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Why Willow Smith’s Bald Head Shouldn’t Offend You

Willow Smith, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s precocious 11-year-old daughter, started a viral riot when she tweeted pictures of her near-bald shaven head.

Admittedly, I was alarmed, but not offended or assumed she was mentally tormented as to alert Child Protective Services, but I did question if Willow was ‘acting out’.

Typically people, children and adults, act out when an appropriate outlet has yet to be apportioned to particular life struggles, thus having inopportune knee-jerk reactions.

Then I quickly checked myself. Acting out? This free-spirited, immoderately confident, chock full of sass little pre-teen acting out? Not likely. Not impossible, but not likely.

Will and Jada have forever expressed (not that it’s our business) how they allow their three (Willow and Jaden together and Trey from Will’s first marriage) children to aid in the decision-making process of their own individual needs and wants. Though this isn’t prevalent for many families (definitely wasn’t for mine), the Smiths may have it right.

Parents allowing children a voice along with parental guidance begets confidence through the child trusting their ability to decide and understanding why they chose a specific decision to begin with. If parents make all the decisions for children until they leave for college, then why are children expected to have great decision-making skills based on age alone? They gain no practice in knowing how.

We use rationale based on our sometime skewed perspectives, so having a say as a child in any decision-making process (benefitting me or not) was unheard of. Hands down, if I was told to do something, it was done. Opinions weren’t asked for and I dared not offer.

So, when I saw a seemingly healthy 11-year-old girl (famous or not) with a near bald head, my nostalgic upbringing ushered in the outdated thinking that she must be acting out.

How crazy is that ideology? While it is true that women have tendencies to revamp their looks or punish their hair through maniacal means in a way of lashing out, there are incidents where hair is just hair for some women, hence they are fine with shaving their domes.

It has been reported that Willow chopped her hair off to stand in solidarity with her friend, Hayley Okines, who suffers from Progeria—a rare genetic disorder that causes rapid aging and accelerated hair loss.

How cool is that if true?

While I think it’s humbling and beautiful if Willow chose to go bald to honor her friend’s struggle, I want a greater lesson to reverberate:   everyone isn’t stuck in the yesteryear of thinking that there is a standard way of looking or a standard way of raising children.

I think allowing our children voices instead of “roboticizing” their thoughts is what would continue to move our generation along—in the right direction. Given Willow Smith’s bold decision   – will you preempt or relinquish your children’s voices?

By Deidre White

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