Being a teenager means figuring out your place in the world by deciding who you are and how you want to be.
Too often, failures and mistakes are all part of the journey to self-discovery and self-acceptance.
However, parents must protect their children along the way and prevent them from being harmed.
In January 2018, an Ohio teenager found herself in the middle of a viral battle over her appearance.
Her father had her hair cut off after her mother did highlights without her permission.
Kelsey Johnson, who was 13 at the time of the incident, received a Spa Day gift for her birthday from her mother Christine.
Kelsey decided to highlight her brown hair as part of a birthday present from her mom.
A few days later, Christine drove her teenage daughter home to her father and stepmother.
Christine posted a photo of the teenage girl to Facebook on Jan. 31, smiling and proudly showing off her new hairstyle.
But those photos were accompanied by other photos of Kelsey with her hair shaved off and her hands covering her face.
Christine announced on Facebook that the photo of Kelsey with long blonde hair was “what she looked like when I brought her home.”
A photo of her with short hair read, “What happened today before she was brought to me…had highlights in her hair for her birthday!”
The Facebook post went viral, sparking outrage among commenters and even sparking an investigation into possible child abuse against Kelsey’s father and stepmother.
The Facebook post’s virality attracted 24,000 shares and over 6,000 comments.
As one Facebook user commented, “She’s beautiful with long or short hair, but in conclusion, being forced to cut her hair in these circumstances is nothing short of abusive!”
Another said, “If you continue to abuse yourself emotionally and mentally, this kind of abuse can hurt you for a long time. That’s it.”
Humiliation is a commonly used form of emotional abuse.
Furthermore, not allowing teenagers to make their own decisions about their bodies and appearance is an act of psychological control that denies their bodily agency.
From Kelsey’s body language in a Facebook photo, her face is buried in her hands and she doesn’t want to look at the camera that her father forced her to cut her hair. is clearly dissatisfied.
Neither Christine nor Kelsey, her father or stepmother have commented on the circumstances after the incident.
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However, several news outlets alleged that Christine alleged that Kelsey’s father and stepmother forced her daughter to cut her hair short as punishment for highlighting her hair.
The Haskins Police Chief said the investigation was still pending as of the 2018 post.
What’s clear in the aftermath of this viral story is that her father’s form of “punishment” hurt Kelsey’s self-esteem and denied her the right to make decisions surrounding her own body.
Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango’s news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, analysis of her pop culture, and all things entertainment industry related.