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growing up to fast

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
I was at work last night and admitted an 11 yar old with an eating disorder (which is not uncommon). I was helping her get settled and put her things away and found things I did not expect to encounter in an 11 year olds suitcase. There were cosmo girl magazines, Teen magazines, ect. more makeup than I own, and very "scanky" clothes. She had her hair highlighted and her nails done perfectly. She looked like 16- not 11.

I was shocked, how did this happen.. When did this happen.. Why did mom allow her to dress like this and read this stuff? Is it the parents fault or the fault of the nation. Why did anyone ever think of marketing a sex magazine to girls...

I'm sorry but I look at my sweet 10 year old and think this is what some of her peers will be like next year... This is to much to handle at such a young age..
post #2 of 46
Other than the "skanky" clothes(which may or may not be depending on an individual's perception of "skanky") everything out sounds normal to me. When I was 11 I read teen magazines, wore makeup, my hair wasn't highlighted but it'd been permed by then. I don't remember everything I wore but I do know I wore crop top shirts that my mom made for me, they were the "in" thing at the time.

honestly some of your dd's peers are most likely reading & doing this stuff now. My 9yo had her hair highlighted when she was 6, she's now saving up to have her hair dyed. IMO it's no different than the perm my mom let me have when I was 9. There are girls in my dd's class, younger & older who have highlights of varying colours. 1 boy in Grade 1 has a pink mowhawk & earings. There are a couple of girls who have gel nails. My 9yo is in Grade 4, there are kids who are 11 in that class either because their parents purposely held them back or they failed grade 1 or 2. There is at least 1 girl(who is 11) who has her period, quite a few girls are wearing bras, some are like my dd & don't actually need them.
post #3 of 46
It makes me sad that kids are cheated out of precious time being kids. The media and popular culture push kids into growing up so fast.

My almost 12 y.o. DD still plays with her American Girl dolls and so do a lot of her friends. I support this whole heartedly. They have lots of time to be grown-up, but once the kid stuff is over its over.

I can't help but wonder if the pressure to act so grown up is a major contributer to an eating disorder. The images girls see in mags like Cosmo girl are unrealistic portrayals of what female bodies really look like and represent only about 1% of the population. There is so much pressure on girls to look like super models.

Good to know that little girl is getting some help. My heart goes out to her.
post #4 of 46
At first I thought this will be one of those sweet nostalgic posts "I can't believe how fast my child is growing up"; after all, they do change A LOT in a very short time in their teenage years.

But your topic is much more disturbing. I don't think it's ok for an 11 y.o. to have highlights, bright nail polish, or to wear sexy clothes. I do think it's partially parents' fault, and partially the culture that the kids are exposed to. All you can do is to try your best with your own child what you have and try to guide your own child along a more meaningful path.
post #5 of 46
I see some of what you're saying, but I think you have to understand that different people have different views on what's okay and what isn't as well as what is "age appropriate" and what isn't... and if "age appropriate" even matters, really.

We don't do or not do things just based on age in my family. There are no hard rules about "you can do that when you're 12" or "That's not okay until you are 16". My mother did though. She refused to let my dye my hair until I was 13. She had no reason why other than it was "not appropriate" or "for teenagers". So even though I'd looked into the dye process, read up on different brands, understood the risks, and saved my own money for it when I was almost 12 I still wasn't allowed. I felt disrespected and treated like I was stupid or didn't matter. I dyed my hair at midnight on my 13th birthday. As I was doing it I asked my mom "So how are me and my hair any different now than they were 6 months ago? 10 minutes ago?" She just shrugged. Riiight.

We prefer to base what we do or don't do on interest, what we value, personal readiness rather than some arbitrary social/cultural age standard, safety, etc.

Assuming (for the purposes of this conversation) you think that hair highlighting and dyeing, or nail polish and make-up are not in conflict with your basic overall personal values, why is it alright for a 15 or 16 year old to do these things but not an interested 10 or 12 year old? If they have the interest and you can look into the process and information together what's the problem? Is it because we've decided that if a girl cares or wants to experiment with her look or with fashion that she's "skanky" or shallow? It just doesn't work for me. I have no problem sharing what I think with my daughter on any given thing, but she knows that it's coming from a place of respect and in the interest of sharing information not a place of alarm about nail polish or hair. She dyed her hair purple at 10 I think. We've done it countless times and colors since then. I do it too, so I guess it's a family affair. lol
post #6 of 46
Intersting topic. My DD has put blue streaks in her hair (for fun), wears make-up for fun (like dress-up) and like to wear shortish clothes.

As per the make-up, hair, nails - we are OK with it as long as it is kept in the realm of fun - and is not part of her daily grooming. I am not sure i would forbid it if it happenned - but I would take it as a sign she was growing up too fast (and perhaps too overly focused on her appearance).

She likes short-y clothes - and I totally allow it. I think to insist she change clothes would actually sexualise something she is doing which is not at all sexual. I also think people have the right to wear what they want.

So, with regards to the OP - if the adult stuff is meant to be part of daily ritual or if she is reliant on it(particularly given her food issues)- it is a little upsetting, if it is meant to pass the time, and be fun - no worries.

As per cosmo - I was reading Harlequins at 13 and 14. There was nothing else to read that was not baby-ish. Even now - finding reading material for the 11-14 yr old set that isn't depressing coming of age stufff or babyish can be tricky.

I also find, developmentally, kids that age can and do act grown up one moment, and play on the swing set the next. It is the age

Kathy
post #7 of 46
Hmmm, I have an 11 y/o dd and neither her nor her friends wear skanky clothing, wear make up, or have their nails done. I will say that dd has had a manicure a few times in her life, but it isn't something done more than once per year. She's also colored her hair out of experimentation; but again, not something constant like an adult would do. She hasn't even begun to show interest in make up or any sort of grown up maintenance things. Because I also do not see this type of behavior in her friends, I do view this girl to be out of the realm of normal and a bit too grown up for her age.

I do wonder if she is in middle school, though. There is a huge change in girls between elementary and middle. With one 11 year old in elementary and the other in middle, they may be worlds apart in normalcy.
post #8 of 46
An 11 year old with an eating disorder?
Sad.

I don't have a preteen DD, but when i was 11 i was still playing with dolls and acting pretty much as a kid.
post #9 of 46
Thread Starter 
I guess I was troubled by all of this because it was all part of her daily grooming and she was so focused on this. She is only in 5th grade not in middle school.

If it is okay for an 11 to read magazines that talk about sex and that sort of thing, then is it okay for her to have sex. If not then why is this different. I know that we want our daughters to well educated about their options and consequences but is this really approapriate. By exposing them to it in this manner at such a young age are we inadvertently telling them that it is okay for them to do these things and act this way? I'm not saying they should not know about these things, but maybe parents should step up to the plate and teach them in a respectable way. Sex sure is a great and wonderful thing, but it is not a game or a mere pasttime event as it is portrayed in Cosmo..
post #10 of 46
My dd just turned 11 2 days a go and has had her period for half a year and has been dying her hair for much much longer than that. She wears nail polish and since she is tall she and reasonably developed she wears womens versus girls clothes. She does not have an eating disorder and we have full communication. Although she does not often read teen she does read all of my magazines and understands that half of it is crap but the pictures are fun. I really don't think that nail polish and "skanky" (very open to interpretation) clothes are the problem with our youth. So much more complicated than that.
post #11 of 46
BTW- I have just as much of a problem with a lot of those little girl toys. I'm thankful that my dd never played with american girl and mostly chopped up her barbies. She likes music and creating pages on youtube all totally fine activities to me.
post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2mama View Post
If it is okay for an 11 to read magazines that talk about sex and that sort of thing, then is it okay for her to have sex.
There's a pretty big gap between reading and doing. I can admit that I might be concerned about what might be read in Cosmo or the like, but I'd just try to share my concerns about that. At 11 I think knowing about sex isn't just acceptable, it's important. Obviously, we want to make sure that we are loading kids with info they aren't ready for, but I don't think it's mindful to censor info about sex either. In other words it's possible for her check out a Cosmo AND get positive, accurate, healthy info about sex.
post #13 of 46
What a sad time we live in where even 11 years old are feeling so much pressure to look a certain way they are developing eating disorders.

That being said. Reading Cosmo isn't the same as having sex. I read a lot of stuff when I was that age that people probably thought was age-innapropriate including Cosmo and other stuff like Anais Nin.

I had a friend who was shielded from things about sex etc. and wasn't allowed to read Cosmo.

One day this friend asked me what a clitoris was and I was able to answer her because of my reading.

Its also sad to live in a time when women are so uneducated about their own bodies they don't even know the names of all their parts.
post #14 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
Other than the "skanky" clothes(which may or may not be depending on an individual's perception of "skanky") everything out sounds normal to me. When I was 11 I read teen magazines, wore makeup, my hair wasn't highlighted but it'd been permed by then. I don't remember everything I wore but I do know I wore crop top shirts that my mom made for me, they were the "in" thing at the time.

honestly some of your dd's peers are most likely reading & doing this stuff now. My 9yo had her hair highlighted when she was 6, she's now saving up to have her hair dyed. IMO it's no different than the perm my mom let me have when I was 9. There are girls in my dd's class, younger & older who have highlights of varying colours.
And I think stuff like this...the sexualization of children...is the exact reason that the US has such a high incidence of eating disorders in little girls.

Just because it's common does not make it ok.
post #15 of 46
As per Cosmo- yes, it is trashy and inappropriate. But is it worth saying "no" to?

I think many girls, if left on their own, or if they speak to their moms about the content of Cosmo, may very well choose (after their curiousity is sated)that it is a crappy magazine and will let it go on their own.

My DS, 12, is into watching this really crappy cartoon violence thing. I do not like it. I have told him why -and now I am trying to bite my tongue. I am pretty sure he will let it go on its own after a while - it is that stupid of a show.

