Oh Zoey, I’m just so sorry someone did that to you

Well, this sucks. A lot. Poor Zoey is pretty upset about what happened and I don’t blame her one single bit. I mean usually I’m the first one to tell my kids to buck up and shake it off and make lemonade and shit, but this time it’s harder. Lemme start at the beginning.

So Zoey came home from school on Tuesday and was walking through the kitchen when I noticed something.

ME: Zoey, what happened to your hair?

ZOEY: What?

ME: Did you cut it?

ZOEY: (panic) WHAT?!!!

Based on her reaction I immediately realized she had no idea what I was talking about. And I kinda doubted Zoey would cut it herself since she learned that lesson a long time ago. Anyone remember when she did this when she was four?

So I knew she probably didn’t cut it herself this time. I could see she was starting to freak out.

ZOEY: What’s wrong with my hair?!

ME: Ummm, it just looks like a little chunk of your hair was, uhhh, cut in the back.

I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because I didn’t want to upset her, and to be honest I was trying to hide that I was freaking out a little. I mean it was a pretty good chunk. Probably about 50 or more hairs were cut in a straight line  about an inch from her scalp right around where a high ponytail would be. And it was sticking up like Alfalfa. I would show you what it looks like but there’s no way in hell I was going to make her upset by taking a picture of it.

ZOEY: I don’t want to have short hair!! I like my hair!!!

ME: It’s not short, honey. It’s just one tiny little place. I promise. Can you think of how your hair might have gotten cut?

ZOEY: No.

ME: Were you guys using scissors at school today?

ZOEY: Yes. But who cut it? Who would do something so mean?

ME: I don’t know, honey.

And for the rest of the afternoon, Zoey had this sad look on her face. And I was sad for her. Luckily I was able to part her hair on the other side and brush it over the section to hide it, but that didn’t turn her frown upside down. Because her sadness was less about worrying how her hair looks and more about feeling violated by one of her friends. There are only eighteen kids in her class and she really thinks of each one of them as a friend. No enemies. No girl drama. Eighteen friends.

Of course I immediately reached out to her teacher and we talked about it a lot. She had no idea who would have done that, and she even drove back to the school that evening to look for any clues before the custodian cleaned. Nothing.

And the next morning Zoey was still thinking about it.

ZOEY: Mom, did they find out who did it?

I can’t blame her. I’d want to know the same thing.

ME: No honey. We might not ever know.

ZOEY: I just want to know why they did it.

ME: I know WHY they did it.

ZOEY: You do?! Why??? 

ME: Because they’re hurting in here (I pat my chest). Zoey, I want you to listen to me carefully right now. I know you feel embarrassed, but this is not about YOU. This is about them. This is about someone else feeling so bad on the inside that they did something bad to you.

And she sat there for a moment thinking about it.

ZOEY: I feel sorry for them.

Yup, that’s when I knew she got it. She GOT it. People who do bad things usually do it because they feel bad on the inside.

And I think it made her feel better. I mean she didn’t start smiling on the spot or anything, but she finished getting ready for school, brushed her hair like nothing was wrong, and was laughing by the time she headed out the door. And she hasn’t mentioned it since.

She’ll probably never learn who cut her hair, but I kinda think she learned something more important this week. That even if you’re nice to everyone, someone might still be so angry that they take their pain out on you. And it sucks. Whether it’s a kid with a scissors or a kid with something else. But all we can do is keep being nice, keep smiling, keep trying to help other people, and keep hoping it’s enough.

If you like this, please don’t forget to like and share it. Thank you!! 




There are 49 comments for this article
  1. Laurie Lewis at 7:58 pm

    Just throwing this out here as a possibility. I had a similar issue with my 13 y.o. She didn’t cut it, nobody else snipped it. She was constantly putting her hair in either a bun or a high pony in the exact same spot so the hair literally broke. She too looked like Alfalfa for a bit and it’s finally blending naturally into the rest of her hair.

