Willow Smith recently got a tongue lashing from fans when she uploaded a photo to Instagram. The photo causing tongues to wag? 11 year old Willow Smith shared a photo of herself with friend Bobbie Debarge wearing a tongue ring.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have often said that they are comfortable with their daughter expressing herself with her fashion and hair choices. Raising an opinionated, fun-loving, brave and curious daughter myself I get it. But I will admit I may have also had to get up off the floor at first glance if I saw my pre-teen with a tongue ring.
Before we get all in a tizzy, Willow later commented that “it’s fake!”. So now I can insert my own tongue and actually breathe. Why all of the concern over this type of body art? Certainly her age and maturity in making a decision like this plays a role. Hair length, color and makeup are all temporary fun ways of expressing yourself in the moment. But when it goes beyond that it can have lasting effects on your opportunities and the person you become. For better or for worse.
We often look to people we know and can identify with as examples. Celebrities are the new role models and teachers. Some stars like Mark Wahlberg are undergoing painful procedures to remove some of the body art that they choose as teens. Mark Wahlberg said that he is bringing his kids with him to his doctor appointments where he is having several tattoos removed so that they can see the consequence of his choice. He feels that some of the tattoos no longer fit his lifestyle as a father and movie star.
Her 11 year old self is certainly a pre-teen who is entitled to some self-expression and discovery. But truth is she influences a lot of her peers with her choices. Listening her speak you are taken by the actual maturity that she possesses at such a young age. But she is still a kid and some boundaries should be set as they are for us all regardless of age.
Will Smith’s approach to parenting his young daughter was captured when he recently spoke to the press. “When you have a little girl, it’s like how can you teach her that you’re in control of her body? If I teach her that I’m in charge of whether or not she can touch her hair, she’s going to replace me with some other man when she goes out in the world,” “She is used to making those decisions herself. We try to keep giving them those decisions until they can hold the full weight of their lives.”