Ten the new Fifteen
‘Ten, the New Fifteen’
By Tony DeLorger © 2010
As frightening as it may seem, our kids are growing up faster than every before. A recent study concluded than many girls aged nine and ten were physically entering puberty. Is it something we’re eating, perhaps pollution or food additives? All I know is that it was difficult enough when my daughter entered those vulnerable early teen years, let alone having to deal with it at age ten. It makes me shudder.
One could understand the adaption in early history when the average lifespan was forty and girls were often married at twelve. But considering we live into our eighties plus these days, why are our kids maturing so early. What the hell happened to childhood?
It has always freaked me out, those damned beauty pageants, with little kids dressed up in alluring outfits with caked on make up, parading around like miniature strippers. It’s just so wrong. But I guess that society is to blame as advertising and marketing is more and more targeted to a younger market. Image is shoved down our throats, projected models a paragon of perfection. The problem is that not many of us can attain these perfect images, let alone our young children. As adults, and as a result, we can often struggle with self-image and confidence, so imagine how these high standards are affecting ten year olds, trying to both grow up too quickly and be perfect.
It seems to me that social expectations for children today are unrealistic, encouraging them to forgo their childhood and grow up into a world of overwhelming demands. No wonder kids are having so much trouble with the world, for example not able to deal with school, both scholastic and socially. Many become depressed and act out and rebel against their parents and the establishment that is expecting far too much from them. The world is a scary place for kids, and one only has to turn on the news to understand that. From a kids perspective it is far worse, stark reality making them feel unsafe and offering little hope for a positive future.
All we can do as parents is to let our kids have a childhood, in fact insist on it. Don’t let them be teenagers at ten: make up, cell phones, skimpy fashion clothing and the like. The world will still be around when they are older and with a more mature outlook, help them deal with the demands of modern life.
What first is viewed as distasteful from a societal viewpoint, can often become accepted in the end, and numbed down from use. The use of profanity for example is common among youth, acceptable because they hear it all the time, in movies, games and of course their piers. If I uttered the “F’ word when I was a kid, I would have been flogged within an inch of my life; even uttering ‘bloody’ was a misdemeanour. Today, far worse words are becoming common and gathering some acceptance. But just because it’s happening doesn’t mean its right.
Being a parent today is no walk in the park, you’re up against a world of change and not all of it good. Peer pressure, the media and so it seems physiological change, are playing havoc with our young. All we can do is try to give our kids a safe, normal childhood and hold on to that innocence as long as we can, because it doesn’t get any easier.