Google+ Authentic Parenting: Help! My Child Won't Brush Her Hair - 10 Creative Parenting Solutions

Monday, November 25, 2013

Help! My Child Won't Brush Her Hair - 10 Creative Parenting Solutions

Our children's bodies are their own, and using force to have them comply to our will about their bodies is not the way to go f we want to raise a generation that values and takes care of their bodies. Using force on our children is never a good parenting strategy, as it only teaches our children that in their turn, when they are stronger than another, they can in turn use their force over them. It is our job as parents to come up with creative solutions when it comes to our children's hygiene and health. But I agree it can often be challenging.

When it comes to hair brushing, many kids are reluctant, because often, it does hurt and they really
don't see the benefit - on the spot. Here are some creative ways to put an end to the hair bushing battle:

  1. When they're in the room and you're brushing your hair, give them a brush. They may not do the best job, but maybe they'll take out some of the tangles. After you're done, offer to help. Since you've been brushing your own hair, they might be more prone to have their hair brushed.
  2. Have someone other than yourself do it. If you're constantly nagging your child to brush their hair, chances are, they're refusing because of the nagging. It's not necessarily defiance, it's just their reaction to your attitude. Getting a third party involved can make things much easier.
  3. Cut their hair short, obviously only if they agree! If your child can't maintain a full long bush of hair, and it keeps tangling and causing trouble, maybe a shorter cut can be a solution.
  4. Brush the hair in the tub or shower, after putting on conditioner. The wet hair combined with a detangling agent make combing much easier and less painful.
  5. Put oil in their hair before brushing. Again, the oil helps detangling and makes it less painful. You can make it a special spa moment for the two of you: heat up some oil, put it on your hair, wrap up your head in a warm towel and let is soak for at least half an hour (more if possible). You don't need a lot of oil, just a tablespoon is plenty.
  6. Braid their hair. Braids make sure that the hair doesn't tangle as much and can be kept in for quite a while.
  7. Make a magic brush. Get a simple wooden brush and decorate it together, you can paint it, stick sparkles to it, draw on it with sharpies, whatever you like. It can be your child's own princess or fairy or zombie brush, whatever they're into. If they love the brush, if it is special to them, they'll be more inclined to use it.
  8. Consider if it's really necessary to brush their hair right now. Is it worth fighting over? Can they go without hair brushing for another day? It's just hair anyway. Maybe another time of day, they're more prone to brushing their hair.
  9. Take them to the hairdresser. If your child likes the attention and care of a specialised person, maybe they'll happily have their hair brushed there. Obviously, this is not a viable solution for every time they need to brush their hair, but it can be a good strategy in between.
  10. Use a soft brush. It may take much longer to get all of the knots out and isn't for the fidgety child that can't sit still for long, but a soft brush pulls the hair less and might get a more compliant child. 

Hey, wait a minute, aren't you just avoiding conflict?
No matter what you do as a parent, conflict will be there. Coming up with creative solutions isn't avoidance, it's modelling problem solving skills other than the use of blunt force. Isn't that something you want your child to learn?

What's your tripping point as a parent? Leave it in the comments below and I'm sure we can come up with some creative solutions!

Image source: Blondie Yooper on Flickr



  1. I actually considered adding that in, but since I'd already suggested to cut their hair short, I feared that the suggestions would have gotten too radical :)

  2. Also, it's important to have the right tools, like a detangling brush made for kids. Try Knot Genie.


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