Selena Gomez really does have it all. She can sing. She can act. And a picture she threw up on Twitter this week of her new hairstyle -- purple and blue locks -- is the perfect example of healthy self-expression moms are always looking to share with their teens. I hope her mom is proud of it.
I can't put it any plainer than this: I'd rather my kid be hiding out in the bathroom dyeing her hair purple than shooting up in an alley somewhere. And yet, what's the first thing they tell you is the sign of a troubled teenager?
Major changes, right? I think every list I've seen at the pediatrician's office or in the school guidance counselor's office warns parents to be on high alert if their kid's style takes a sudden, drastic change. Because, OMG, your kids could be on drugs! Call in the dogs! Turn their dresser drawers inside out! Put them on lockdown!
Or, you know, you could just ask them what prompted a purple dye job. Crazy, huh? Actually talking to your teenager? Funny thing is, it's so crazy, it just might make you feel better.
My Gomez-adoring daughter may think I'm older than dirt, but I still have at least a smattering of memories of my teen years. And that includes the day I skipped a National Honor Society meeting to let a pal shave my head during my senior year. It was not exactly my parents' favorite of all my looks, but it wasn't the rebellious, anti-authority, headed down a path of self-destruction move that the parenting books warn you about. I was just sick of frizzy, mousey-colored hair that I couldn't do much with. And I wanted to make a statement. That was it.
I'm willing to bet that for every kid who does a 180 on the style front because they're walking a troubled road, at least two more are just looking for the same thing Gomez alluded to in her Twitter status: a change. They say people change every seven years -- friends cycle out, the cells in our body replace themselves, etc. And even this math-challenged writer knows you've been through two seven-year cycles by the time you hit the mid-teen years. They're just aching for a change. So let's give it to them!
Instead of rooting out self-expression like your perfect kid is fighting some disease, parents (like Gomez' mom) should be celebrating. Your kid isn't a boring dud who can't grow! And choosing a route as easily adjustable as fashion and style to make that change is just about as safe as it can get.
Hair can be cut. Hair grows back. New clothes can be bought. Old clothes can be sent to goodwill.
If being a teenager is about growing from child into adult, being a parent is about letting your teenager figure out who they are. If that means rocking purple and blue streaks a la Selena Gomez, great! At least you know they're in the hairstylist's chair ... not underneath the bleachers.
Have your kids made some major changes that made you step back and wonder, "Where did that come from?"
Image via Splash News