The criticism of 10-year-old singer Willow Smith that just won't die: She's way "too grown." (She has a trendy haircut! She dresses like a 16-year-old! What will become of her?)
Since she's just a child, everyone (from Terry McMillan to armchair-parenting experts weighing in via comments sections all over the Internet) wants to blame Will and Jada for the image-induced damage they think the kid is bound to suffer.
But Mom's not buying into the panic.
Jada Pinkett Smith says she thinks giving Willow and her 12-year-old brother, actor Jaden Smith, freedom to express their creativity and make their own choices is good for them.
She told Closer magazine: "I see my children as little people, not necessarily people to control. You've got to help them develop and become individuals. You have to find out who they are but enforce boundaries to keep them safe," adding, "She's simply being creative. I'm not worried about her growing up too soon."
Jada said she loves being a mother and has found it easier to put family before work as she's gotten older, explaining, "I'm very clear about what my priority is and that's my family. I used to struggle juggling work and family at the beginning … But now I'm turning 40, I've found a peaceful compromise. I feel very content."
Jada could have made an even stronger argument: Just because Willow's popping up on our TV and computer screens doesn't mean we need to make her into a problem. She's never sexualized or overly made up. Plenty of kids her age really are growing up too soon: whether by dodging gang violence on the way to school, or parading around in Abercrombie's controversial new push-up bikini. Taken in context, it seems a bit absurd that there's actual hand-wringing going on over a talented, healthy and confident young star's fully clothed fashion sensibilities.
But maybe Jada's approach was more effective. In just a few sentences, she conveyed that Willow has thoughtful, engaged parents who are confident in their approach to her development. And as a result of that, more than anything to do with her hair and wardrobe choices, she'll be just fine.
Read more at Contactmusic.