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Author Topic: How to act?  (Read 17757 times)

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shygirl

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How to act?
« on: August 24, 2015, 11:27:48 AM »
About 2 weeks ago, my husband gave my son a haircut.  He buzzed all the hair off so all that was left was just about a 1mm long.  This is not the first time he got this haircut, so it's not really so much of a shock to me.  Actually, we had talked about doing this haircut, but my husband's timing was just not what I expected.

However, it was apparently quite the shock to my parents.  My mom, who had been staying with us for a few weeks in the summer to help out with child care, reacted as if someone died.  She apparently cried.  Literal tears.  I didn't see it, but my son (5yo) announced it to me.  When I asked my mom what my son was talking about, she claimed that she had no idea.  I could tell something was going on with her though because she spent the rest of the visit (2 days) acting like she was at someone's funeral.  I realized that my son was not making up stories because my mom actually told someone else that she cried about the haircut, and that other person told me.  In a tone like "what in the world is wrong with your mother?"

My dad, who was not staying with us, told me over the phone that we are ruining our son's life.  I asked him if he was perhaps overreacting a little bit.  He doesn't think that was an overreaction, and said he hated the haircut so much that he was unable to act like a normal person around my son.  At the time, my mom and son were on a plane, headed towards to my parents' house.  My son was going to stay with them for 2 weeks.  Honestly, if my dad had said that to me before I put my kid on a plane, I would have cancelled the trip.  Since I couldn't do that anymore, I just told my dad if he did in fact love his grandson, he would figure out how to act like a normal human being.  We hung up after that, and I haven't spoken to him since.  I've talked to my mom every few days, because I call just to talk with my son.

It seems like everyone is having a good time.  I haven't brought up their complete and non-sensical overreactions to this haircut because I didn't want them acting like jerks while they're watching my kid.  I'm supposed to fly out tomorrow and stay with them for a few days before my son and I both fly back home.

I was so angry after the phone call with my dad that I was planning to cease all contact with my parents after I brought my son back home.  I have since calmed down, but am still planning to severely limit how much we talk/skype. 

I can't figure out how to act while I'm there though.  I don't want to act like everything is fine because I am still very angry with them.  But I don't want to discuss with them, especially in front of my son.  So if I say anything, it would have to be after I get back home and over the phone.  Honestly, I already try not to talk to my dad that much because we really just do not get along.  I mostly get along with my mom.  I'm thinking I should just be coolly polite while I'm there so the visit is as pleasant as possible, and when we get back tell my parents that I'm disturbed by their reaction to his haircut and cut back contact, but not cut if off completely.

For what it's worth, my son is bi-racial.  My dad thinks being bi-racial is hard enough, and people will pick on him.  And by shaving his hair off sometimes, it will be another thing to pick on.  I guess that is how we are ruining his life.  (My dad is in no way bi-racial, so I don't know where he gets his information from.)  I happen to disagree completely with my dad, and don't want my son to think that kind of attitude is acceptable.

bah12

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2015, 11:43:07 AM »
It's a haircut.  On a five year old boy.  This isn't worth a family fight over.

I understand that you are angry with your parents, and I don't blame you, but I wouldn't say anything to them about it, because, well...it's a haircut.  They should be over it already.  And if they aren't and they say something to you, then just respond with "It's a haircut.  How can a haircut, that will last, what, a week or two, possibly ruin a five year old's life? I'm not talking about this, because, frankly, it's ridiculous."

If your father keeps harping on the fact that your son is bi-racial, that's another thing completely and something worth clearing up.

"Dad, so far the only person that even brings up DS's race, is you.  You are the only one that seems to have a problem with it and this upsets me, because he loves you, and wants you to accept him the way he is.  No one is picking on him because of his race, but we do understand that he will run across bigots in his lifetime.  We all do.  We are arming him with the mental strength to deal with it and teaching him that anyone that chooses to make fun of him because of the color of his skin is not someone worth having in his life.  This includes family members."   

