Help for Hair Pulling Children and Teens: A Visit to the Hairdresser
by Abby Leora Rohrer
A visit to a hair stylist is one of the events that challenge a hair puller the most. Whether or not your child is directly confronted with questions about her lack of eyebrows, eyelashes or bald spots, most sit through the experience frozen and terrified, ready to run out the door at a moment's notice. That is definitely how I felt. If the stylist said anything to me about my bald patches, I'd lie like crazy and never return. Talk about mortifying!
“I pull my eyelashes and eyebrows so I hate going to the dentist, the optometrist and the hairdresser. Anytime someone has to get close to my face is awful for me.” --Monica, 17 year-old hair puller
It’s unfortunate that hair stylists do not realize how daunting and public a place a salon can be for those in a sensitive situation. Often, there is no place to go to have a private conversation. Everything must be aired in public.
There is no need for your child to feel so uncomfortable anymore. I've written a note that she can copy to give to her hairdresser. She can produce this when she arrives at the appointment or drop off in advance of the visit. Or if she’d rather speak directly to her stylist, the wording of this template may give her some ideas about how she might want to phrase things.
If your child is 12 or older, I recommend that you encourage her to handle this situation herself. If she is under 12, you can handle it for her until she becomes old enough to handle it herself.
Here are two sample templates to assist you both to communicate with her hairdresser about Trichotillomania and how to best interact with clients who are dealing with compulsive hair pulling.
Template for Hair Pullers Over Age Twelve
Template for Parents of Those Under Age Twelve
You may also wish to print out a copy of an article written just for hair professionals to provide with your note so that your stylist can become more familiar with trichotillomania and the issues surrounding it. You can find it by clicking here: www.pullfreeatlast.com/articles/hairdressersjournal.pdf
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