Parenting Solutions: Growing Up Too Fast
Wears or wants attire or gadgets unsuitable for age, hangs around kids or engages in activities inappropriate for internal timetable, is growing up faster than makes good sense or is safe developmentally
The Change to Parent For
Your child chooses and engages in activities that are developmentally appropriate and emotionally and cognitively suitable for her internal timetable.
One thing's for sure, it certainly is a different world than the one we grew up in, and our kids' lives are on a fast track. It's almost as though they are living in an X-rated world, bombarded by sexually explicit movies, clothing touting "adult-only" messages, sexually charged pop music, mature-rated video games, and provocative, "way before their years" fashions—when they've barely made it out of the G-rating age group. What's more, not only do our kids idolize those age-advanced lifestyles and products, but corporations, manufacturers, and retail stores are developing and marketing products aimed to encourage them to do so.
The problem is that adopting that fast-forward world could also affect our children's well-being. First, it "decompresses" their childhood, so they miss out on activities, rituals, and games that are essential to normal development; second, it exposes them to serious issues that they can't fully comprehend, let alone handle. That's why child experts, the medical profession, and parents alike are concerned that the relentless exposure to adult-type subject matter is so harmful and wrong. A recent Parents magazine poll found that almost 80 percent of moms and dads worry that their kids are growing up too fast and are exposed to "too much and way too soon."74 In a Newsweek poll, 77 percent of adults feel that those oversexed, underdressed celebrities like Britney, Paris, and Lindsay have too much influence on girls and are pushing them to copy a far too advanced lifestyle way too early.75
Although we parents can't put blinders on our kids or change that outside racy world, we sure can put the brakes on what comes into our kids' lives. Here are solutions to help your child develop at a pace geared more appropriately to her chronological age so she won't grow up too fast and can experience those glorious days of childhood that every kids needs and deserves.
Pay Attention to This!
Monitor Your Child's Media Consumption
Our kids are bombarded with sexual imagery and confusing lessons from TV, movies, music lyrics, and newsstand magazines. In fact, each year our kids are exposed to more than fourteen thousand sexual references, innuendoes, and jokes on television alone.76 Seventy-seven percent of prime-time shows on major broadcast networks include sexual material and provocatively attired actors,77 and 10 percent of TV characters who engage in sexual intercourse are teens.78 Research now proves that those sexualized media images do affect our children's childhoods and are pushing them to grow up too fast, too soon.
- In surveys, over a quarter of adolescents admit that televised sexual content affects their behavior and pushes them to act older and grow up faster.79
- The American Academy of Pediatrics found that repeated exposure to sexual content in television, movies, and music increases the likelihood that kids will become sexually active at earlier ages.80
- The American Psychological Association concluded that proliferation of sexualized images of young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls' self-image and their healthy development and increases the likelihood of eating disorders and depression.81
The lesson: know what media your kids are reading, listening to, and watching, and set clear limits.
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