 minutes to finish one kid's hair. I use this technique for my 2 year old daughter and my 5 year old son.
- a high chair
- an electronic entertainment device of some sort (Game boy, PSP, Leapster, iPod touch, etc.)
- a comb
- hair bands
- a pair of hands
- a little bit of patience
Set your child down in the high chair and hand them the smartphone or tablet. Make sure you child isn't hungry, thirsty, or in need of using the toilet before you get started.
If your child's hair is already terribly tangled, you will need to spray it heavily with the detangler and gently comb out the tangles from ends of the hair, working your up to the roots. You can make your own detangling solution by mixing a few drops of conditioner with water in a spray bottle.
Depending on the thickness of the child's hair, you can either begin braiding now, or you may want to let it dry. I find it easier to work with very fine hair if it is dry.
Choose a hairstyle that involves braids. French braids are the most efficient at keeping the hair tidy: they work with most hair lengths and they can last a few days, even with bathing. My 2 year old will only tolerate two braids, while my 5 year old will allow three. Gauge the patience of your child and your braiding ability before you begin or you will end up with a half-finished hair-do.
Divide the hair into necessary sections by using the tip of the comb to draw a line on the scalp. Use hair bands to tie off all sections, except the one you will be using.
- Begin braiding. When you finish one braid, take down one of the tied-off sections of hair and begin another braid.
This procedure can be re-done every day, but I usually leave the braids in for 2-3 days. Maybe I'm just lazy. Or maybe I'd rather spend some time doing other things with my kids, like reading or playground parkour.