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pushing teenagehood younger and younger

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
Has anyone else noticed that society has been pushing the concept of teenagehood younger and younger?

I haven't quite put my finger on how and why this is happening. And I didn't specifically notice it when dd was younger, but now when I look back on it I see it. Mostly from my mom.


Random example: I remember her buying dd those little camisole bra and panties sets at about 8ish. I wasn't on the shopping trip. And I don't have a problem with kids having them if they want them. But just the fact that they exist seems to be a push to make younger kids older than they are.

In our case I am sure they were all my moms idea. DD has never been into that stuff and my mom has poor personal boundaries and was pushy like this with me.

But now it's getting really pervasive. And I'm not specifically talking about clothes but it seems expectations have significantly changed.

I think I was pretty much out of the loop due to HSing and our limited TV watching ect so we have been out of the cultural loop quite a bit. We don't limited access to tv it's just that dd was never into the shows like Hanna Montana ( or whatever would have been on 10 years ago when she was that target age ) I guess it would have been Cheetah Girls or something? I remember her friends grandma mentioning that show.

I don't know, just a ramble.
post #2 of 67
I think it's always been there underneath, like in adults thinking it's all cutsie when kids have "boyfriends" and "girlfriends" and encouraging that kind of stuff. But IMO clothing companies, etc., finally figured out the 'tweens were a good marketing target for this kind of merch, making it more acceptable to everyone else, and the more acceptable it becomes to parents, the more they're make in the way of inappropriate items. I'm just comforted that at least there was some outcry over Abercrombie's thong for girls awhile back. Though it's hardly slowed them down.
post #3 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
Has anyone else noticed that society has been pushing the concept of teenagehood younger and younger?
Random example: I remember her buying dd those little camisole bra and panties sets at about 8ish. I wasn't on the shopping trip. And I don't have a problem with kids having them if they want them. But just the fact that they exist seems to be a push to make younger kids older than they are.


I don't know, just a ramble.
Gosh, I wore white cotton undershirts and panties up to my waist when I was 8.
Yes, teenage-hood is happening earlier. Some of it may be inevitable. Our kids have access to the entire world now.
When I was a kid, my parents were passionately involved in politics but I didn't have a clue. 13 yo DD is all over the election. She knows the issues and is making some pretty mature observations and drawing sophisticated conclusions.
Through the internet she has learned about how most of the world's citizens don't have access to clean drinking water. She is launching a project for her Bat Mitzvah to raise $5000 so Engineers without Borders can bring a clean water system to a village in a developing nation. I don't share this to brag about her. I know many of her peers who are equally passionate about causes and take action. They are years ahead of me at that age.
I think that element of kids maturing a little earlier is good. It creates global citizens.
Now, the sexualizing stuff I hate. I mean what 13 yo needs a padded push up demi-cup bra? :
post #4 of 67
Heck, I'm even annoyed when I see skirts that don't have those built in shorts, in sizes for 2 to 6 year olds! Little girls don't know or aren't taught to keep their behinds out of public display and clothing companies must just think it's cute for 5 year old girls to be hanging upside down on the monkey bars at school showing their underwear to fellow students, recess aids, and passers by.

Not cute at all! We can't be too careful with the youngins these days. But, it does all come down to parents. No one forces anyone to buy the skimpy clothes or to watch the teen and adult TV shows.

It wasn't that long ago that I was "a kid" but, I can certainly say it's gotten exponentially worse since then. Part is not to do with expanding what kids and teens can do and be around but what us, as adults allow ourselves to do and be around. The farther we push casual sex and related issues around as being funny, entertaining, or nessesary, in public forum (or in the home), telivision, and culture the farthur our children will follow without us noticing or making changes.

Sad but, true.

Do as I say, not as I do attitude just doesn't work. That is why I am an example for my child. That way when she sees something else she isn't able to say, "hmmm, mom does that too, so I guess it's ok." I may wear more makeup than I'd like my daughter to wear (when she is old enough to wear it that is) and maybe I eat a lot of cakes and desserts that don't set a totally healthy example but, myself and my hubby don't drink, do drugs, smoke, use bad language, or allow other to do so around our child. I think thats important. Sooner or later your kids figure out everything you do and they WILL use that as an excuse to do the same. They shouldn't.... but they do. Darn kids... why do they have to figure stuff out?
post #5 of 67
Quote:
Little girls don't know or aren't taught to keep their behinds out of public display and clothing companies must just think it's cute for 5 year old girls to be hanging upside down on the monkey bars at school showing their underwear to fellow students, recess aids, and passers by.
I don't recall there being a whole lot of skorts available when we were kids. Most of the skirts available for my kids are skorts.

