Long Hair on Toddler Boys – Do or Don’t?

a little boy with long hair dressed in blue

I was at the park yesterday, hanging with a couple of moms around the sandbox, when one of the moms turned to another and said, “How old is your little girl.”

“Two. And he’s a boy,” she said, as she rolled her eyes, took her son by the hand and walked away.

The other mom and I just stood there. Looking at each other.

It was an honest mistake. The little boy, whom the woman mistook for a girl, had very long hair. In fact, his hair was longer than either one of my daughters’. Plus, he was dressed in neutral clothing. Anyone could have made the same mistake.

I first want to note that I like long hair on little boys and if I had a son, I would probably grow his hair out too. So I have no issue with long hair on little boys. I think it’s cute.

But if you grow your toddler boy’s hair out, isn’t it just a fact of life that he will sometimes be mistaken for a girl? Should mistaking a long-haired boy for a long-haired girl be offensive to the mother of the child? If so, why?

First, most toddlers look fairly gender-neutral. If you put them all in white T-shirts and jeans, it would be really hard to tell which were boys and which were girls. Plus, isn’t it safe to say that MOST children with long hair tend to be females? I’m not saying it’s wrong or right, but most of the time, when a child has long hair, they are a girl.

The father of my children and I both have gender neutral names. I can’t tell you how many times we have had our mail addressed to the wrong Mr. and Mrs. or how many times a telemarketer has asked for the wrong person. And did either one of us throw a fit? No. It’s only natural to make assumptions, especially when the information you have seemingly leads you down the wrong path.


So why was the mom so offended? Maybe she’s tired of having to always correct people. Maybe she felt judged. Or maybe she was just a little short on sleep that day.

What do you think, moms? Do you like long hair on boys and should the mothers of long-haired boys be offended when strangers guess their gender incorrectly?