My 3 Year Old Boy is Terrified of Haircuts

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by Semper Fidelis, Feb 18, 2006.

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  1. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    My son has been absolutely terrified of haircuts for about a year now. He cries when we are walking into the barber shop and screams through most of the haircut. I soothe him and "discipline" him with little effect to what is abject terror on his part.

    I talk to him about upcoming haircuts and how his fussing is disobedience. It's not a matter of information. He hates them and is terrified of the clippers. I literally have to take Ibuprofen after his haircuts because my shoulders ache from the strength I have to exert to hold his head still during delicate portions of the haircut.

    I'm not going to let his hair get long but I was hoping to hear from som parents of boys as to when I can expect a light at the end of this tunnel. I've heard this is fairly common from other parents.

    Who here had a boy like this and when did he stop fearing haircuts?

    [Edited on 2-18-2006 by SemperFideles]
  2. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    I did...and it was fear of the clippers and the scissors. They have been taught that those items are sharp and will "hurt" them...then why would they let us make them get near them? Don't worry, he'll get over it.
  3. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Hopefully by the time he's 18.
  4. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Naw...just by the time he's 6.
  5. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    My boy is exactly he same way! He just finally let my wife give him a hair cut without wrestling last week. It appears he can tolerate the scissors now, at least until the hair starts making him itch. But bring out the clippers and he goes absolutely nuts. He's 4 now.
  6. matt01

    matt01 Puritan Board Senior

    If he isn't over it by then, ship him to San Diego. He will be able to sit under the wonderful care of the greatest barbers around. I am pretty sure that I still have burn marks from that first recruit haircut.
  7. Presbyrino

    Presbyrino Puritan Board Freshman

    My youngest son used to be afraid of clippers too, when he as about 2-3 yrs old. He slowly got over it as he would watch myself and my eldest son get haircuts. We would always get our haircuts together and we would have our youngest son just sit and watch. Slowly he got over his fear by seeing that nothing bad had happened to us and then he started to ask if he could get his haircut as well.

    Maybe this would help also with your son, for him to observe you to get your haircut a couple of times. Just take him along and have him watch.
  8. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    I was afraid of clippers as a child! If I remember correctly my parents explained how clippers worked and I think showed me with my dad's clippers (on my dad). Once I realized that I couldn't really be "cut" (think decapitated) by clippers I calmed down. I was still nervous, but it was much better. (I was around 3 or 4).
  9. Gregg

    Gregg Puritan Board Sophomore

    Maybe you can give him a haircut yourself. He will be much more trusting of you and you can save a few $$ also.

    [Edited on 2-18-2006 by Gregg]
  10. faydawg67117

    faydawg67117 Puritan Board Freshman

    I can relate; I find it hard to believe that anyone is worse than my son was in regards to haircuts. I had barbers refuse to cut my son's hair before. However, now my son actually enjoys getting haircuts! Every time he gets a haircut he says "that was awesome". So, don't give up hope. Eventually he will come around.

    Has anyone had this exprience with girls? My daughter is much more brave than my son when it comes to certain things like, haircuts. I also had a hard time bathing my son because he was afraid of the water but my daughter loves the bath, the pool etc.
  11. alwaysreforming

    alwaysreforming Puritan Board Sophomore

    Maybe you can talk about how much the clippers "tickle" you when they're used, so he'll be anticipating "tickling" rather than cutting. Also, I second the advice above about him watching you get your hair cut, and maybe another kid if possible.

    Is there any way to make it fun, or an adventure that you two go on together. Maybe you can talk it up as a "male bonding" event and its "just for the two of you.... NO GIRLS!" Get him to anticipate the event as fun, and an exclusive male rite, and how the barber shop is a place where good stuff happens.

    I would probably recommend trying a different place next time, because he's probably built up quite an aversion to the one he's "been traumatized" at. Get a real friendly barber, and call him ahead of time to set up a pleasant experience, even if you have to pay more to reserve his time to take it slow and make it more special somehow.

    And you probably need to talk to him and try to undo all the past negativity that's been associated with the event, like the discipline and the yelling and the screaming.

    Is it possible to show him at home exactly what happens, and how nothing hurts? (and I wouldn't even bring up the idea of "hurting" because that's not what happens anyway, so there's no reason to introduce that aspect of it.)

