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I think I get it.  You are worried about the physical reactions of her emotional state, and you don't want her to do something she'd regret?

I went through several years of trying to find "me", which meant a lot of piercings and hair colors and styles.  LOL  I'm glad I did it, and I'm glad I made rules for getting a tattoo:
-wait on the design 6 months.  If I still want it then, I'll do it.
-never get anyone's name.  Even dead people.  Skeletons come out.
-pay for good, because I'll regret 60 years of subpar.

And this is what I tell my kids.  And I'm open and honest with them, so when they start looking for ways to define who they are, I jokingly tell them that they are welcome to do anything they like as long as it's not permanent and it's their own decision, but they have two parents who were teens in the 90's and we made all the silly decisions.  And being like mom and dad is so not cool. 😄

You can't stop them from trying to figure out how to be comfortable in their own skin, but you can guide them gently.

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Hugs, Mama. 

I was like your daughter, going from long lovely hair to a buzz cut. I've actually done that dozens of times, though many, many fewer as I have gotten older. I have never enjoyed alcohol, never done drugs, and didn't smoke so, for me, shaving my head was therapy. It was the way I dealt with frustration, anxiety, or feeling smothered. I followed with nose/tongue piercings, which I have let close as I got older.

At the time, my mother was very unhappy with my decisions. However, she now jokes about it and likes to tell people about how radical I was. 🤣

Good luck to you both.

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If you want someone to say, "You are still a great mom if you have taught your daughter all these good values and you are committed to keeping your opinions to yourself, even while you can't help but have those opinions. You miss her. You worry about her motivations. You literally miss how she used to look. You get to feel how you feel! But you are supporting her, teaching the right things, doing the right things, and you are a great mom. Please go easy on yourself,"....

If you want someone to say that, I just said it. ❤️ It's what we do, how we keep trying to grow, and how we treat others that count. You've got all that down already.

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I get it. My 17 y.o. dd had the most gorgeous long blonde hair, and she got it cut short and dyes it a different color every week. It looks cute and suits her personality, but I miss her long hair! I’d never dream of telling her that, though, since it’s her hair and her decision.

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As someone who had no idea how ...spiritual? empowering? life changing? short hair could be I totally get where your daughter is coming from. And I also think she will work through this, and not keep it funny looking forever. But right now, I bet she doesn't give a rat's behind if it is not flattering - that may be the point even, deep down. That she doesn't owe it to anyone to be pretty. That other things are more important. And I know that you already believe that yourself, and can embrace it without cutting off all your hair, but some of us need to physically embrace it, lol. She's trying on a new persona, and that's normal and good and healthy. 

But I bet you are right and it is not flattering, because that haircut rarely is, for anyone. But again, for some, that is the entire purpose. 

Seriously though, when I cut my hair I suddenly was all "I am woman- hear me roar!!!" I exchange looks and nods with other short haired women, who I also see have the same reaction. I used to wonder why so many older women had short hair - now I know. For some, it is part of that no longer child bearing, exploring their power thing. 

And you are a good mom not to tell her it looks bad, lol. But so many young adult styles look terrible...if they were attractive full grown adult would already be doing them. So the teens and 20 year olds are left with all the stuff that doesn't look good if they want to look different than the older folks, lol. 

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15 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

As someone who had no idea how ...spiritual? empowering? life changing? short hair could be I totally get where your daughter is coming from. And I also think she will work through this, and not keep it funny looking forever. But right now, I bet she doesn't give a rat's behind if it is not flattering - that may be the point even, deep down. That she doesn't owe it to anyone to be pretty. That other things are more important. And I know that you already believe that yourself, and can embrace it without cutting off all your hair, but some of us need to physically embrace it, lol. She's trying on a new persona, and that's normal and good and healthy. 

But I bet you are right and it is not flattering, because that haircut rarely is, for anyone. But again, for some, that is the entire purpose. 

Seriously though, when I cut my hair I suddenly was all "I am woman- hear me roar!!!" I exchange looks and nods with other short haired women, who I also see have the same reaction. I used to wonder why so many older women had short hair - now I know. For some, it is part of that no longer child bearing, exploring their power thing. 

And you are a good mom not to tell her it looks bad, lol. But so many young adult styles look terrible...if they were attractive full grown adult would already be doing them. So the teens and 20 year olds are left with all the stuff that doesn't look good if they want to look different than the older folks, lol. 

 

Edited by Chris in VA
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27 minutes ago, Chris in VA said:

She just texted me and is having a very hard day. Hair seems like a non-issue or would be, if it wasnt for the other issues. 

😢 

It can be so painful to watch kids who feel lost try to find themselves. Trying on different identities by changing physical appearance is so common because it's one of the few things they have control over, and it sends an immediate and obvious message about that control. Or at least they think it does. To those who are older and wiser and have BTDT, it can look like the opposite. 

Sending big (((hugs))) to you, Chris. I've been here a long time and I know you have walked through fire already, so I totally get how fearful you must be watching your daughter seek equilibrium. Holding you and your daughter in the light and hoping very hard that she finds her way.

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Funny how it is at the transition to adulthood and again around menopause or such that women chop their hair off. 

I'm sorry she's having a hard time. 

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It is never just about the hair.

Earlier this year I had my hair cut very short for the first time in 35 years. It was extremely important for me because it matches more how I am feeling on the inside. My DH does not like it, but he acknowledges that my short hair has nothing to do with him.

