Dad Shaves Daughter's Head as Punishment for Bullying a Teen With Cancer

This Dad turned to Reddit to ask if he made the right parenting decision. It's safe to say he doesn't have a fan club on the internet right now.

An image of razor blades.
Photo: Getty Images.

The Internet seems to always be angry about something. From rude, mom-shaming flight attendants to teachers crashing birthday parties before they even start, there's just a lot to rage about, apparently.

Well, here's something else: A Reddit Dad recently punished his daughter—by shaving her head. The teen's mom, his ex-wife, was extremely upset about it, but he thinks he had a good reason. He asked Reddit to settle the score.

"My ex-wife and I have a 16-year-old daughter," u/MasterOfGamepipoca posted in the AITA subreddit. "I have the guard. I mention this because what I did and what I will report here, I did without consulting my ex."

It's worth pointing out that experts suggest parents get and stay on the same page about discipline after a divorce, so a child has consistency. Back to the specific problem at hand, though. Recently, the 16-year-old had an issue with another teen girl at school.

"She bullied a student who had lost her hair because of cancer treatment," Dad continued. "My daughter even removed the wig from another girl."

Honestly, that sounds heartbreaking and terrible. Apparently, it was over a fight about a boy, which isn't an excuse for the daughter's behavior. But is there an excuse for what happened next, either?

"I didn't raise my daughter to treat people the way she did, and I was disgusted by her attitude," Dad said. "To make matters worse, my daughter showed no remorse about what she did and stated that the girl in question deserved it….So, I gave my daughter two options as punishment: I would [take] all her electronics, including her cell phone, and she would never have others again, or she would go to a hairdresser and have her head shaved."

Judging from the title, "AITA for shaving my daughter's hair for bullying a girl with cancer?," it appears the teen chose the latter. Dad wants to know if he was right. The post received 165 comments. TL;DR: Most of them were not there to tell Dad what he wanted to hear.

"Not good parenting, and that's for sure," one top—and rather blunt—Redditor responded. "Kids don't become cancer patient bullies out of thin air. Think about your past role as a father as well," another said.

"She screwed up, and you can't think of any other way to parent than to physically humiliate her?" said someone else.

But one Redditor did have a potentially better idea for how Dad could have handled the situation, and it's considerably more constructive and less humiliating.

"Why don't you get her [to] volunteer at a cancer ward, especially the children's ward? This may help her empathize," they commented.

We often focus on how to help your child if they are the ones being bullied, but what if they're doing the bullying? Experts have some ideas, and they don't involve head shaving.

  • Acknowledge what's going on. If you've learned your child is bullying, either from a school official or another parent, take the time to hear your kid out. Ask them what happened and why, and let them tell their story. Make sure they know they can feel safe owning up to their mistake.
  • Ask questions. Ask your child whether they think what they did was respectful, if they think they hurt the other person, and whether they would want the same done to them. These questions can help them think about the situation from someone else's perspective and empathize.
  • Find lessons. People make mistakes, and it's important for your child to recognize the harms of bullying. But it's also essential they learn from it and move forward. Help them develop solutions for how they can handle certain situations better in the future.
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