    Now when it comes to the dentist, please don't ask! I'm STILL scared to go, and can't even make myself go at age 37! I HATE dentists, and everything they do HURTS.... bad! (My last dentist prescribed valium to me, and I still couldn't make the re-appointment)

    Good luck and God bless you in your endeavor!
    I will pray for you right now about it!
  12. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Thanks for all the encouragement/advice.

    1. We have our own clippers. He has even gotten to the point of holding them himself while on without freaking out. Put it near his head, though, and he goes crazy. I don't even yell at him during those times. He's just afraid of them. He's afraid of clowns, hair dryers, dogs, Yoda, hand dryers, and puppets with the same fear. I just have to talk him through it. I don't baby it but I'm not mean about it either. I tell him to repeat "I'm not afraid."

    2. The last haircut was actually going really well. The barber was great. She had him hold the clippers and touched them to his face. He was even good for about 20 minutes and then, out of the blue, started freaking out. The rest of the haircut was like that.

    3. He isn't afraid of the dentist. I was shocked but both he and Anna were really good (he more than Anna) and even opened their mouth up. The dentist was really good but, even with all the stuff on her head that would make her scary, he was really cool about it.

    4. I have my own clippers but don't really want to turn my kid's head into an experiment. I've tried before on other people's heads and cutting hair short (little boy hair so it can comb over) is very difficult. I know folks who cut their kids' hair but they're either more skilled than I or give their kids buzz cuts. I'm not going to buzz my kid's hair. If he wants to be a Marine like Dad when he's older than that's fine but I like my boy to have hair that I can comb over. I also don't want to give up on working him through this so I've resolved I'm not going to let the frustration I have over this keep me from taking him to the barber.

    5. I've been blessed with great barbers. Better than San Diego or at least as good. In fact I think the women that cut hair in Okinawa are probably the best I've ever seen in all my years. Korean barbers are also really good.

    Anyway, it's good to hear all the others who have similar problems. I knew there were likely some out there and thought I would share my own burdens. :)
  13. Tirian

    Tirian Puritan Board Sophomore


    My son was about 4 before he was willing to sit in the barbers chair without me having to sit with him on my lap, holding him still! By the time the next child was ready for haircuts at the barbers, I put the eldest in the chair first. When the younger saw the older emerge OK with a little treat (like a lollipop (candy)) we thankfully didnt face the same problem the second time. In fact, the youngest one (pictured in my Avatar) seems to like it so much now it sends him to sleep during the haircut! I guess all children differ :)

  14. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member


    James received a much needed haircut today. I prayed on the way to the Barber Shop. I couldn't find the words to express so I just prayed the Lord's Prayer a couple of times.

    James did really well.

    He was pretty laid back while waiting for our number (there were 55 numbers in front of us when we began but many didn't stick around and there are about 15 barbers in the shop). He was really cute while waiting with me.

    We got to the chair and he started to get upset as the clippers came on. I told him: It doesn't hurt, it doesn't hurt, it doesn't hurt, ... and he calmed down.

    He let the woman cut his hair and then I said: "See it's just like your tootbrush." (He has an electric toothbrush.) He actually got through the clippers part after that saying: "That tickles..." and giggling more than fear.

    Then the scissors came out and I relaxed. BUT HE DIDN'T. He started to really cry because he was afraid of the scissors. I managed to calm him down but he variously cried a bit. They washed him down with a hot washcloth (which he didn't like either) but it went really well.

    Thank you God. I know it sounds small to some but I am so thankful. He looks so much better with his hair cut and I'm so grateful he neither embarrassed me nor I ever sinned in my anger at his fear during the haircut.

    Thanks to all for your experiences. I'm sure he'll still not be a fan of haircuts for a while but I think I might be out of the woods.
  15. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Nope, don't cut their hair ;)
  16. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member


    At least not with clippers, which is what sent my son over the deep end the first time (especially the clippers that are connected to vacuums). Both James and Anna are afraid of hair dryers. That seems to be part of the Fall. :)

    Speaking of not cutting a girl's hair, my daughter Anna turns 2 on March 17th. My sin nature wants me to allow her to wrap me around her little finger. :) Anyway, her bangs in the morning cover her face like a curtain. She's so adorable.

    I love my girlie.
  17. CalsFarmer

    CalsFarmer Puritan Board Freshman

    Why don'y you get a haircut at the same time? Then he can be a big boy like his Dad....

    Thats what we did...worked for us....
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