• Michelle Zunter

I Stopped Brushing My Daughter’s Hair even When She Wouldn’t Brush it Herself


My 10-year-old daughter hates having her hair brushed and styled. Always has. She couldn’t give a flying fig if her hair is knotted up in horrifying tangles.


‘Pretty’ hair just isn’t on my daughter’s list of things that matter in her world right now. And to be honest — I’m learning to take it off my list of important things that matter as well.

But it’s been a struggle to let it go.


I see other moms out in the world and a lot of the time their daughters have these super complicated-looking braids or beautifully placed ornaments in their hair and I’ll admit — I do feel a twinge of inadequacy. Are they using magic?


But I still think I’m a pretty darn good mom despite this. I’ve learned that even though my daughter has messy, wild hair a lot of the time, it doesn’t make me a bad mom. Her hair is truly not a reflection of my parenting.


My daughter is doing well at school, helps me clean up (most of the time!) is kind to other kids, and is an all-around well-behaved child in general. Great, right?

We just haven’t got the hair thing down.

It’s not that I don’t want to be organized with my daughter’s hair or see her in cute braids, buns, ponytails and clips — it’s just that it’s a complete and total nightmare trying to achieve that goal and, frankly, I’ve decided the battle is simply not worth it.

I could spend half the day negotiating with my daughter about brushing her hair. I threaten to cut it — she freaks out. I tell her we need to take care of it — she protests. It’s a never-ending war.


However, I know in my heart of hearts that I am not alone in this epic war of the brush.

I know that there are those out there who will be cringing while reading this because they may feel I should be more strict on this matter. I should force her, punish her, or even chop her hair off unwillingly. I’ve heard it all. But that’s not going to happen.


Some moms are dealing with issues that are beyond our comprehension to most of us. They’re dealing with illnesses, disorders, and really bad behavioral problems. Those are actual problems.

My daughter not wanting her hair brushed, spritzed with hairspray, and glued into a perfect bun is so low down on the priority totem pole as far as what I could be alternatively dealing with.

I know this phase won’t last forever. One day my daughter will want to brush and style her hair (I hope!) and one day she’ll probably care enough about what other people think to put some effort into her appearance. And, actually, I kind of dread that day.


Right now, My daughter picks out her own clothes and comes up with some truly bizarre fashion choices. Every day she comes downstairs in something I would never expect and I smile. It’s the fact that my daughter simply doesn’t care what anyone else thinks right now that makes it so fantastic.


This is a unique phase in my daughter’s life where she feels free to truly be herself without fear of judgment or insecurity. I’m not going to shame her for it. She loves her sense of style. She also couldn’t care less about her messy hair.


Just because you see me out with a disheveled and sometimes mismatched child certainly doesn’t mean I’m not trying as a parent. I am trying. I’m trying to let her be herself, to let her express herself, and to allow her the personal space to control a tiny part of her life. Most kids don’t get a whole lot of choices in life or have much control over anything.


Will I be cutting out some epic knots in the near future? Undoubtedly. Is it really that big of a deal in the bigger picture? Probably not.

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