  2. Erin at 7:58 pm

    Good lesson…. but that doesn’t make it okay for anyone to every lay hamds on you or your property…. this is totally about her… and her attacker… the person who did this needs to learn better ways of expresion, and Zoey needs to understand that, while forgiveness is devine, it is also okay to not be okay with some one violating you in any form or fashion.

    • Jan at 8:46 pm

      I agree with this post. I think it is a fantastic lesson instilled on Zoey (and I agree, it had nothing to do with Zoey, but with the child that cut her hair), but the other important lesson is that we are still responsible for our actions even if we are hurting on the inside. Just because we feel a certain way doesn’t make it ok to violate others because of the pain.

  3. Megan at 8:00 pm

    What a shitty thing to happen to her. I’m going through my very sensitive 5yr old being bullied….like what? They are 5…how are they bullies already. My son is big, crazy tall and lanky for his age, super sensitive and has a pretty severe speech impediment. The mean words also…they harass him for being adopted..how his real family didnt want him. J is incredibly proud of his story, he knows and has a loving relationship with his birth mom. I am devastated that he now questions their bond. At 5 these are not questions he should be asking…why was he unloved? No sweetheart she loved you the most. He is being pushed down and spit on almost daily by these two boys. They pick on everyone but because they love J’s reaction the most they zero in on him. I’m struggling in the balance of where do i step in? When do I go all psycho momma bear on all of the parties involved?
    Heartbreaking.

    • Helen at 8:29 pm

      Megan, how horrible for this to be happening to your son! It breaks my heart. Whether he is in daycare or kindergarten, no school should tolerate this type of behaviour. And if they do, (my own personal opinion;) maybe you should start looking for another school for your baby. It can’t be easy for you or him. I wish you luck with resolving this and lots of strength mama.

      • Concerned Teacher at 10:09 pm

        I agree, if this is what is happening, the principal should be informed. I ask one thing of the commenters out there, hold off on trashing the teacher. You don’t know and will never hear the whole story because teachers aren’t allowed to say anything. I had an issue with a student in my class. I did EVERYTHING I could to stop this student’s inappropriate behavior. We are talking 26 refferals in 4 months, trying to work with the parent who doesn’t feel anything needs to be done, going to football games to hopefully build a friendship and trust with the student, discipline measures, positive reinforcement at every chance, time with our counselor and a high school mentor. Nothing has changed. I finally had to just try my best to keep him away from the others so they wouldn’t be harrassed. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of learning in my class because this student took most of my time. When the student was sent to the office he was just put right back in my room to do it again. He was eventually removed from my room and placed in a different class. The same thing is happening there and 3 months later the new teacher is crying because she is just as frustrated as I was. We try so hard but, we really get no help nowadays. You will get more results going to the higher ups than we ever would. Just remember, the teacher can’t say anything to you about what she has tried to do because of privacy laws. So, please, focus on the guilty student or students and demand something be done about them, unless you are absolutely sure the teacher did nothing.
        Thank you,
        A very hard working teacher who really cares and is doing her best.

        • Rochelle Harvey at 8:29 am

          Thank you SO much for that detailed description of what we have to go through sometimes!!
          Everyone is so quick to blame the school/teacher without knowing there are LAWS in place that protect these bullies and keep them in class/school, despite the effect it has on the rest of the children! We find it equally frustrating and disheartening as we are entrusted with the care of all children, and our hands are tied.
          -A fellow caring teacher, doing her best

    • Cathy at 6:05 pm

      Oh Megan, my heart just broke for you and your sweet boy! Please seek help from the principal first and if that doesn’t work by school superintendent. Our schools have a zero tolerance for bullying, I’ll bet yours does too. 5 years old!! They’re just babies! Where do they learn so much about intolerance and hatred so young? I hope all goes well for you and your son, and the bullies are taken care of now.

  4. Cheryl at 8:08 pm

    You handled it perfectly. So sad someone would do that and even though inside I’d want to kill the kid (or shave them bald) I’d hope is hanske it as eloquently as you did. Nice job mom!!!

