A mom let her 5-year-old get her hair bleached and was criticized online. But experts say following kids’ lead can build trust.

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Megan Ledet, LCSW, says allowing your child to experiment with their hair is a great way to build mutual respect and trust in an article with Insider. When a mom posted a TikTok of her 5-year-old daughter getting her hair bleached at a salon, the clip went viral, but the response was less than positive. The clip went viral with over 18 million views, many of which criticized the decision to allow a young girl to get her hair bleached.

Demi Lucy May Engemann, the mother, posted a response that the reason they bleached her hair was because her daughter wanted pink hair like her classmates, and in order to achieve pink, the hair needed to be bleached. Critics on TikTok remained. However, the decision should be made between the parent and child, in conjunction with the advice of a pediatrician and stylist, according to Megan Ledet, Vice President of Adolescent Services at Lightfully Behavioral Health.

Trisch Hutchison, a pediatrician, pointed out that refusing to consider a child’s request can damage the parents’ relationship with their kids, especially if they’re older. “Always avoid a hard no, and take your emotions out of the conversation.” Instead, focus on why they want to change their outward appearance.

Englemann has since posted videos of her daughter, Maude, looking confident in her new hairstyle.

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