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tween article from Mothering a few years back

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 

My dd's friends mother is convinced her dd, 8, is now a tween and that she is actually moving into some official category.  I am trying to convince her that tweenhood is a marketing ploy and that there is already a name for eight-year-old girls--children.  They are children.  Does anyone remember that great mothering article from a few years back about tween? Any ideas about how I could get a hold of it?

post #2 of 48

I remember this. I just looked at the covers of all my back issues and nothing popped out. If someone knows which issue it was in that would be helpful. Good luck! 

post #3 of 48

You could try in the Tween/Teen forum to see if anyone remembers.

 

FWIW, the name "tween" might be a marketing ploy, but as the mom of a 12 y/o, the actual stage of life (between childhood and teenaged years), is very real. 

post #4 of 48

This is the article:

http://mothering.com/green-living/stealing-childhood?page=0,1

 

I don't agree with it though.  There is a huge difference between who my child was a year ago and who she is now and I think that even if this label is something that marketers designed it is something that parents have picked up on and started using because they notice that jump in development, reasoning, and even attitude.  The author also talks about the label teenager not existing, but children were supossed to be little adults at that time also so I don't think that is a very compelling argument.

post #5 of 48

I think this is a fuzzy area.

 

My daugher is 8, is developing breasts, and is dealing with some emotional/hormonal upheavals of early puberty.  While in many ways she is "just a child", it is disrespectful of me to insist that she is not dealing with some things that non-pubescent children don't have to.

 

Tween marketing of products, IMO is different than understanding that there *is* a fuzzy inbetween category, esp. for kids going through early puberty.

 

I think it's also a fragile stage, esp. around MDC folks, because while we say that we are pro-woman and all that, we also freak out and blame puberty of fat, plastics, and evil diet stuff...and in the middle of freaking out I think it's a mistake to think that our daughters do not notice that from us or the media.

 

I'd like to see the tween years mean that a parent is SUPER DUPER CONSCIOUS about what crap comes out of their mouth, as well as monitoring media.

 

To me, that SHOULD start happening at 8, which is when *many* girls in particular are moving into the early stages of puberty, even if they don't have obvious signs.

post #6 of 48

My dd is 8, almost 9, and she is in a lot of ways still very much a child. She plays with dolls and all that. Her only physical change at this point is to need to bathe very regularly and wear deodorant, but if there are hormones to cause emotional changes as well. She's certainly very substantially different than she was at, say, 5 or 6.  I guess I like the term "tween" because it recognizes the "still a child but starting to change a bit" place they are at.

post #7 of 48

I think think that tween *is* used as a marketing tool. And I think that the term was made up for that purpose.  Growing into adulthood is a long and wonderous process.  I hate how it has been used by companies to make money by applying labels.   And I do believe that people that buy into that consumerism kind of throw their young daughters (and yes, I think the focus is more on girls than boys) into growing up faster than they are probably emotionally and socially ready to.  I really think that media EXPLOITS the changes that are happening to these young girls by promoting a certain type of mainstream "popular" girl and all of the trappings associated with it...  and they call it "tween".

 

I don't care for the term, personally.  I really just hate the drive to get girls to be boy-crazy and popularity-crazy and clique-crazy at 9 years of age in order to sell more posters and t-shirts.  That's really what it's about.  That is the "tween" craze in a nutshell.  Instead, I think we should just help our children along the path to adulthood which is a VERY long process and it can't be packaged and labeled.

 

FTR - my dd will be 9 soon and she shows not one single sign of entering puberty.  She is still VERY much a child.  She knows the name of popular "tween" trends (although she still thinks his name is Justin Beaver, lol) from her friends at school, but she is absolutely not interested in them.  She still likes Curious George and other PBS programs and has never seen any Disney or played video games. Then again, we don't have media influence in our home like many do.  I'm planning to let her be a child as long as she needs to be.  I won't let a label or the marketing companies grow her up any faster than she will on her own.

post #8 of 48

My DDs are now 12 and 14. My 12 year old is very much a *tween*. She isn't a child, and she isn't a teen. My 14 year old is a teenager.

 

Neither of my kids were tweens at 8. At 8, they were still little girls. Actually, both my kids stayed *kids* until they were about 12. I'm not sure why, but we seemed to miss the marketing aimed at this age group, but the shift of puberty is just a fact. And although there were very minor changes in their bodies before that, the hormonal parts didn't really kick in until 12.

post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I'm not sure why, but we seemed to miss the marketing aimed at this age group, but the shift of puberty is just a fact. And although there were very minor changes in their bodies before that, the hormonal parts didn't really kick in until 12.