  5. Katherine Codella at 8:26 pm

    Wow! You are amazing! What a great lesson to give to Zoey! You are doing things so right and your kids are amazing

  6. Karene Gibb at 9:01 pm

    I love what you told her. My son is 12 and he is a quirky kid who has a learning disability. Most kids are great with him but he has had one child in particular bully him for a couple of years. I told him that while some kids are just a$$holes most of the time it is because they are hurting for reasons we don’t know, and they don’t know how to express that. They may live in a home where they are bullied, don’t feel loved or don’t feel safe.

  7. Amelia Rebolo at 9:07 pm

    I like the way you handles this, I don’t know how I will handle it if it ever happens in my house, but there are still other lessons to be learned such as the fact that hurting on the inside doesn’t give you the right to hurt other. Of course it might be impossible to ever find out who did it but these are followup discussions that should be had in class by the teacher. Children should not have to feel it acceptable to be violated because the one who violated them is hurting on the inside. Of course it’s a challenging issue, and I am not criticising you but providing anotger perspective that you may want to discuss with the teacher.

  8. Raye at 9:42 pm

    You and Zoey handled this so well, and with such grace. It’s never OK for someone to alter someone else’s body without permission. But, just to put out a different perspective, the kid who did this to her might not have had malicious intent or some sort of misplaced emotional pain. He or she may have just done something stupid on a whim or out of curiosity without thinking much about it. Sometimes kids (even wonderful, sweet, sensitive, smart kids who never get in trouble) just do dumb stuff because they’re kids and their brains are still developing. I was a model student as a kid and yet in second grade (so I was 7 or 8 and totally was old enough to know better) I kicked a chair out from underneath a classmate as he went to sit down. He was the class clown and was always doing crazy antics and I totally thought it would be funny and he would think it was hilarious. I’m 36 and I still remember my teacher taking me out into the hallway and chewing me out. I felt terrible. I didn’t have any clue before I did it that he could get hurt because I didn’t think it through. I just came up with the idea and then did it. Anyhow, just food for thought. You and Zoey keep rocking on with your bad selves! 🙂😘❤️👊🤘

  9. Susana Burgess at 10:29 pm

    Love your story Raye. My son is a sweet loving funny 7 year old who this week pulled his pants down and peed on the floor in his room. WHYYYY I asked? Panic in his face and I could only tell he thought nothing about it, just did it… Just a dumb idea for no reason… while playing… and proudly called his sister to see it, who came running to tell me… BUT on Zoey’s case… I am amazed that she had the self-control not to go bananas! Maybe it is a lesson for me…

  10. Sara at 10:45 pm

    I’m so sorry that this happened to Zoey. I’m grateful that you were able to respond in a calm and loving way that helped her to understand that it wasn’t about her. And so lovely that she could be so empathetic. Such a special kiddo. Nice job, Mama.

  11. barbarabcg (a grandmother who loves that her granddaughter lives nearby!) at 2:12 am

    Great response and love the comments here, too. Recently, my granddaughter came home on the bus and told me she had gotten hit in the head with a basketball a boy threw after the kids were to line up to come inside from recess. She’s 6, in 1st grade. I drew her out a bit and it turns out this boy does (well, did) this every day because no teachers or monitors were there where the kids line up when they’re being good. So, her mom and I talked and I wrote a note to her teacher telling her what my granddaughter had said. The young one was correct: no one was on that part of the playground so no one knew he was doing it. He doesn’t do it anymore, so now, no one else will get hurt by him. So, in this case, the teacher was able to get it resolved and my grand was also glad no one else would get hurt, too… and she wasn’t the first to get hurt…

  12. Rosemary Perry at 5:28 am

    You gave Zoey a real life lesson. What a mean thing to do and if I were her teacher, I would get to the bottom of it and talk to the perp myself!

  13. Js at 7:15 am

    This happened to me in 4th grade. While I was facing the backboard a girl behind me stuck pieces of tape in my hair and cut a section. They found the hair in her desk. It wasn’t even really noticeable but I felt so humiliated. I’m glad you were there for your daughter and that’s she’s been able to take your words to heart. There is sometimes nothing to be done but hold your head up and move forward and resolve that you want to be a good person anyway, despite others, because that’s who you want to be.

