Photo credit: www.transformedblog.com
The situation: The mother wants her ten year old daughter to get all her relaxed hair chopped off. (i.e. Big chop) But the pre-teen only wants a trim and is afraid of peer pressure at school that she may encounter from having a "boy haircut."
The challenge: The mother is telling me in a private conversation that she told the daughter that she was coming to the salon for a trim only, but she, the mother, wants me "to big chop" it.
My psychological resolution: As you can see, I was completely thrown in the middle of this mother/daughter disagreement. The mother was paying the bill, but the pre-teen clearly trusted her mother when she was told that she was coming to the hairdresser for a trim only. Luckily, I gave the little girl a short haircut that both she and her mom both could live with. It was a compromise.
My ethical dilemma: I was in control of the shears and cutting the whole time. I could have just performed the big chop as requested by the mother and traumatized the young lady for the rest of her life. She probably would hate me, her mom, and all future hairdressers from that day forward if I had cut all of her hair off. She was shoulder length relaxed with only about three months of new growth at the roots. I couldn't do it. I could see in this child's eyes that the big chop would be the ultimate betrayal, and I would not be able to live with myself if this child endured this nightmare at my hand. I also could not betray the mom and tell the preteen that her mom told me to do so. I was in a horrible position. I thank God that He revealed to me a compromise to this dilemma. I also told the mom that if this new short haircut did not work, then I will perform the big chop for free on the next visit. That way, the mother did not feel like she was going to pay twice for what she asked me to do on the first visit.
Further confirmation: I discussed this scenario with a client who is a dentist. She said that she has encountered the same situation where the parent tells the child that they are going to get a tooth filled but is secretly telling her to extract the child's tooth out. (i.e. pull the tooth in lieu of filling it) She agreed that she refuses to be put in the middle of the parent and child. Granted, the child may not being paying the bill, but it is a heavy load to intentionally betray anyone especially a child.