21 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by jay_cruise

Snip fear from child's haircut

With preparation, experience doesn't have to be painful for youngster, or Mom, Dad

Snip fear from child's haircut Snip fear from child's haircut

You've seen it before — the squirmy tot who's trying to get out of the chair and the frustrated stylist who's just trying to complete the cut.  It's enough to evoke a sense of pain down the spine for even innocent bystanders.

My child is pretty fearless, and I guess that's in part due to day care.   I was fortunate enough that when it was time to become one with the scissors, it was fairly easy. There were no tears, no fights and I didn't have to hold my child, while we were both caped in plastic. I was lucky. Others, not so much.

"You know when you are parenting and sometimes, you need a moment to collect yourself," said Bill Murphy, owner and founder of in Buckhead. "It's also important for a stylist to be able to take a moment and clear their head, too."

This father of a 5- and 10-year old should know. He's spent his share of time around diapers and scissors, having worked 25 years as a stylist. And, even after so long in the business, he still finds time to cut children's hair. "By working with children, it keeps me in touch with my roots and the ability to provide customer service."

Over the years, the stylist seems to have seen a good bit. He even shared a story about cutting twins' hair, and one was born without ears. He explained the sensitivity that was required to help the toddler move to a more comfortable place during the haircut experience.   And, over time, while the toddler underwent a series of surgeries to help develop ears from cartilage, a relationship grew with that child that's still present today, six years later.

Parents can also participate in making the process more kid-friendly.  "We recommend bringing the children in to meet the stylist before the cut, watching videos on You Tube before coming in or bringing your child along when the mother has their hair cut," said Murphy, whose salon is involved with Jerusalem House, Starlight Foundation and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. "At the end of the day, surprises must be eliminated and the child must be prepared for it."

"Once they feel comfortable," he added, "they'll want to do it again and again, although it might take three or four times to get there."  And, when all else fails, Murphy resorts to sippy cups and juice boxes "to keep the mouth moving." 

Moms, what are your tips for a successful first cut?

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