  14. Erin at 8:08 am

    Does she take the bus? Maybe it happened there and not in the classroom. This is awful but you made lemons out of the lemonade. Great lesson in compassion.

  15. Jodi Pollack at 9:06 am

    Honestly, it could have been a kid who was being mean or it could have just been a kid who was curious. Kids do things for all kinds of reasons, I think this article is injecting adult emotions and assumptions into the situation, and is over reaching and over thinking just bit.

    I think it’s wise not to assume anything. I’m sorry but I don’t agree with the assumptions made in this article.

  16. Stephanie Monette at 9:44 am

    Dear sweet Zoey, so sorry that someone hurt your feelings (and your hair!). Your mom is right; that person is hurting so wanted to hurt you.

    I love the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.
    This book really helped my little one when they were getting picked on.

    chin up strong girl!!

  17. Ashlee R. at 10:30 am

    This post means so much to me for many reasons. My son (9, third grade) has a personality similar to Zoey’s. He’s always the nice kid, helping those around him, being kind to kids who need a friend, stands up for those being picked on, etc. We’ve had MAJOR problems this year with a few meanies that continually try to tear him down. It’s heartbreaking to hear about, much less watch (I teach third grade across the hall from his class). We’ve tried everything to help him through it-similar to what you did in sweet Zoey’s situation. We’ve even told him to stand up for himself, but he always responds with, “But I’m the nice kid! I don’t want anyone to think I’m mean to people.” It’s slowly gotten better and we couldn’t be prouder of the young man he’s growing into. Thank you so much for posting this and for helping other parents to feel less alone in this parenting game! It’s tough work, but the most rewarding and precious thing I’ve ever done. 🙂 Also, I’m going to let my boy read this post, too. He will GET it as well. 😉 Thank you again, the world needs more people like you and your family. 🙂

  18. Lahna Finstad at 11:41 am

    Understanding that what others do is often a reflection of them and not ourselves… POWERFUL!!! Thanks for being a voice! And sharing your stories.

  19. Colleen Verruto at 12:59 pm

    I think that the teacher should get to the bottom of it immediately.. not acceptable kids need to learn consequences or they will keep doing these sort of things. I’m a little sad for Zoe that she is not being protected by the teacher. Who are they trying to protect? Silly if your worried about making waves.

  20. Meghan Schuler at 7:06 pm

    You handled that a lot better than I would have. I am going to think about what you said to her if something like this ever happens to my daughter. She’s a special girl your daughter.

  21. Sherry B at 3:52 am

    “This is about someone else feeling so bad on the inside that they did something bad to you.” Perfectly said by a smart mama & understood by a sweet young daughter. 💕

  22. Jessica at 9:37 am

    I love this! I tell my kids the exact same thing! I heard on the radio that other day about an anti bullying law that fines parents in New York. Kids who bully tend to have parents that are absent or not involved, don’t provide the emotional support their kiddo needs, the list goes on. There are so many reasons, but ultimately parents have some power to help put a stop to bullying. If such parents don’t take the steps to end the behavior, the law will help. Parents are to stand before a judge and a $500 fine is given. I love the idea and hope someday there is a better system for it. Your daughter is amazing! Good for her. Whoever cut her hair, saw that it didn’t even phase her, and that’s so powerful! You rock Zoey!

  23. chrissi at 2:21 pm

    I am going to share this with my 11 year old…she has been having the worst time this year. And I tell her the same thing…when ppl are crappy to you, its because they are diverting the attention elsewhere. The way she has been treated all year has been unfair & just mean. I am all for learning life lessons and sticking up for yourself and all that but I can’t help but feel badly for her with all the emotional & mental bullying mean girl BS! I’m sorry that happened to your little girl…its not ok. But I love the way you handled it and for her to grasp the concept of why that happened is only going to serve her better in the future! Good job mama!

  24. Tela at 11:37 pm

    What a sweet girl you have! And what a good mama to put it to her that way. I would have done the same thing myself. And what a sweet story. Thank you for sharing.

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