- July 24, 2012
Recently I took my child to the barber shop to get his back to school hair cut. As we sat in the barber shop, I grew nostalgic over how much my son had grown. I remember the first time I took him to the barber shop, I had to sit in the barber’s chair and have him sit on my lap just so he could stop squirming and get his hair cut. And now look at him, he walks into the barber shop as if he owns the place. True, I still have my moments when I stand by the barber’s chair, and oversee him and my son as they have their “man” talk.
But yesterday all that changed. As I went to the barber shop with my son, he ran over to the pictures of hair cuts on the wall and said “mommy, I want this one.” All of the guys laughed at him, jeering him “your mother is not going to let you get that son, not until your older.” But as I looked in Isaiah’s eyes, I couldn’t help it. I had to allow him to have this one decision. For once I was going to step back and let him decide on how he wanted his hair to look. As I swayed past the older men in the shop, to get a closer look at the picture, I couldn’t believe it! My son wanted to get a Mohawk with a spider man design on the side. As I turned around to tell him pick another cut, I remembered the look in his eyes and the excitement on his face as he marched up to the picture and pointed to it and said: “mommy, I want this one.” How could I turn around and tell him no.
As he sat in the chair, the barber looked at me, the older men looked at me, and Isaiah looked at me as if they were all waiting for me to yell: STOP, I’m not ready for this, he’s too young to make this choice!” But I just politely smiled and stared back at them and cheered Isaiah on.
As I watched him get his hair cut, I began to wonder, at what point do we let our children began to make decisions for themselves? When do we step back and let them take control? Sure this time it was something as minor as a hair cut. But later on who knows what it will be? How do we prepare them to make good decisions? Or to accept the decisions that they’ve made? As parents we always want to hold their hand, choose which path that we assume is the right path for them and watch them happily march down it. We always want to be the ones who block the bumps, pitfalls, and cover up the spills, but when do we stop? Should we start teaching them decision making skills at at four, five, six? Or do we wait until they get older?