Why Children Grow Up So Fast….And What Parents Can Do….

The realisation that  “children grow up fast these days” seems to be accepted by most parents.  The age that children are first exposed to drugs, become sexually active or develop an addiction to pornography is getting younger. The statistics are concerning. I’m always fascinated that so many people just seem to accept this as “just the way it is” rather than ask the question why. It is only through understanding WHY this is happening that we can intervene.

Just recently a mother posted a comment about ‘trampy’ clothes for young girls on the Target facebook page. Her comment about the inappropriateness of sexualised clothing for pre-teen girls attracted 65,000 likes and resulted in a media frenzy. Unfortunately, tackling this issue isn’t as simple as Target banning sexualised clothing for young girls. We need an entire cultural shift where more parents start questioning the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that popular culture tries to influence our children and our parenting.  Parent need to get involved and get pro-active!

Not many parents even blink an eyelid when their daughter selects a short skirt or a halter top these days because it’s just well, normal. As a culture we have become so de-sensitised to this sexualisation that we barely notice anymore. But just because we don’t notice doesn’t mean it’s not doing any damage to our children.

It all began when industry created and publicised the idea of a ‘tween’…..

The idea of the tween comes from industry realising that age 8 – 12 age group was an untapped market. This age supposedly struggle with their identity not knowing whether they are still a child or nearly a teenager. The reality? Tweens don’t exist. They are a creation of the mass-media and advertising. I’ve even heard some good arguments that the idea of teenagers didn’t exist until the 1960′s so technically they don’t exist either!

Tween culture is all about getting young girls to grow up faster so as to foster new desires – and insecurities – that shopping can soothe.

 Suzy Freeman-Greene (writer for the age)

If we go with the idea that a ‘tween’ actually exists then we inevitably buy into the lie that industry is trying to sell us.  Industry wants our children to develop insecurities as young as possible so they can sell them more products to fix the problems they didn’t know they had in the first place.

Popular culture has managed to create the reality that teenagers are insecure and want to be cool and popular. Everyone knows this. We think this is what all teenagers must go through – it’s just life. Firstly, it’s not. Secondly, industry is trying to influence younger and younger children to also develop these same insecurities.

Parents – we can’t let this happen.

So, what can we do?

Educate ourselves.

Ask questions.

Get involved.

Be prepared to live differently.

Teach our children about sexualisation. Don’t just say no – help them understand.

See collective shout & change.org for ways to keep informed and involved!

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