Part of the issue, imo, is parents who are holding their kids back so they're the oldest in the class. This is brining higher maturity down to younger grades. My dd is in Grade 4. At least 3 kids in her class are 11, have AF, wear makeup, definitly have breasts & wear bras. The other 12-13 kids in her class are 9 or just turned 10. The ones who are 11 are on a much different maturity level than my dd who is 9 just becuase they're 2 years older.

I remember looking through the sears catalogues & seeing the camisole bras/panties for younger girls, some NEEDED them(bra in general) at 8. now it was definitly not as many who needed them at 8 as there is now but it was there.

Some of it I think we notice because we're adults now. More & more people have either cable or satellites than before so there is more access to shows that may not have been available on peasant vision. Add in internet now too.

The magazines, idols, even some of the clothes are the same just with a different face or name.
post #6 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
I don't recall there being a whole lot of skorts available when we were kids.
No, but since I've had a dd, both my mom and my mil have repeatedly voiced their distress that skirts don't come with matching bloomers anymore! They seek out the few that do, and my mom was even all excited to find some plain ones for her to "wear with everything!"
post #7 of 67
Thread Starter 
It's not specifically clothing that is the issue. Clothing is a byproduct of our culture that is pushing kids to be older than they are.

I remember at 13 my mom buying me black satin wrap around pants. And this was in the 70s. I'd forgotten about it until now. But the issue is parents ( they are the one buying the stuff ) pushing their kids to be older than they are. I know none of my peers were crying for those pants. I think I only wore them out in public like 1-2 times and then I quit. I couldn't sit down in them without showing my whole leg up to underwear and I didn't ask for them or really want them. But my mom thought they were cool and she wanted me to have them.

My mom tried to do the same with dd, ( obviously not with the same pants ) but I stopped that. Not because I have an issue with kids clothing in general but because it was more about my mom using me and trying to use her as her personal barbie doll.

I don't like the forced bras. I refused to do it and dd never wears a bra now, even though she wanted to try them when she was younger and I bought them for her. Now she never wears one by her own choice.

Since I started this thread I started remembering things I had forgotten about my own teenage years.
post #8 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
I don't recall there being a whole lot of skorts available when we were kids. Most of the skirts available for my kids are skorts.
When I was a kid one my teachers required girls to wear shorts under their dresses. Of course this was back in the day when dresses were expected attire for grade schoolers
post #9 of 67
Short skirts are new? This is from the 1930's:

http://www.filmreference.com/images/sjff_03_img1366.jpg
post #10 of 67
UUMom- that dress very likely came with matching "bloomers" or shorts of some sort.

DD2 had her first 'bra" at age 3- I took her to the store to pick out panties in the hope of encouraging her to use the toilet, and she selected a matching "bra" (half undershirt) and panty set, among others. She was very upset when I wouldn't let her wear the bra with her pullups! I insisted she stay dry all day before wearing any of the new undies!

That was purely a case of a tiny girl wanting to dress like Mommy- no "preteen" stuff going on there!

And when I was about 10 I wanted Wonderoos because some of the styles came with "bra like" tops instead of "undershirt like" tops- I don't think that a girl's desire to grow up and dress like a woman before her body is quite ready yet is anything new. I think that there's more materialism in general, more items being made and sold, so lots of things that would have been "wish list" material in the past become "shopping list" items now.

I don't see the problem with padded bras for preteens or young teens who are starting to develop- DD1 was very sensitive to her nipples showing through clothing, and would literally wear 4-5 layers for "modesty" (sports bra, undershirt with built in bra or 2 undershirts, another layering T, then her shirt, or one less "underlayer" if she wore a sweater or sweatshirt that day) before I bought her some padded bras.

And once you're getting into "demi cup pushup bra" then you're overlapping sizes with petite adults. Most "teen bras" go up to a B while there are slender adults who wear an A or even a AA.

I have to wonder how much of this "early adolescence" is really a case of little girls acting like teenagers, and how much of it is simply that they're wearing different styles of clothes and don't really "mean anything" by it. I don't think an 8yo child is any less innocent if she's dressing like Hannah Montana than if she's dressing like Marcia Brady. Besides, Hannah Montana is quite an innocent show, and from what I've seen in interviews, Miley seems like a genuinely nice kid. So what if the clothes are a little flamboyant?
post #11 of 67
I dont see any bloomers. And even if there were matching panties...what's the difference in the color of the undies? It's still short. lol You can see through the first dress layer, under which is an ever shorter layer.

I agree that clothing is not the issue, at any rate.
post #12 of 67
My almost 16 yr old has red streaks of manic panic in her hair. And right now she is playing hot wheels cars with her sister and toddler nephew and having a grand time.

