Admit it: you would have killed to have parents like Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith when you were 13. I know I would have saved myself a lot of humiliation and the trouble of telling lies my parents never believed anyway just so I could go do something stupid that I shouldn't have been doing in the first place. Well, Willow Smith has no such concerns.
The ridiculously hip -- as in waaaay too hip for someone barely out of her tweens -- daughter of the coolest parents ever was recently photographed hanging out on her bed with actor Moises Arias. Oh yeah, Moises is 20 and isn't wearing a shirt. Sounds a lot like what you were doing at 13, right?!
Here's the picture causing so much controversy:
Willow is often criticized for dressing and acting a lot older than her age. Her closest friends include Kendall Jenner, who's 18, and 16-year-old sis Kylie. Now I'm sure things have changed since a billion years ago when I was 13, but I was still passing notes in junior high and giggling like a goof at the very thought of boys -- any boy. We wore T-shirts on the beach and I would have absolutely died if a guy seven years older wanted to shoot the breeze with me. On my bed. With his shirt off.
Let me rephrase that: my mom and dad would have killed me -- and him -- first, before I had the option of dying without their help.
Look, I know this photo is mostly innocent. And I am sure there is nothing going on between these two -- rumor has it he's a good friend of Willow's older brother Jaden. But it implies something that isn't okay. A 13-year-old has no business hanging out with 18-, 19-, or 20-year-old kids/men/whatever. What do they have in common to chat about? One is still scribbling on notebooks in eighth grade while the other is legally allowed to vote, pay taxes, and drive a car.
As someone who didn't listen to my own parents' advice and dated older guys (at 17, not 13), I can assure you the more you insist your teen daughter adhere to your dating rules, the more she'll do whatever it takes to get around them. The best way to handle it is with honesty and understanding. It makes perfect sense why she wants to hang around older guys who have it more together than boys her own age -- but what on Earth is he getting from such a relationship?
Heaven help me, but when my daughter becomes a teen, I plan on sharing with her my own experiences. They involved moments when I felt left out of conversations with an older boyfriend's friends, or jealous because I couldn't go on a weekend ski trip and other girls -- women -- his age would be there looking cute in snow bunny gear.
Teens, and especially young teens like Willow, have a lot to lose and little to gain from hanging out with much older people.
Do you think it's okay for young teens to be friends with or date people a lot older than them?