My Son Likes to Express Himself Through His Hairstyles

mochadad haircut barber shop

My 10-year old son should be a hair model. He was born with a head full of thick, curly locks and always wants to be among the first to have a new hairstyle at his school.

I was just like him when I was younger (except for the curly locks).

In elementary, my hair ranged from a short cut to mini-Afro (here is a photo of me in 4th grade). In middle school, I had a sweet hairstyle that was similar to Lionel Richie’s in this photo. During this period, the Jheri Curl was popular, but this style never appealed to me. I eventually settled on a style we called the shag (Kanye West recently had this style which is similar to a mullet – business in the front, party in the back).

I cut my hair really close when I got to high school and kept it that way all four years. But things changed drastically when I got to college. This was my hair-experimentation period. I grew a high-top fade, but I could never get it as high as that rapper from Kid and Play. Instead I dyed it a reddish color and cut one side to turn it into a Gumby (see Bobby Brown). My mother was displeased with my hairstyles and begged me to “cut that mess off my head.” I didn’t comply because I wanted to have the freedom to express myself through my hair.

mochadad haircutMy son feels the same way. When he was younger, I only allowed him to wear his hair one way – short. I wanted him to have a low-maintenance, conservative haircut. He always wanted something a little more stylish. Therefore, we made a deal. He’d have to wear his hair my way during the school year, but he was free to select his hairstyle during summer vacation. Over the years, he’s worn various styles, much to my wife’s chagrin. He’s had an Afro, a Mohawk, a FroHawk, and a few more that he made up.

This year, I decided to release the reigns a bit and let him choose his own hairstyles year-round as long as he’s willing to keep it neat and well-maintained.

On our last trip the barber shop, he told the barber how to cut his hair without any input from me. After hearing the instructions, the barber looked in my direction to see if I was okay with it.

“If that’s what he wants,” I said. “Go for it.”

When the barber was done, I was happy with the results. My son asked for a short, even cut with some fading around the ears and neck. He completed the look with two lines shaved on the side.

“Are you happy with your haircut?” I asked.

“Yep,” he said. “It looks cool.”

He felt even cooler when a girl a church noticed his new cut and remarked, “N’s hair looks nice.” I think he may stick with this style for a while.

Stay Strong,

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Join the conversation: How did you wear your hair when you were younger? How much leeway do you give your kids to pick their own hairstyles?

About author

Frederick J. Goodall

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at or on Twitter at