Laughter is the best medicine. As a general rule, jokes are only amusing if everyone involved laughs. Playing a prank is fine until it does not hurt anyone’s sentiments. So while playing a prank, always think before acting it out.
I have two daughters, Essie Mae, 6, and Dolly, 10. Dolly has become really interested in pulling jokes on people. For the most part, this has been a non-issue. We had the whole ‘it’s only okay if it makes EVERYONE laugh, not just you’ talk, and her jokes were innocent (ex: switching out her & her sister’s identical pair of boots to make Essie Mae think her shoes grew overnight). That is, until Dolly hacked off a huge hunk of Essie Mae’s (mid-back length) hair while she was sleeping, right at the scalp.
Dolly showed no remorse for this. I’m a hairdresser, and tried everything I could to see if I could camouflage the bald spot, but it was such a big patch that we had no choice but to buzz the rest of Essie Mae’s hair off. Essie Mae reasonably was distraught and sobbed for days and refused to leave the house. My husband and I agreed that Dolly knew exactly what she was doing and did it specifically to be cruel to Essie Mae.
We told Dolly that since she took so much away from Essie Mae, it was only fair she had something of equal value taken away. We told her that she could choose to either have her iPad, computer, T.V., and American Girl Doll privileges taken away until Essie Mae’s hair grew to around pixie cut length or she could get a large portion of her hair (which was past her butt) cut off. Dolly reluctantly chose to cut her hair. I sat her down in front of the mirror and told her that since she was so okay with cutting her sister’s hair, she’d be the one cutting her hair, too.
She started screaming and crying and saying she couldn’t do that to herself, so I brought up that the other option for punishment was still available. She bawled her eyes out the entire time while she cut her hair off, and ended up with a chin-length bob. I evened it out for her, of course. She sobbed for hours afterward, and a friend told me I may have been too harsh. Did I go too far here? Please don’t be afraid to criticize. Thank you for your time in advance. Here are a few comments on the story where it was originally posted: