The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


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Jul 15, 2009

PI: Too Sexy too soon

I love articles that vindicate my "paranoid, uptight" parenting style. When McKenna turned 5, being tall for her age, we had to move over to the size 7 clothing area. That was when the new style for GIRLS was to write something on the seat of their pants, drawing the eye to the rear end of your young daughters. The shirts got shorter and the pants lower. I hated that style and only saw it as the sexualization of our daughters. Why do we want people looking at the butt, the belly, the hips of our 5 year old???? If we think that sick minded perverts aren't running the fashion industry of this nation, we need to wake up & stop giving in. If we think when our daughters are dressing like that - that they aren't drawing unwanted attention by boys AND men - a bit naive. So I've tried to hold on to my strict rules of dressing as long as I've been a parent. I have to say it's been difficult the taller McKenna gets though. Slowly, over the last 6 months, several articles have been released, supporting what I've been saying for years. And yes, I do love being right - because it happens so rarely. But when it's important, I want to shout it from the mountain tops. And this is important. It's our daughters who are going to rule this country! This past weekend we had to have a talk with Kayla (15) about respecting herself and the importance of dressing in a way that support her respect for her body. Being in control of herself instead of trying to meet everyone else's standards. As she rolled her shorts up under her butt cheeks and the top of her shorts down to just above the pubic area - why? because that's how the rest of the girls were dressed at the lake and she felt the need to compete. Matt and I comment about how some people obviously don't have mirrors before they leave the house (or missing the bottom half of them) and how many parents either don't know what their kids are wearing or don't care. In a lot of cases these YOUNG young girls, 10, 11, 12, 13 are wearing practically nothing and well, it's just not right. At the girls junior high this last year I was very often shocked to see the clothing allowed on campus. The schools have gone to such a drastic position of not imposing any standards on students, that girls wearing mini skirts so small you're afraid of them moving, is allowed. It was so blatantly allowed, I often wondered if it was because of a twisted liking for the view around campus. Often we would get email at home, reinforcing the dress code and that kids would be sent home, then to show up & pick up the girls to see GIRLS wearing next to nothing. And this is an affluent area. What happened to standards? Where are ours? Okay, I've had caffeine and my soap box is on. Thank you for your indulgence. Here's the article.

While it may seem cute when a 5-year-old copies the hip-shaking dance moves she sees on TV, it's also one of the first signs of how the adult concept of "sexiness" is being sold to younger and younger kids today, say Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D.

In their new book, So Sexy So Soon, the authors explore a culture where grade-schoolers want to dress like go-go dancers, 10-year-old boys have seen Internet porn, and 13-year-olds talk casually about oral sex. Here, Kilbourne discusses how childhood is changing, and what parents can do to protect their kids:

What's different about how little girls are acting and dressing today?

We used to dress up in our mother's clothes. Now little girls are dressing up as sexy teenagers, and there are clothes being marketed to them that look like they are from Victoria's Secret. I see little girls wearing strapless black numbers to the school dance! As a result, girls are getting the message that not only is it important to be pretty but it is also important to be hot and sexy. Research clearly shows that this pressure is damaging to girls' self-esteem.

How does this affect their relationships with boys?

Girls have always gotten the message that it's important to attract boys, but we used to get it a little later, when we were 12 or 13; now they're getting it as early as 6 or 7. Girls in grade school are competing with each other to see who's the hottest, and then boys are learning that's how they should look at girls. It sets up a dynamic that does an enormous amount of harm. Little boys learn to look at girls as objects rather than as friends.

What happens as kids get older?

When a girl has learned early on that what matters most is how sexy she is, then by the time she hits the tween years, the message is already deep in her psyche and it just becomes louder and more harmful. Sex gets speeded up � 12- and 13-year-olds are doing what 16-year-olds used to do, and by the time they're 16, many are already blas� about casual sex. That's when you hear about "friends with benefits" and kids thinking about sex as being separate from a relationship. This not only puts them at physical risk for STDs, unwanted pregnancy, or even date rape, but they also lose the chance to develop the empathy and compassion that are necessary to make intimate relationships work later on.

What can moms do?

When your children are younger, you can limit their exposure to certain media. As kids get older, stay familiar with what they are listening to and watching. Ask them why they like certain songs or clothes so you can open up a dialogue about it. It's so important to start talking to your kids about sexuality and relationships as early as possible, in an age-appropriate way. If they know they can ask you anything and they will not be punished or shamed for it, that will pay off in incredible dividends when they hit their teenage years. When kids feel like they can talk to you, they will.

Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc. Originally Published: Too Sexy Too Soon

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