This is about her expressing herself in the way she feels she needs to right now. She may not want to look "cute". (When I went to the stylist, I explicitly told him to make it short but absolutely not cute in any feminine way.)

Edited by regentrude
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Idk what it is about hair cutting, but I am beginning to believe that it’s is actually a thing.   Dd had super-long hair until she was 18 and then handed a 5-year old some scissors and I just dealt. Then she grew it very long again, but this time when she wanted it cut (after a breakup) I went to the hairdresser with her.  Just before he made a cut, he said, “are you sure you're ready?  It can be very traumatic.”  She was a gung-ho YES and 30 seconds later I was outside having a panic attack. 

He was actually asking ME if I was ready.  Which, of course, I thought I was.  But I obviously wasn’t.  And it’s just hair!  And this was not even the first time she had done it!

I have been trying to process this irrational, deeply visceral reaction for the last couple of months and I have nothing.  every once in a while I’ll tell this story and another mom will tell me she had a similar reaction to a kid’s hair choice with no explanation.  Maybe the act of hair cutting is such an emotional experience for the cuttee that it spills over to those of us in the sidelines?  

You are doing the right thing by being loving and supportive even if you disagree or dislike her current choices.  And It’s ok to mourn the loss of the person you thought she would be - because we are rarely what our parents thought we would be and it’s hard for parents to let go of that long-held image.

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It's okay if she's doing some of the things as a reaction to someone/something, that can be a healthy response as she works through things and discovers she doesn't have to look or act a certain way just because she used to. Freeing yourself from expectations can be very empowering. 

One of mine got an induction cut in high school! It's not quite that short now, but quite short, all kinds of colors, and she likes to buzz lines through it. College has brought a septum piercing and tattoos. Piercings and tattoos are so common with young adults that they don't see it as nearly the extreme decision that an older person might. 

You're doing good! Young adults are hard. 

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As long as she understands future employers will judge her outward appearance.  Some won't care.  Some will refuse to hire her.

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38 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

As long as she understands future employers will judge her outward appearance.  Some won't care.  Some will refuse to hire her.

Eh, it's mostly temporary stuff. Hair grows and is generally not a big deal to begin with. Piercings without jewelry aren't noticeable. Most tattoos can be covered by clothing. I'm making the assumption that her dd isn't thinking of a face or neck tattoo 😋

 

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You know, it IS just hair...but I have to say that I can get why it is upsetting...because there is something that is being *said* here.  And sometimes THAT is what is hard to hear/understand/de-code--but the "just hair" is part of what is being said.  

((Chris))

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4 hours ago, Ailaena said:

Idk what it is about hair cutting, but I am beginning to believe that it’s is actually a thing.   Dd had super-long hair until she was 18 and then handed a 5-year old some scissors and I just dealt. Then she grew it very long again, but this time when she wanted it cut (after a breakup) I went to the hairdresser with her.  Just before he made a cut, he said, “are you sure you're ready?  It can be very traumatic.”  She was a gung-ho YES and 30 seconds later I was outside having a panic attack. 

He was actually asking ME if I was ready.  Which, of course, I thought I was.  But I obviously wasn’t.  And it’s just hair!  And this was not even the first time she had done it!

I have been trying to process this irrational, deeply visceral reaction for the last couple of months and I have nothing.  every once in a while I’ll tell this story and another mom will tell me she had a similar reaction to a kid’s hair choice with no explanation.  Maybe the act of hair cutting is such an emotional experience for the cuttee that it spills over to those of us in the sidelines?  

You are doing the right thing by being loving and supportive even if you disagree or dislike her current choices.  And It’s ok to mourn the loss of the person you thought she would be - because we are rarely what our parents thought we would be and it’s hard for parents to let go of that long-held image.

When I cut my hair off the woman in the chair next to me, another customer, nearly started sobbing, lol! I was fine, she was not. 

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I shaved my head when I was about 18 or 19.  And then again at 20.  Honestly it was partially a way for me to reduce unwanted sexual advances.  

It grows back.  

If it’s any consolation, my pieced (nose), bald and tattooed 20 year old self never had trouble finding professional work and was promoted at two jobs while running around like that.  I also got my first management position at 25, piercing and all.  

I understand not liking it though.  My niece ruins her gorgeous hair with dye, bleach and not so great looking hair cuts.  I’ve never said a word but it is a shame at times to see her really nice hair bleached and hacked off in weird ways.  

 

Edited by LucyStoner
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I’m one who never thinks “it’s just hair.” Cutting and shaving long hair very short is always filled with symbolism. 

Hugs to you. 

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15 hours ago, regentrude said:

It is never just about the hair.

Earlier this year I had my hair cut very short for the first time in 35 years. It was extremely important for me because it matches more how I am feeling on the inside. My DH does not like it, but he acknowledges that my short hair has nothing to do with him.

This is about her expressing herself in the way she feels she needs to right now. She may not want to look "cute". (When I went to the stylist, I explicitly told him to make it short but absolutely not cute in any feminine way.)

This is my experience. I never did a drastic hair cut but anytime I was in a rut I'd color my hair. It has been many shades of blonde, pink, plum purple, many shades of red, and partially blue.

It has now been about 6 years since I last dyed my hair. I don't know why I stopped but it was quite therapeutic when I was doing it.

I also did some piercing but never tattoos. They have always been in the category of, 'if I say I want one I must have a brain tumor.'

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