Almost Ten? Not Even Close!
by Valerie Zilinsky
Her sixth birthday was last week, but she tells me repeatedly, "Mom, I am almost TEN!" Whoa, slow down... she's got four more years to go, right?
Well, not if you walk into the girls' clothing department at any retail outlet today. My daughter and I had an adventure in just such a place today. She had birthday money to spend, and she wanted to spruce up her wardrobe. I told her before we even got there that her choices would require my approval.
I was very surprised at some of the fashions marketed to girls of such a young age. And of course, these were the same pieces that my six-year-old picked out first... no thanks to the media that glamorizes teens who dress so provocatively.
Which brings me to another point - teen pop stars. One specifically, but I won't name names. Originally, I didn't have a problem with my daughter being a fan of the anonymous singing star. But the last straw was when we were watching an awards show on TV, where this star was making an appearance. To my relief, this happened way past my daughter's bedtime. This young girl, not even an adult yet, had gained her fame from marketing herself to the 'tween' set (girls aged 7-12). Yet, as their role model, she made her appearance on national television wearing a dress that might as well have been see-through. At that moment, I decided to be more vocal to my own daughter about how a girl should respect herself and her body. And to make it clear to her that this singing sensation was not a good role model.
After a few disagreements, we survived our shopping experience today. She picked out the clothes herself, after a few disapproving glares from me, and she was still able to exercise a healthy sense of independence. After all, no matter what she says to me, no matter what the media pushes into our daughters' faces every day, there are still four years to go until she's ten, and plenty of years left before she needs to look like a woman. Time goes by quickly enough without all these outside influences making our girls age even quicker. Encourage them to enjoy their youth, to appreciate being a KID!
Valerie Zilinsky of Michigan is a mother of four...... two children, the family dog, and her biggest kid of all - her husband. She is also the proud co-owner of both
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