Last thought- this child was admitted for an eating disorder. Eating disorders are largely about control. I would be very careful in imposing my control if I had a child with an eating disorder. I think it is important to model not being over controlling.

PS. I read Harlequins starting around age 13. DTD the first time? 18. Reading and doing things are very different and do not necessaqrily co-relate.

Kathy
post #16 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeBeans View Post
And I think stuff like this...the sexualization of children...is the exact reason that the US has such a high incidence of eating disorders in little girls.

Just because it's common does not make it ok.
I was 16 when I came to the US, and I didn't even know what Eating Disorder was.

Now I teach 6th grade math. Girls who come in with eye-shadows, bright lipstick, bright nail polish (it's always peeling off), and highlights in their hair look trashy and stand out. Most of the girls at 11 (at least in our area) still look like kids, and 3-4 girls that try to dress/look older appear like they've been forced to do it; they look silly as if they are playing "dress up like an adult" game. It looks silly and disturbing at the same time. They do stand out, and none of the kids I can think of that dress like that have healthy self-esteem.

On a more personal note, it might work for someone else's kid, but not for our family. I have to admit, I have met a girl who was allowed to do all of these things from a very young age, and she seems confident and healthy, but by far she is an exception and not the rule. I would never send my kid to school in high heels, too-short of a mini-skirt, or a questionable, revealing top. Aside from esthetic reasons, I wouldn't dye their hair as it is adding chemicals to the body of a developing 11 y.o. I'm ok with "playing" with nail polish at a party or a sleep over, but I'm not ok with it being the norm in our house at that age.

My :



P.S. Great topic.
post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa View Post
There's a pretty big gap between reading and doing. I can admit that I might be concerned about what might be read in Cosmo or the like, but I'd just try to share my concerns about that. At 11 I think knowing about sex isn't just acceptable, it's important. Obviously, we want to make sure that we are loading kids with info they aren't ready for, but I don't think it's mindful to censor info about sex either. In other words it's possible for her check out a Cosmo AND get positive, accurate, healthy info about sex.
Certainly there are healthier ways to discuss sexuality than by reading Cosmo at 11. Cosmo is not written for 11 y.o. girls. I as well believe that knowing about sex at this age is important and more than acceptable, but by no means do I want my kid learning about it from a magazine like that. I have no problems with girls reading teenage magazines when they are teenagers. I do have a problem with elementary school kids reading teenage or even adult magazines with sexual topics. What's the rush?

I am all for open communication, and listening to what you child has to say, but interesting question to answer is, WHY do our kids feel like they need to grow up before their body and mind does? WHY does an 11 y.o. wants to appear sexual? And WHY as a parent would I go along with it instead of discussing and encouraging the alternative with my kid?
post #18 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggysmama View Post
What a sad time we live in where even 11 years old are feeling so much pressure to look a certain way they are developing eating disorders.
But what is the incidence of eating disorders among adolescent girls? I hear so much about anorexia and bullimia but honestly, when I look around (at least here in Ohio), I see far more adolescents who are overweight or obese than look anorexic.

Just because there may not be many girls with eating disorders doesn't mean that this is not a serious problem for them but from what I see, not very many girls are feeling enough pressure to be thin to develop an eating disorder.
post #19 of 46
Quote:
Certainly there are healthier ways to discuss sexuality than by reading Cosmo at 11.
I think we're talking about Cosmo Girl, which isn't the same as the Cosmo for women. I've never read it but I see it on newstands. I read Seventeen at that age. I didn't know what the hell most of it was, but I read it

I don't mind bright nail polish on short nails (like orange, pink, glitter) or colored high lights for fun (pink, blue, green), and I don't mind different or "weird" clothes or funky clothes that aren't childish. I DO get a little queasy when I see french manicures, bleach blonds, spray tan, and skimpy clothes on younger girls. It just doesn't sit well with me.
post #20 of 46
I don't care one way or the other about hair/nails/makeup. I think they aren't a big deal. My big pet peeve is around clothing. I am an extremely conservative dresser and I freely admit that most of that comes from childhood sexual assault and control issues around my body.

I think that we live in a society that encourages young girls to be sexualized and viewed as sexual. I think that the clothing you wear influences how people see you. I think that encouraging males to look at a girl in a sexual way is dangerous. I don't need for girls to dress as conservatively as I do (I know that I am pretty extreme) but I'm not ok with girls going out in clothing that looks like a prostitute would wear it. I don't think that means that all non-covering clothing looks skanky. I think that a little girl wearing a crop top under overalls probably doesn't look adult/sexual. I think that wearing a crop top and a mini-skirt is crossing a line. (I have my own personal bias against mini-skirts in general and I pray my daughters don't want them. It's going to be a struggle for me to let them wear them.)

On the other hand I can't make my kids the victim of my own baggage. I'm going to explain to my daughters why wearing that sort of clothing freaks me out, but I'm going to ask them to please respect me and my opinions and not wear it. I'm not going to forbid it.

*cross fingers that this works out*
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