Monday, November 27, 2006

10 does not have to be the new 15

I was quite disturbed by this article. I'm well aware that kids of 2006 are more advanced than my generation in the 1970's were but I don't believe it has to be as bad as it is.

Modern technology has introduced many new things since I was a child:

Cable t.v.: I had channels 2,4,5,7,10,12,27,38 and 56...and that was it and that was more than enough. The only "kid shows" were on channel 2 which was PBS. I watched Zoom and occasionally, The Electric Company. Channel 27 had Willie Whistle which drove me insane. Nothing is worse than a squeaky voiced clown! Channel 56 showed re-runs of some 1960's classics like Bewitched and That Girl and they also had The Banana Splits on at 3:00pm when we got out of school. Hooray for cartoons!

With cable,Lillianna has so many channels I can't even count them all. I do check to see what she is watching and happily,her favorite shows are on Disney or Nick Jr. They are kid friendly shows.

What about the kids who are watching programs that are too adult for their child mentality? Are we so busy that we don't care what they are watching as long as they are quiet and not bothering mom and dad? Is that how 6 year olds get so grown up?

The internet: Our children have the entire world at their fingertips. They have access to kids and pedophiles everywhere. They can have MySpace accounts. They can IM each other and strangers. The list of horrors is endless. Is anyone monitoring what their kids are doing online?
Does anyone write letters or just call up a friend instead of IM-ing them? If not,why not?

Clothing: I think my mother bought my clothes until I was 14 or 15. She always chose what I liked so I never had a problem. As I got older,I went shopping on my own and surprisingly,picked out the same clothes my mom would've picked out for me. Even at 43,when my mom buys me clothes for a present,they're always just perfect.

I let Lillianna have some say in her clothing although I know what she likes: jeans with sparkles,anything that has Cheetah fur on it and anything that is snuggly feeling. She doesn't ask for short skirts,belly shirts or tight pants. She has told me,"Those are inappropriate for a girl my age,Mom." I completely agree but more important,at 9,she already knows that.

I get a pain in my chest when I hear young girls talk about being "sexy." What do they know about such things........and why???

When Lillianna came home and told me about a conversation some girls were having in school about a boy being sexy,I sat her down and had a long talk. I explained that at this age,the word sexy,was not a word I wanted her to use.It was not a "bad" word but it was something she could save until she was much 21. At this age,kids are just kids and if you want to compliment them, they can be funny,smart,energetic,pretty,handsome or kind but sexy was not an appropriate word. She already sensed that and she was glad we talked about it.

Cell phones: Young kids are getting cell phones way before they are old enough to understand that this is a tool for an emergency and not a fun toy for their pleasure and their parents' check book.

I understand that if a child has an after school activity and needs to call home for a ride,then a cell phone can be a life saver but I know teens who have cell phones who are not using them for that reason. They call their friends all day long instead of using their home phone which isn't charged by the minute! Parents allow this to happen so kids will continue to take advantage.

The problem and solution lies with us,the parents. We have to set the rules and stick to them. Just because our child wants to wear Daisy Dukes and a belly shirt,doesn't mean they are going to be allowed to do it. The reason that our 10 year olds are becoming the new 15 is because we are not doing anything to prevent it.

Kids are only kids for a short time. They will have plenty of time to be an adult when the time is right. That time,is not now.

How do you handle this with your children? Do you let them do whatever they want or do you set age appropriate limits?

No comments: