When my eldest kid was three, we went to聽Target to buy聽him new shoes. He wanted a聽purple and pink pair but, worried that people would tease my little boy for his 鈥済irly鈥 colored footwear, I told him he should probably just get聽a pair of sensible聽navy blue and white ones. That night while he slept, I guiltily聽went back to Target and exchanged the boring blue ones for the colorful ones he wanted. When he saw the shoes the next morning, he showered me with kisses. Those shoes have become a staple with our kids, having gone happily through my eldest and my middle guy.

My husband and I have聽always tried really hard to let our kids make decisions for themselves (within reason, obvs), but sometimes, even while we try to remain enlightened modern folks, we can hold our kids back with what we think is the more sensible option. Which聽is why my husband and I decided to let our five-year-old kindergartner bleach his hair and dye it neon green.

I know you鈥檙e probably thinking 鈥淲HAT??!鈥 Let me explain.

Over the summer, my son and I were picking up a few necessities at the drug store when we happened upon a hair color display featuring Jared Leto and Margot Robbie as their聽Suicide Squad characters The Joker聽and Harley Quinn. As soon as he realized that green Joker-hair was something REAL LIFE PEOPLE could have, he聽was insistent: He wanted hair that was green like the Joker鈥檚 too.

I told my son聽that we鈥檇 discuss with his dad before making the purchase, figuring that he鈥檇 forget before we even left the store. He didn鈥檛.

When we did ask my husband, his immediate reaction was NO WAY! 鈥淏leach hurts and I don鈥檛 want you to hurt yourself,鈥 he told our son. Like it or not, when I heard those words I knew that we would not be making the right decision if聽our聽answer was no.

We hear the words 鈥渘atural consequence鈥 鈥 like a sore scalp from bleach 鈥 and immediately think of the negative things that happen when kids make bad choices. But sometimes, letting a kid own the natural consequence of his or her actions is necessary to build聽self-esteem.聽聽A big part of self-esteem聽is the ability to have control over our bodies so that we know what鈥檚 best for us.

Firstborn kids tend to be at the mercy of new parent nerves, and my husband and I have definitely fallen into the trap of聽constantly trying to protect our eldest聽from every possible uncomfortable situation he may encounter. As a result, our once boisterous聽dude聽is growing into聽a frequently anxious kid who is unsure of his own ability. So, we鈥檝e used his desire for green hair to his advantage as well as ours, to give him a sense聽of pride in his looks and of ownership over his body 鈥 and of his decisions over what to do with it.

#hahahaha #joker #suicidesquad #babysfirsthaircolour

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As for coloring my kid鈥檚 hair: The bleaching part took barely any time at all. It stung a little, but he was okay with it; he knew what he wanted, and he knew this was part of the drill.聽Once it聽was all done, he was so excited that he mugged in the mirror for 20 solid minutes before it was time to get ready for bed. His happiness and excitement trumped any fears we鈥檇 had, and knowing that he made a decision about his body that turned out the way he had hoped was the best part of the whole thing.

Needless to say, my husband and I have learned a super valuable lesson about giving our kids independence while supporting them and actually allowing those natural consequences to happen, well, naturally. And as for our kid? He鈥檚 been聽channeling Jared Leto since the summer.

Have you let your kids change their hair color? Tell us @BritandCo!