a teenager with a strange haircut

5 Tips for Dealing with Your Teen's Odd Hairstyle

In the 1950s, a young man with a long, brown duck tail and prominent sideburns entered the music scene. While other kids were sporting crew cuts and flat tops, this teen dared to be different. That performer was Elvis Presley!

Hair has always been a way for teens to express themselves. Some conform to the popular hairstyles of their peers, while others want to make a unique fashion statement, attract attention, or use it as a form of rebellion. Neon-colored hair, spikes, rat tails, mohawks, and shaved scalp designs are prime examples.

Parents do not always understand why teens make the decisions about interesting hairstyles when they know parents may not approve. As your teen tries different looks in search for individuality, here are five tips that will help you through these experimental years.

  1. Don’t overreact.

    Having an unconventional hairstyle does not mean that the teen is on the way to moral depravity. A mohawk doesn’t indicate a desire to rob the local convenience store. It's just hair. Teens dare to be different using a form of expression that may be out of style next week. Remember that it's only temporary!

  2. Remember being a teen.

    You had differences of opinion with your parents and struggled with identity, too. Now, we look back at our "big hair" of the 80s or bobs of the 60s and wonder, "What were we thinking?" A little empathy for your teen will go a long way.

  3. Express your opinion.

    Explain the advantages and disadvantages of having a particular hairstyle. Give legitimate reasons why you do not approve and then let your teen make the decision.

  4. Find a compromise.

    Compromises can be reached by allowing teens to experiment with hairstyles for specified periods of time. Give your teen the summer to experiment with a particular hair cut or color, at which point he or she must agree to return to a more conventional style.

  5. Pick your battles.

    If you try to force your teen to abandon a ridiculous hairstyle, he or she will likely become more determined to keep it. The more you say, the more rebellious the style becomes.

Last Updated: June 27, 2014