I appetite to allocution about how my 4-year-old son thinks continued beard is “for girls.” I affiance it won’t be a political conversation!
Let’s accompaniment the accessible up front: Gender is not authentic by beard length. Affluence of men abrasion their beard continued and affluence of women opt for short.
As little kids grow, they use civic norms and what they acquaintance about them to bigger accept their own identity. A 4-year-old sees his dad, his earlier brother and the added males in his activity with mostly abbreviate hair, and he sees his two sisters, his mom and added females with mostly continued hair. So, boom, he codes abbreviate beard for boys and continued beard for girls.
There’s annihilation amiss with this anticipation action for a 4-year-old, admitting it eventually requires a added allegorical chat from parents at some point. And you absolutely appetite to accept this chat as aboriginal as their compassionate allows. Otherwise you ability about-face out like me, abundantly answer to the mom of a accomplished toddler in the band of a Silverwood ride.
Let me backtrack: A few years ago, my youngest daughter, afresh about 3 years old, approached a kid who seemed abutting to her age in band for the miniature alternation roller coaster ride at Silverwood. She talked to the kid for a minute afore attractive up to me to declare, “This babe looks like she’s 3 like me!”
I looked bottomward at the kid, acutely a boy (his beard wasn’t alike that long; aloof not short), afresh glanced up to see the face of the boy’s mom, who didn’t assume decidedly blessed with my daughter’s remark.
I bound apologized to the mother… article accidental like, “Oh, sorry, she doesn’t see too abounding added kids besides her own siblings.” At the aforementioned time, my wife below bottomward to buzz to our babe and agilely acquaint her that she was talking to a boy. I admired this choice, aloof because, while not a big accord for a 4-year-old to misunderstand, you don’t charge to accumulate talking about this boy’s beard appropriate in advanced of him.
If alone my babe didn’t ache from that connected adversity accepted as “Refusing-to-be-wrong Syndrome.”
She responded to my wife loudly, “That’s a girl! She has continued beard and girls accept continued hair!”
I apologized afresh and… luckily, the band began to move. We could all assuredly leave this “Curb Your Enthusiasm” moment behind… or at atomic until we bumped into them afresh after in the day.
To me, the best agreeable affair about this adventure was my daughter’s continued history with air-conditioned abbreviate hair. It had absolutely alone been that year back her beard started to abound out into “normal” length.
Anyway, through added (private) conversations, she eventually abstruse a added nuanced access to civic beard norms. But the embarrassment of that Silverwood adventure ashore with me so able-bodied that I was activity to be abuse able-bodied abiding our youngest son would apprentice the dash of beard afore he had a adventitious to accomplish accessible animadversion on the subject.
That altercation happened aftermost week. First, aloof a bit added table-setting…
My son hates haircuts. I anticipate he’s had three in his absolute life, and we’ve had to augment him a connected beck of Skittles and added candies aloof to accomplish him sit continued abundant to run the buzzer.
His beard is continued now… maybe as continued as it’s anytime been, to the point area it bothers him back his bangs abatement over his eyes. We ask him every day if he wants a haircut, and every day he refuses.
Then, a few canicule ago, he asked me to assumption what blush clothes he was about to change into. I ashamed off some colors… blue, green, red, etc. and he smiled and responded “No.”
Then I estimated blush and he frowned. “I don’t abrasion pink,” he said. “Girls abrasion pink.”
It had been the aboriginal time I heard him say annihilation like this. Since he has two super-cool earlier sisters, he’s consistently been aflame about their interests, including things like painting nails, arena with Barbie dolls, etc. These aren’t “girl exclusive” activities, but let’s be honest about it — added girls acrylic nails and comedy with Barbies than boys. But at the aforementioned time, our 4-year-old hasn’t absolutely been apparent to annihilation that definitively declares blush to be a “girl color” or Barbies to be a “girl toy.” Sure, his earlier brother brand “boy things,” but he brand his corrective nails too.
Anyway, I’m blessed this animadversion happened at home and NOT at Silverwood, and we concluded up accepting a fun little chat about how you can like any color, behindhand of gender. I additionally enjoyed this chat because it gave me an befalling to appearance him my advanced array of Minnesota Twins hats. “Here’s one with amethyst on it. Here’s a air-conditioned one area the ‘TC’ logo is hot pink…”
It seemed like addition home run parenting moment for me. Boom. I don’t accept to anguish about the 4-year-old calumniating addition stranger.
The abutting day, however, my son absolved into my bedchamber and told my wife and I that he assuredly capital a haircut.
“Tired of that beard falling in advanced of your eyes?” my wife asked.
“No,” he said. “I’m a boy and boys accept abbreviate hair.”
So we charge to accept added conversations in the future, I guess.
• • •
Tyler Wilson is a freelance biographer and calm dad to four kids, ages 4-8. He is tired. He can be accomplished at [email protected]
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