BlendedFamily

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2015, 11:55:34 AM »
Shaving a little boys head down seems like such a normal, average thing to do to me, no matter what race the child is.  It just looks so cute to see a little boy sporting a buzz cut.  I think that if your son came to you complaining about the haircut, then it would be time to reconsider his hairdo, but as long as your son is ok with it, it shouldn't be a big deal.
I think that both of your parents really went way off the deep end with this, but maybe your dad moreso, with his comment that he didn't feel he could interact the same way with your son and his haircut.  Only you know if going lc, vlc, nc, or cd is in order, and that's something you have to decide for yourself.
I think that it might be really helpful to clear the air face to face though.  I'm not saying to walk into their house ranting or raving, but it might be something to discuss on your last day with them.  Other than that, I would act polite and have a somewhat nice visit.

Strive to be the best possible person you can be, not what others have dictated are their expectations of you!

TootsNYC

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2015, 12:18:00 PM »
Can you laugh at them?

It's seriously sort of ridiculous that they're acting this way.

Also, your number-one audience is your son.

You need to model -for him- how one should react to your parents and their attitude. Which is, dismissive and amused.
   Teach him, by acting it out, how to react, but not overreact.

Your parents are overreacting. If you join them in hysteria, it will tell your son that haircuts are A Thing With Lots of Meaning!!

Be the counterforce to their idiocy and overemotion-ality. Be completely rational and calm, dismissive and amused. "Aren't they silly!"

Thipu1

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2015, 12:28:40 PM »
Amen, Toots!

A haircut will not 'ruin the life' of a five year old boy. I can't imagine anyone seriously having the sort of reaction described in the OP.   

If he lives anywhere in North America it's hot.  A good short haircut is just what a little boy would like in late summer weather. 

There's more going on with the grandparents than the length of a kid's hair. It almost seems like the haircut is an excuse for more basic issues to surface.   


shygirl

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2015, 12:36:45 PM »
Amen, Toots!

A haircut will not 'ruin the life' of a five year old boy. I can't imagine anyone seriously having the sort of reaction described in the OP.   

If he lives anywhere in North America it's hot.  A good short haircut is just what a little boy would like in late summer weather. 

There's more going on with the grandparents than the length of a kid's hair. It almost seems like the haircut is an excuse for more basic issues to surface.   

I so agree with you.  I think the real issue is that THEY are the bigots, and have a problem with their grandchild being bi-racial.  If they do bring it up, I plan to say something like what bah12 wrote.  I just don't want to do in front of my son.

I think laughing at how ridiculous they are being, if they do bring it up, would be a good method. 

rose red

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2015, 12:45:57 PM »
Amen, Toots!

A haircut will not 'ruin the life' of a five year old boy. I can't imagine anyone seriously having the sort of reaction described in the OP.   

If he lives anywhere in North America it's hot.  A good short haircut is just what a little boy would like in late summer weather. 

There's more going on with the grandparents than the length of a kid's hair. It almost seems like the haircut is an excuse for more basic issues to surface.   

I so agree with you.  I think the real issue is that THEY are the bigots, and have a problem with their grandchild being bi-racial.  If they do bring it up, I plan to say something like what bah12 wrote.  I just don't want to do in front of my son.

I think laughing at how ridiculous they are being, if they do bring it up, would be a good method.

I agree with the bold. A buzz cut on a 5 year old is not a big deal and hair grows back. There is always a look we dislike; goth, punk, mullet, etc. But their reaction is too over the top to really be about hair.

If they bring it up, I would say they are being ridiculous and hurtful and perhaps it would be best to limit visits. Yes, the child may encounter awful words and actions, but he doesn't need it from his own grandparents.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2015, 12:49:12 PM by rose red »

kherbert05

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2015, 12:51:09 PM »
Honestly I would limit your parent's contact to supervised by you or your husband only for awhile. Your parents seem to be a little off kilter at best racist at worst. Your Dad in particular is setting up the expectation that your son is going to be bullied. You don't want your son internalizing his grandfather's comment. 


