Juliet fell apart recently over a frustrating haircut. The stylist had given her an "undercut" that has made it difficult for her to put her hair up. She always has these little hairs that won't stay where she wants them. The situation had reached an apex when she was trying to put rollers in her hair. She cried and fussed about the horrid stylist who had ruined her hair.
By this time, I was a little tired of her complaints. I thought she had a darling haircut that flattered her face. I was tempted to dismiss her grief. It just wasn't the tragedy she was making it out to be. I prepared to tell her to get over it, but I suddenly decided to go another direction. I picked up the comb and began to roll her hair for her. As I did so, I told her a story about a haircut I got when I was just a little older than she is. I told the hairstylist to cut it short, and she did just as I instructed. I hated it. The second I was outside the salon, I pulled a bucket hat over my hair and sulked home. "I was unhappy with that haircut, even though it was actually kind of cute. But it grew, and I went on to try a variety of other styles over the years."
Sometimes, we parents don't make enough of an effort to step into our children's shoes and try to see the situation from their perspective. I like this short stand up bit from comedian Brian Regan. It's comedy, of course, but his point is a good one: adults could try harder to understand their children's feelings.
Juliet didn't like her haircut any better after that meltdown in front of the mirror; and, yes, she was making a big deal out of nothing. Still, I made an effort to sympathize, and I think that fact that her mother understood alleviated her frustration.