Dd1 has a best friend. Her best friend is the youngest of a family of four... all the older kids are teenagers. Dd's friend is exposed to teenage sisters who are dating, watching teenager shows, etc. So I get it - she is exposed to it. But my dd1 is not. She's 6. I don't expect her to be overly concerned with boys and boyfriends. And aware of a sex act. Ugh. I had a long talk with the other mom and chatted with both girls about enjoying their childhood, don't rush the boy stuff, it will have it's turn. The other mom talked to the older sisters about watching what they say around their 6 y.o. sister.
Dd laughingly says "You look sexy!" and stuff like that. I ask her what does sexy mean? She says, "Really, really pretty." We had a talk today about what it really means (in an age appropriate way). I try to talk with dd about the media, what we see portrayed there. I think it's hard for her to be straddling two worlds: in our house we do media analysis and critique, while her friend is totally bought in to the Bratz cool-girl look and attitude. When dd is with her, they play modelling and stuff like that. Ugh. I am working my way around leaving the girls some room to just be kids, I know they are copying what they see on TV and the big girls (older sisters). But it still unsettles me to hear my little ones run around saying SEXY SEXY SEXY!!!!
I am not articulating myself very well right now because it's 2 a.m. and I'm beyond tired. Just wondering if anyone else had to deal with something like this before and what you did about it. Thanks.
We don't have cable so that avoids copying from TV (for the most part, though one of the songs on our dance central is "Hey, Mommy, You Sexy" they don't use it but have been around when we have), and our near neighbors are all around their age. But sometimes things sneak in from the outside world; some words we call "grown-up words" and they know that those are words they are not supposed to be using yet. We also tell them that just because something is seen/heard on TV doesn't mean it's ok to repeat it/act it out in real life--the children's shows we let them watch are pretty tame compared to what's out there, but dd took "What the Heck?" from Ben 10 (I think) and used it very loudly in her K class a couple of months ago.
both word since preschool.
boyfriend - i didnt say much. however dd had a boyfriend sho proposed to her and then they went to different schools and so divorced. and then dd said she doesnt want to have a boyfriend or be married because she cant make up her mind. so as of 4th grade dd is done with boyfriends and not interested in what she had been into since 4 years old.
i remember the exact moment she discovered sexy. she was 4 and heard it on the radio. and she asked her friend a 5 year old what it meant. i think he said something about a kind of look adults like and that children are not sexy. well sexy reared its head in 3rd grade when she really got it. mind you though she's known about sex since was 4 1/2. when she wanted to really know. so i told her.
so really in my world sexy and boyfriend are two words that are part of exploration. to me its in the same group as death. i dont treat it as children should be children coz i have found that is a myth. some children are not interested in adult stuff, and some like mine really thrive on the information around her. and she wants to know. and allowing her to say boyfriend and sexy and f*** is part of it.
to me childhood isnt about what they should know and not, but about exploration and discovery even of things i am not comfortable about hearing or seeing.
in the same way that dd at 5 argued with me why she cant show her tummy like the teenagers she sees walking around and why she cant wear makeup. made me really think about it myself. i took some time to explore this myself and i told her you know i dont mind it. however i dont like how society will look at you. they are going to make a judgement call on your blue lipstick and think of you as someone you clearly arent. and that really hurts my feeling. so we compromised. at home she showed her tummy. and we got pale pink eyeshadow and lip gloss that she wore everywhere. till she was done. she hasnt shown her tummy in 4 years neither has she wanted to use any makeup.
dd has always had some media exposure when we are at restuarants or visitng family or friends and everyone watches some epic show or a game. no one watches tv for the heck of noise or just there. i didnt even have to explain about the ads. she saw an ad. wanted it so we went to teh shop and came home with it. and she opened it and said "that's all?" in that moment the self discovery she made about ads was much deeper than anything i could have said. then she started asking me things about what she saw in ads and seeing the underlying message. when she saw a magazine ad for foundation she pointed out when she was 6 - mom why do women use this stuff? it doesnt change anything. you are just hiding it for a little while. why do you want to lie. i love your skin the way it is mom. why should u try to be who you are not.
my point is our children are far wiser than we give them credit for. and if we treat their curiosity in the way it deserves you turn them into questioning consumers. when dd sees a model she is not taken in by how beautiful she is. instead she points out the bones she can see.
My dd is also 6, "engaged" to her best friend, and was briefly intrigued by the word sexy when she saw a commercial for Lens Crafters or something where the eyeglasses were talking to people (we also don't have cable, but there are some shows not on PBS that she's allowed to watch, and I don't hover to censor every commercial). I have rosacea and often wear a little foundation over my nose and cheeks to tone down the redness. She also has teenage girl babysistters and enjoys sitting with a couple of 12 year olds on the bus home from school. In my opinion, these things are part of life. We have lots of light, open discussions about all variety of issues. While she has occasionally come home with some new insight that threw me for a loop (like singing the Freddy Krueger theme song- blech!), I actually love that she spends time with kids of a variety of ages, and I think that her babysitters, in particular, are pretty awesome role models. Sure, she picks on some things that I'm not wild about, but they're also strong, responsible, remarkably self-assured girls, and I think it's important for her to be able to see that and to get their insight on her "big issues" (rather than only being surrounded by other 5-6 year olds, who are still struggling with many of her same issues at the same time). For example, we're expecting a new baby in a few months, and her kindergarten friend told her that Moms only have so much love, and that now she'll only get half as much (thank you, kid- big help!)-- but her mind was set more at ease when an older girl sitting near them cut in and said that's not right- that Moms actually get more love than they had before so there will always be enough for everyone. I definitely think that the media, etc. exposes our kids to more "sexy" than is necessary (esp., imo some of the shows made FOR kids-- I can't get over those hoochie chipmunk girls waving their booties around!), but at some point we have to accept that they ARE going to see/hear things, they are going to be exposed to messages, both good and bad, that we have no control over (at school, etc.), and our job becomes not one of sheltering as much as interpreting those messages for them and helping them learn how to interpret them for themselves.
My girls do fashion shows and stuff too, but I've always enjoyed it. Their fashion shows are about their creativity, not about being 'sexy'. When one of my dd's started to use "sexy" or "hot" in discussion, we talked about how the word can mean more than just "really, really, pretty." I downplayed it and suggested other words that would be more in line with what she was trying to convey and eventually the facination with "sexy" and "hot" left.
Now, my oldest is nearly 12 and my youngest is surrounded by her and everything that comes with it. My oldest does understand discretion around her little sister, and the little one knows that certain things (priviledges AND responsibilities) come with age. We don't really have a problem with this. However, we don't watch much tv (we don't have cable) and I have never allowe bratz though they do have some barbies. However, my girls play with barbies differently that what I think of when I think of "barbies". I don't know. Maybe our whole philosophy around play is different than mainstream--actually I know it is and I can honestly say it has paid off big time when I compare my kids with more mainstream kids.
So for advise, I think you did well with what you did. Now, I would back off a bit and watch--see how it goes. You may need to bring it up again, or it may dissolve on itself. If it becomes a "big deal", it might fuel the fire. Maybe get the "Paper Bag Princess" from the library and show some non-sexy but very awesome female characters come alive.