Seriously a buzz cut on a boy during the summer is pretty much standard. Personally I think by the time a kid is school age they should control the type of hair style they have. As long as they can keep it neat and tidy. (No, I'm not going to say within the school dress code because the style of a kid's hair as long as it is clean and is secured for labs is none of the school's business.)
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

MrTango

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2015, 01:07:29 PM »
If my parents reacted that way about my nephew (or even my niece) getting a buzz cut, I'd respond with "It's just a haircut.  Get over yourself."

It's just a haircut and not even close to being worth getting worked up and/or emotional about.

tabitha

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2015, 01:09:04 PM »
big eye roll! I've never used that term but it fits here so perfectly.  My daughters are bi-racial. I'm white and their father is black. It was his mother that used to drive me nuts about their freaking hair. She demanded braids all the time.  I leaned how to do corn rolls ( or cane rolls if you're West Indian as his family is).  What a miserable time for me and my daughters! I just stopped. Eight hours of hair braiding is frankly ridiculous! They have curly hair let's all just get over it! I combed it, oiled it and either put it in a couple of braids or ponytails or just left it out.  Their fathers mother hated it, but me and my children could never live up to her standards anyway.  They are teenagers now and both do their own hair themselves. They never see their grandmother, not because of her issue with their hair but because of her overall negativity. And because their father and I are separated that came from their father not me. He couldn't believe how negative his mother was with our girls. She wouldn't see them for months and then when he'd drop by with them, she would tell them they looked ugly and then ask them to clean up the house for her.  Now he behaves the same way, "that make up makes you look ugly, those clothes are horrible". My poor girls!! But I tell them they are beautiful and valuable and I allow them to experiment with their hair, make-up and over all looks.
We can't control how family treat our kids. And we don't always have the ability to decide who they spend time with. But we need to give them support and to show them the tools of giving themselves support when others are just behaving badly at their expense.

LadyL

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2015, 01:10:26 PM »
This reminds me of people who object to little boys being allowed to grow their hair long because they insist it will make the child confused about their gender. In that case it's not about the hairdo, it's about enforcing gender roles and ultimately misogyny (long hair = feminine = weak/bad/etc.). In your father's case my guess is he thinks the haircut emphasizes your son's biracial features somehow and it makes him uncomfortable. That is a very ugly sentiment to project on a child and I would not want my child to spend much time around people with those attitudes.

tabitha

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2015, 01:15:47 PM »
I just realized I didn't really address the question of "how to act".  sorry, I responded with total emotion! Act like your parents are being ridiculous about the hair and tell you son how great he looks and how awesome he is. Also make a point to say, if the folks bring up his hair in front of him, that the haircut is practical as well as looking good, and by the way, YOU certainly don't agree with criticizing others appearances and you wish your parents would refrain in your presence as well as in the presence of your son.

Edited for spelling mistake
« Last Edit: August 24, 2015, 01:19:21 PM by tabitha »

KenveeB

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2015, 01:30:22 PM »
What a ridiculous reaction to a haircut! Most boys I knew growing up got buzz cuts just before going back to school. It's the "football haircut." I would just laugh at their responses and firmly say that you like the haircut when you're in front of your son -- he needs to know there's nothing at all wrong with how he looks. I'd definitely want to bring it up with them in private at some point, though, because that's an absolutely absurd overreaction.

MommySloth

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2015, 01:34:36 PM »
I agree with PP who have said that as long as your son likes the way he looks, who cares what anyone else thinks? Both of my brothers buzz cut their hair in the summer every year, while my husband leaves his long year-round. None of them are bi-racial. I agree that this is probably about more than his hair, which is terribly sad. I would definitely be both limiting and supervising contact - I know from experience that you can't trust some adults not to say nasty things even directly to children.

During the visit, I would probably act like nothing had happened and, if they did bring it up, I would definitely laugh because their reaction is totally ridiculous. Put "It's just a haircut" on repeat.

Mustard

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Re: How to act?
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2015, 01:36:56 PM »
This is way beyond ridiculous. Your dad 'can't act like a normal person' because of a haircut... I think the Ehell maxim of not engaging the crazies is the way to go!