Are Kids Growing Up too Fast???
Parents – do you remember when you got a phone “corded” phone in your own room? Moms, how old were you when you got to wear makeup? Dads, at what age did you ask a girl on “date”? How does this compare to your kids, or their friends?
Kids do seem to be growing up so fast these days. Need more evidence? Just take a trip to the mall and check out the styles of kids’ clothes or how cell phones are marketed towards children. Do you elementary students talk about their friends “dating” or want you buy them the latest designer jeans?
If you’re like me, you feel a little…ok, maybe a lot, uncomfortable with the growing trend of turning our kids into miniature adults. From the way they look to the activities they participate in, the pressure to grow up fast is everywhere.
As parents, it’s up to us to be the mature adult role models in our children’s’ lives and stem the tide of marketing that is geared directly to them. So how do you combat the messages in society that tell our kids they need to look and act older than they really are? What’s your answer when your 8-year old son or daughter begs for a cell phone because “all” their friends have one?
Here are some strategies for you to try:
- Model mature, respectful behavior, both in the way you treat others and the way you dress and present yourself in public.
- Together as parents, decide on an age where it is appropriate for your child to date, wear makeup, and own a cell phone. Communicate these decisions to your kids and stick to your guns.
- Remind your children that you provide everything they need (clothes, food, etc), even though there may be many different ways to do that. For example, you might say, “I provide clothing that I feel good about.”
- If they want designer jeans, teach them how to work hard, save their allowance, and pay for them. They will quickly realize the value of a dollar, and expensive, designer clothes may be less attractive when you show them other choices available (three shirts instead of one pair of jeans, etc.).
- Set limits on the time you spend watching TV and on the types of programs your children watch. You may not be able to insulate your children from all societal and peer pressures, but you can make your home a safe haven.
Are your kids annoyed with you yet? 🙂 Take heart! Your efforts will be worth it. Someday, when they are responsible young adults ready to head off to college or accept their first job, you can be proud and know that your love and logic parenting skills have paid off!