But that's why we have the term "puberty".  It's a change that everyone goes through.  "Tween" is a mindset developed by marketers to target a particular age set.

post #10 of 48

But I think *tween* is more comfortable term than *puberty.*  Saying "puberty" is like announcing your period to the world or something. I think many people are more comfortable with a term that is less.... biological.

 

And I'm not sure quite how to say this, but I think that moms thinking of their 8 year olds as "pubescent" or "tweens" or whatever word you chose could mask relationship problems or emotional problems. There are attitudes and behaviors during puberty that during any other phase of life would be a sign that a person needed some help. Sorting out when kids are doing fine and not doing fine can be difficult, and assuming that a moody 8 year old is *just being a tween* could cause a parent to ignore that the child really isn't OK.

 

The true storm of hormone based mood shifts doesn't last through out childhood.

post #11 of 48

I think this is all being over thought, really.  6 is different from 8, which is different from 10, which is different from 12, which is different from 14.  Whether someone uses the words "older child" or the word "tween" isn't that big of a deal.  And most kids do hit puberty during the "tween"  years instead of at or after 13, so it seems fair to see those kids as further along than younger children.  Also, while we associate puberty in girls with menarche. there is a lot going on in the body for a while before that, and in some girls that's starting at 8.

post #12 of 48

If people don't want to use the term "adolescent" or "puberty" then why can't we just use the term "young lady" or "young man" or the generic "kids" instead of putting kids into a persona created by a marketing company?  There're a lot of "traits" associated with "tweens" that puts pressure on kids that are that age.  My great niece is a "tween" and it's horrible to see how she tries so hard to fit in when she doesn't even really LIKE what other girls her age like (she's 11).  It's really not the term itself that if off-putting for me... it's what it represents.

post #13 of 48

It doesn't represent anything to me other than "older child", and I think I remember that term being used in the late 70s when I was a "tween", so if it started as a marketing scheme, I don't think it's recent.  It might have been co-opted by marketers, but then, so are the stages of "baby" and "toddler".

post #14 of 48

I was a "tween" in the 70's.  I don't remember that term ever being used.  "Baby" and "Toddler" is marketed to parents who already have developed rationalization mechanisms and can think for themselves.  "Tween" is marketed directly to that subset of consumers who are still children when it comes to marketing savvy, but are being constantly bombarded with advertisement saying they are old enough to independently make decisions (and even influence their parents to spend).  There is a HUGE difference.

post #15 of 48

Toddlers and young children are also directly marketed to in that way - to influence their parents to spend money.

post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

If people don't want to use the term "adolescent" or "puberty" then why can't we just use the term "young lady" or "young man" or the generic "kids" instead of putting kids into a persona created by a marketing company?  There're a lot of "traits" associated with "tweens" that puts pressure on kids that are that age.  My great niece is a "tween" and it's horrible to see how she tries so hard to fit in when she doesn't even really LIKE what other girls her age like (she's 11).  It's really not the term itself that if off-putting for me... it's what it represents.



I actually have a problem with the young lady and young man titles because my child is not a young lady.  I think young lady/man is a title that forces kids to act far more mature than their age and I don't like that pressure.  I think tween is a much more childlike term but that may be because we don't have a tv and we don't do advertising so I really don't know the extent of the marketing towards girls this age.  There is a store in the mall marketed towards tweens but their clothes aren't racy and I don't mind if my dd wants to shop there next time we get her more clothes.  I think fitting in is just something kids try to do, especially when they move closer to wanting independence from the style their parents have imposed on them (whether forcefully or gently).  My child has wanted to have the toys everyone else talks about since her friends started talking about their toys in preschool so I really don't think that is something that is caused by this label.

post #17 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

I think think that tween *is* used as a marketing tool. And I think that the term was made up for that purpose.  Growing into adulthood is a long and wonderous process.  I hate how it has been used by companies to make money by applying labels.   And I do believe that people that buy into that consumerism kind of throw their young daughters (and yes, I think the focus is more on girls than boys) into growing up faster than they are probably emotionally and socially ready to.  I really think that media EXPLOITS the changes that are happening to these young girls by promoting a certain type of mainstream "popular" girl and all of the trappings associated with it...  and they call it "tween".

