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Bed Head

MASON, 11 year old male
I can’t stand the way my mom makes such a big deal about me brushing my hair every morning. She makes me wet it down and brush before school. It’s my hair and I can wear it the way I like it. She really makes me mad.

LISA, mother

Each morning it’s a battle to get Mason to make his hair presentable for school. He doesn’t care if he goes to school with “bed head.” It becomes a screaming match and he often becomes violent and throws things and even hits his sister. I don’t know what to do. I think he should take more pride in his appearance for school. I don’t like the way he takes out his emotions on his sister. He ends up going to school looking neat but I’m tired of the morning battles.

Guidance Counselor:

It sounds like this battle is less about hair and more about control and anger management. Since uniforms are required, the only thing Mason gets to choose about his school appearance is how messy he can wear his hair. He rebels when his mother forces him to “fix” his hair.
Instead of the morning battle, why not let him go to school with “bed head?” After all there are worse things he could do. The hair may become more important to him if a classmate comments on it. When he becomes interested in impressing girls at school, the neat hair issue may become important to him. For now, skip the battle. Your mornings may go smoother for everyone in your household.
Sit down with Mason and explain your new plan. You could start by saying, “Mason, I know you don’t like to brush your hair in the mornings.” Explain to him that as long as he follows the school dress code, he can wear his hair as he pleases. Let him know that if he raises his voice, throws things or hits his sister, he will have a consequence.
It is possible too, there are other issues involved with his outburst. Try to pay especially close attention to his feelings and concerns. Keep open communication and if possible, spend quality one-on-one time with him.

Louise Hajjar Diamond has been a guidance counselor for twelve years. She is also a freelance writer and mother of two.

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