02/08/2012 12:03 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Should Young Children Have Extreme Fashionable Haircuts?

Should young children have extreme fashionable haircuts? Alamy

Recently a boy in my daughter's class at school had a large star shape shaved into the back of his hair. As far as I'm aware, the school doesn't seem to have a policy on acceptable hair cuts so he's been able to enjoy all the attention from the other children - who are very impressed.

The same can't be said for four-year-old Kain Ball, who was recently sent home from Wyken Primary School in Coventry and told that he can't return until his mini-mohawk has been trimmed off.

According to his headteacher, the spiky style is 'extreme' and is against school policy. Unfortunately, Kain is autistic and is worried about changing his hair - so it looks like he'll miss school until his David Beckham-inspired haircut grows out.

While that seems a little harsh, most parents accept that it's up to individual schools to determine an appropriate dress code for pupils.

And, over time, it's up to individual pupils to push the boundaries as far as they possibly can.

In my school days, this didn't tend to happen until we hit our teens. That's when girls' skirts got shorter, shoes stopped being sensible and we wore as much eyeliner as we could get away with.

Then, as now, a fashionable haircut was the easiest way for boys to assert their individuality. It's the safest option, too - it takes a brave boy to experiment with make-up and fashion like the girls do. Which is probably why it's usually little boys, and not little girls, who are sporting these 'extreme' haircuts.

Of course, crazy haircuts are nothing new. I remember a few boys at my school being suspended for having perms, highlights or even chessboard squares shaved or bleached in. What can I say? It was the Eighties. But these boys were at least 12 or 13, often older.

Back then, everyone at my primary school had very boring hair; girls had plaits and ponytails, boys had sensible side partings and the unlucky few had a pudding basin cut.

While I wouldn't wish a home-cut pudding basin on my worst enemy, I can't help but think that, tonsorially speaking, life was much simpler then.


I don't remember any of us - least of all the boys - worrying about our hair. Brushing it - let alone styling it - was something to be avoided.


But now, many parents are allowing - if not encouraging - their children to experiment with their hair in a way that makes me a little bit uncomfortable.

As ever, it's celebrity parents who are leading the way.

Should young children have extreme fashionable haircuts? Splash

Maddox Jolie-Pitt, Kingston Rossdale (Gwen Stefani's son) and Cruz Beckham all sported mini-mohawks well before they reached double figures. Kingston was spotted with a dyed blue Mohawk last year, when he was five.

This isn't just about boys wanting to copy their heroes. I've seen several little boys, who look as if they are still in nappies, with bleached blonde mini-mohawks. Children of that age are unlikely to ask for a cool haircut - so it's the parent making a fashion statement, not the child.

But messing with your child's hair - specifically, creatively shaving or dyeing it - before they've left, or even started, primary school just feels a bit wrong to me. Styling our children as mini adults suggests that we want them to grow up too fast and, as a result, they risk missing out on one of the best things about being a kid.

Let's not forget that childhood is probably the only time in our lives that we can be entirely unselfconscious. And it doesn't last long - once puberty kicks in kids start to worry about teenage spots, body shape and bad hair.


So why send out the message that it's important to have a fashionable haircut when children should, by rights, be too young to care?


Sooner or later, there will come a day when children want to mess with their hair. Maybe they'll bleach it blonde, dye it black, grow it long or shave it all off.

And we'll be denying them all that rebellious fun if they had a bright pink mohawk at pre-school.

As a rule of thumb, I think that parents should play it safe and keep things natural until children are old enough to wash, dry and care for their hair themselves.

After all, why make life difficult for yourself?

Until that day comes, you'll have your work cut out persuading them to sit still for long enough for you to brush it.

What do you think?
Do you think uber-fashionable cuts for little kids are too much, too young?
Or do you think it's just a bit of fun - for parents and kids?

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