The sexualization of childhood is currently a great concern. Ten are the new fifteen and eight are the new thirteen. Girls dress up and act older than ever. They go from toys to children in the blink of an eye. Girls are not only concerned with how they look and dress at a young age, but are also concerned with their body image, which makes them susceptible to dieting and managing weight in a way that boys shouldn’t have to. .
Certainly boys are entering puberty earlier in a physical sense. An astonishing 16% of girls in the UK start puberty at the age of eight. They also seem to be growing faster than ever in a social and behavioral sense. The concern is that girls appear ready for anything at twelve when, in fact, they are still children emotionally and socially.
Girls have always liked to dress in their mother’s clothes, but they used to put them back in their mother’s closet after playing dress-up. Now many girls wear adult clothes all the time.
The sexualization of childhood is further proof that the lines between adulthood and childhood are becoming increasingly blurred. Nowadays, many children dress like adults and have accessories similar to those of adults, such as cell phones and MP3 players. Almost 50 percent of children’s parties have a part outsourced to a professional, so it seems that even their parties are for adults.
Children seem to be grasping the concerns of adults as well as their advantages. Recent research shows that fear of cancer, terrorism, and being a victim of crime are now major concerns for many ten-year-olds.
Childhood sexualization has occurred for various reasons. Television shows and music videos are two areas where sexual images bordering on soft porn are openly available for children to view. Combined with girls’ propensity to exert enormous social pressure on each other to adapt, the seductive images of adolescence in the media can be difficult to resist.
Children pester their parents to buy the clothes and accessories they want. Marketers have identified the following groups of parents who are particularly susceptible: “complacent,” “kid-friendly,” and “guilty parents.” Children know that if they put enough pressure on their parents, they will wither. Combined with the fact that many parents are unsure of their place in the parent-child relationship, parents are a fair target for girls’ persuasive ways.
1. It seems that parents should firmly guide their daughters on suitable clothing for children. Sure, have an ‘older clothing set’, but keep it ready for certain occasions. If you can’t be firm with an eight-year-old, then it will be hard work when your daughter turns 14 and becomes really persuasive.
2. Adults can help girls to be boys and enjoy childhood activities instead of teenage activities. Girls are often in conflict. They have an internal battle between the child and the emerging adolescent. Let the child win at home. It is helpful for their parents, particularly their mothers, to spend time with them interacting in fun, fun, and child-like ways.
3. Adults should be aware of the programs and music clips young children watch and be willing to censor them. Having televisions in public places, rather than bedrooms, helps this monitoring process.
What is the concern of children growing up quickly? Simply this. Conventional wisdom has been that a long latency period in which children get lost in the haze of childhood is the best preparation for adolescence and beyond. My experience working with children and youth over a long period of time has only reinforced that point of view.