It's not about looks...it's simply not. Experimentation on the outside--- to look like mommy or have fun with hair color or what-have-you, does not change the inner life of a person. The outside may change in response to inner changes, but the inner person does not change because of playful experiementation. Wanting to play grown- up with mommy's bra or wear thong like mommy doesn't actually mean you want to take on the role of adult for good. Even mommy mostly wears the thong so she don't have pany lines.
post #13 of 67
Personally I believe this extended childhood we force upon people in our society is what's unnatural. In the old days you were a woman once you got your period.. still in many societies girls are married and having babies at 13. While I don't think there's anything positive about that, I believe people over the age of 12 should have a LOT more autonomy then they are allowed.

I think teenagers today would be a lot less frustrated and rebellious if they had some control over their lives, instead of having no options until they are out of high school, and being called 'kids' until they were 25 years old.

Children that are even younger than that are capable of managing a lot of their own affairs if they are given the option. Not to say we should be shoving our kids out into the world to fend for themselves.. I'm just saying a lot of things need to change, and I think if they did, teens would step up and make important choices for themselves.

Of course I think most pop culture stuff is just awful, and no, pre-teens shouldn't be sexualized and spend all their time obessing about their looks.
post #14 of 67
Thread Starter 
Well ITA about teens having more control over their lives. I think kids in general should have more control over their lives and their opinions considered. That is why we are a CL family. It's also why I'm not talking about child led decisions here. I'm talking about anyone other than the child doing the urging or making the assumptions.
post #15 of 67
I certainly wasn't trying to say anything negative about you Arduinna. My hat goes off to any family who practices CL.. it's an amazing thing to do.

My point I guess is that it ebbs and flows. Overall I don't see much of a difference in kid's clothes. Trends are trends and they trickle down. My 9-year-old mom was wearing mini skirts in the late 60s, same as her grown sisters. There are a lot of bras in kids sizes, but then kids are developing a little earlier these days. I did notice at Old Navy, all the stretchy kid's tank tops have a shelf bra included. Even size 6! That seems a little strange to me.. are they concerned about show-through?

I'm 22 and I don't see much of a difference in what the pre-teens are doing now. When I was their age the Spice Girls had just come out, it was difficult to find shirts that didn't show your belly, everyone in my 5th grade class except me was wearing a bra whether they needed it or not, and everyone had boyfriends and girlfriends, and spent a lot of time talking about it, and dancing like N*Sync. Seems pretty much the same with my BF's 11-year-old niece this year.. at least Hannah Montana is a better role model than Britney Spears was to my generation.

I guess I'm just talking about the effect of popular culture here, which not all kids are exposed to. I think when kids see all kinds of tv, movies and marketing towards teens, they are more likely to want the same things themselves..

Quote:
Heck, I'm even annoyed when I see skirts that don't have those built in shorts, in sizes for 2 to 6 year olds! Little girls don't know or aren't taught to keep their behinds out of public display and clothing companies must just think it's cute for 5 year old girls to be hanging upside down on the monkey bars at school showing their underwear to fellow students, recess aids, and passers by.
I'm confused by this statement. 30 or 50 years ago all girls were wearing skirts to school every day. Most girls I see nowwear pants the majority of the time. I don't have a problem with a 5-year-old showing her underwear. It's a 5-year-old and there is nothing sexual about her body. Just because there's a big focus on pedophiles in the media lately doesn't mean we have to teach little girls to never show their bodies. They're going to get shamed enough when they get older..
post #16 of 67
Thread Starter 
Oh I didn't think you were, it's all good
post #17 of 67
What's CL?:
post #18 of 67
I have my own bias, being that I was an early developing child and I see many many young developing girls around me. I think its great they are finnaly making underwear like that for younger girls (not the padded bras obviously), it was impossible to find anything for myself when I was budding at 8. At 11 I was wearing a 36B, and had to shop in the womens department to get it, it was humiliating and I hated the lack of "kidlike" prints.

as for lack of skorts, we had hardly any in my day as well, i wore dresses and was a tomboy, never once did I care about my underwear accidently showing while climbing a tree or hanging upside down on the monkey bars. its just a peice of underwear, who cares.
post #19 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiromamma View Post
What's CL?:
consentual living.
post #20 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by FondestBianca View Post
Heck, I'm even annoyed when I see skirts that don't have those built in shorts, in sizes for 2 to 6 year olds! Little girls don't know or aren't taught to keep their behinds out of public display and clothing companies must just think it's cute for 5 year old girls to be hanging upside down on the monkey bars at school showing their underwear to fellow students, recess aids, and passers by.
I see this quite differently. Why should a 2 or 3 year old (or even 5 year old) have to wear shorts under her skirt? The obsession with someone seeing their panties seems to me to be part of the early sexualization of children. What difference is there if a preschooler flashed her panties or flashes a pair of shorts? There is nothing sexual about the butt of a child that age. There is no curve to the hips, no rounded butt. There is no difference between a girl of that age in her undies and a boy.
I was in primary school in the early 70s, and I remember my school skirts being very short, with no shorts underneath.
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