 

I don't care for the term, personally.  I really just hate the drive to get girls to be boy-crazy and popularity-crazy and clique-crazy at 9 years of age in order to sell more posters and t-shirts.  That's really what it's about.  That is the "tween" craze in a nutshell.  Instead, I think we should just help our children along the path to adulthood which is a VERY long process and it can't be packaged and labeled.

 

FTR - my dd will be 9 soon and she shows not one single sign of entering puberty.  She is still VERY much a child.  She knows the name of popular "tween" trends (although she still thinks his name is Justin Beaver, lol) from her friends at school, but she is absolutely not interested in them.  She still likes Curious George and other PBS programs and has never seen any Disney or played video games. Then again, we don't have media influence in our home like many do.  I'm planning to let her be a child as long as she needs to be.  I won't let a label or the marketing companies grow her up any faster than she will on her own.



Thanks, it's just nice to hear someone agree with my thoughts on childhood. I too avoid the Disney shows and she is very much a little girl. A smart well-spoken little girl but a little girl, nonetheless.

post #18 of 48

Interesting topic. (BTW, does anyone have any links to what is supposed to cause going into puberty early? I would really like to avoid that...)

 

I am not in the US but we do get all your junk here. (You know, tv shows and all that.) When I taught 8-year-olds some years back, they were all very  much "just kids." However, there minds were trying to deal with very adult things, due to the tv shows their parents were letting them watch.

 

Our neighbor just told me that their 9 year old did not ask for any toys for Christmas. Apparently, the message from peers is that it is not cool. I think out soon to be 6 yo is way younger than her peers in some things and way older in some. We are homeschoolers and don't really watch tv, so she is not affected quite the same way.


Edited by LessTraveledBy - 12/25/10 at 2:52am
post #19 of 48



Fair enough, though I would say that I think that people who assume that a moody 8 year old can't be that way because of pubescent hormones are just as wrong and are ignoring their child just as much.  I think a lot of people stick their heads in the sand or cast aspersions on kids (and their families) who do enter puberty on the early end of the bell curve.  I have actually personally seen someone ignore their child's body changes, to the point that the child was totally freaked when they got their period at 11.  She'd been told *nothing* because it was "too early to talk about that yet."  So it works both ways I think.

 

Again, I separate the marketing aspect from the developmental.  We don't have cable, she doesn't like to watch TV anyway, and we're not big consumers.  So really, and truly, that's not the issue, for us.  I guess I don't get why people want to demonize the idea either though--other than people are really uncomfortable with "early" puberty (though starting up at 8--not talking about getting a period at 8-- is not really that early).  For some girls, that is a reality--and they are just as precious and good as the girls who start up later.

 

I guess I kind of resent the implication that if I acknowledge that my daughter is going through puberty, therefore I am more likely to be neglecting her because of that.  And yet someone who doesn't think about that aspect is somehow not neglecting/paying attention to their kid?  And why would anyone assume that acknowledging that something may be happening because of puberty changes means that you don't talk to your kid and don't help them work through things?  That's cruel.  If someone is having a hard time, no matter what the cause, you still nuture your kid.  Period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

And I'm not sure quite how to say this, but I think that moms thinking of their 8 year olds as "pubescent" or "tweens" or whatever word you chose could mask relationship problems or emotional problems. There are attitudes and behaviors during puberty that during any other phase of life would be a sign that a person needed some help. Sorting out when kids are doing fine and not doing fine can be difficult, and assuming that a moody 8 year old is *just being a tween* could cause a parent to ignore that the child really isn't OK.

 

The true storm of hormone based mood shifts doesn't last through out childhood.

post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

FTR - my dd will be 9 soon and she shows not one single sign of entering puberty.  She is still VERY much a child.  She knows the name of popular "tween" trends (although she still thinks his name is Justin Beaver, lol) from her friends at school, but she is absolutely not interested in them.  She still likes Curious George and other PBS programs and has never seen any Disney or played video games. Then again, we don't have media influence in our home like many do.  I'm planning to let her be a child as long as she needs to be.  I won't let a label or the marketing companies grow her up any faster than she will on her own.


Disney and video games don't cause puberty.  :(

 

And even if your 9 year old had little breasts, like my does, it doesn't mean that she isn't still a sweet girl.  Nor does it mean that she doesn't like PBS (though if we're talking marketing, I don't think PBS is a saint in that regard)--mine does.  My daughter likes to climb trees, still digs in the sand at school, ect.

 

None of that would have kept the boobs and hormones away.  That is in her genes, and I love that part of her too.  I don't consider it a badge of honor OR a mark of shame that she entered puberty when she did--it's just her.  :(
 

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