A Texas mom who waxed her 3-year-old daughter's unibrow in a viral TikTok video said she's protecting her child from future bullies.
"I don't care! I don't care!" Leah Garcia, 31, captioned a recent TikTok video that shows her waxing her daughter Bliss's eyebrows. "I'd rather y'all call me a bad mom before I let my 3 year old walk around with a unibrow like my parents did!"
"Ow, mom, that hurt me," Bliss says after the waxing, to which Garcia replies, "All right, girl, now you got two eyebrows!"
Under the video with 18.2 million views and 2.5 million likes, almost 30,000 people packed the comments section.
"At 3 though?" someone asked.
"If she wasn't aware of her eyebrows, she sure is now," one person wrote.
"This makes me really sad but (it’s) your kid, do what you want," said another. Yet another suggested Garcia was "projecting insecurities" onto her daughter.
“How do I find balance with this?” one person pondered. “I’m so worried about them being insecure about their natural selves but I don’t want them to be bullied either.”
Those formerly bullied for body hair called Garcia a "great mom" and recalled their subsequent relief and confidence after their hair-removal treatments; many said they wished their parents had allowed them to wax their hair.
A large number of parents confessed to waxing their children's body hair, and others pledged to start: "My daughter has a 'stash and wants it gone," one person wrote. "This must be my sign that it's OK?"
Wrote another, "I'm a preschool teacher and see this all the time. She will thank you later!"
Garcia told TODAY Parents she was shocked by the intensity of some internet critics. Waxing her children's unibrows was always her intention.
"As a child, I had very thick and dark eyebrows and I'd shave behind my parents' back because my father didn't believe children should worry about things like that," she said. "I remember a boy saying to me in kindergarten, 'Why are your eyebrows so big?'"
Wishing to spare Bliss and her 11-year-old sister Behautti from similar embarrassment, Garcia started waxing their unibrows when they turned 3, with their permission.
"We have 'waxing days' at home," she explained. "I ask, 'Who wants to wax?' No one is holding down Bliss — she's not screaming in pain. It's her choice."
According to Garcia, unibrow waxing is a basic grooming routine that her girls can maintain or drop altogether.
"I understand where (critics) are coming from but kids can be cruel," she explained. "Waxing her unibrow isn't giving in to bullies; it's preventing them from targeting my daughter."
According to Francyne Zeltser, the clinical director of psychology, training and special projects at Manhattan Psychology Group, PC, parents considering body hair removal should first consult their pediatrician.
"It's difficult to say with confidence that a 3-year-old would ask to be waxed unless they've expressed prior discomfort or insecurity," she told TODAY Parents.
For parents who want to be proactive, ask children guided questions to learn how they feel about their appearance without projecting your own views, Zeltzer advised.
"And make clear that while waxing is usually a monthly treatment, it's not permanent and you can stop at any time," she said.
If you do agree to hair removal, let your child be the decision maker and respect their feelings if they change their mind.
"There's no right or wrong answer," Zeltzer said. "People have to do what's right for their families."