Keeping Girls “Girls”

By , May 3, 2010 12:11 pm

One benefit of no TV that had never occurred to me when I began this experiment after the birth of my daughter nine and a half years ago, is the lack of exposure to “sexy teens!”  I am shocked sometimes when I see how some teens and tweens, dress and act.  I really am not a conservative person, in fact I consider myself to be quite liberal, but I do believe that 9 year-old girls are emotionally girls and NOT women.  What ever happened to childhood?

Some might think it backward (please don’t flame me), but I am SO relieved that my 9 1/2 year-old daughter still believes in Santa and the Tooth Fairy.  She still plays dress-up and fairies with her little sister and like-minded friends.  She is not on Facebook, nor has she ever expressed a desire to be.  Don’t berate me for “stunting” my daughter’s social and technological development.  Believe me, I am sure she will “develop socially” as soon as those hormones hit her system!  She also knows how to use a computer just fine thank you.

There are certainly many factors involved.  Her stage of physical development, her personality, and the fact that she attends a very small Montessori School all surely play a role.  But I do truly also believe that part of the fact that she has not yet become interested in “popular teen culture” is that she is not exposed to TV shows and commercials that cause her to emulate those behaviors.

My good friend friend just sent me a link to a review of an interesting-sounding book by Leonard Sax, the author of Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men.  His new book is about girls:  Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls-Sexual Identity, the Cyberbubble, Obsessions, Environmental Toxins.  I urge you to read the review and see what you think.

Meanwhile, I hope that my little girls stay little girls for as long as they need to.

17 Responses to “Keeping Girls “Girls””

  1. Debbie says:

    I have 3 girls (6 1/2, 5, 10mnths) and I couldn’t agree more with you on letting them stay little girls for as long as they need to. You are not backward! Our girls will mature when they are ready to, not when society/media dictates to us. It’s nice to know that there are like-minded people out there!

    My recent post on a similar subject:
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..Choices, choices, choices =-.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Summerm. Summerm said: Sharing: Keeping Girls “Girls” […]

  3. Brandie says:

    My 10 year old (and 7 year old) daughters would get along perfectly with yours – they still believe in Santa and the tooth fairy, still play lots of imaginations/dress-up games and play with dolls (which last summer we hit a rocky period because the neighbors said dolls were for babies so they weren’t sure to keep playing or not. Thankfully they did!) They aren’t on facebook and don’t have phones to text their friends with either. Frankly I love it. You’re right – they will hit an age and jump into growing up way too fast. So for now, I love that she’s not rushing in. I love that she doesn’t view life as a race to be the most grown-up. I really do just love it.
    .-= Brandie´s last blog ..I’m dreaming … =-.

  4. Olivia says:

    Yes, yes.. I could not agree with you more!
    .-= Olivia´s last blog ..A Huge Moth =-.

  5. Phyllis says:

    I agree that it is much harder for girls and my now 19 year old has trouble finding other young ladies that she can relate to for the same reason. Although she, of course, is interested in young men, she is modest and wholesome and I am afraid that this is so rare these days.
    I also have four boys and I see that the lack of childhood is also present with boys. Our society leaves little room for childhood. I carve out a childhood for them, but it certainly means avoiding much of what is offered to typical kids, including television.

  6. Teresa says:

    I also read and mentioned Leonard Sax’s book on my blog and heard about his new book today on NPR. After seeing the prom dresses my son’s classmates were wearing this weekend, I see the need for more active parenting. We need to set the boundaries. As we Montessori teachers always say: “freedom within limits.” Those are limits that we need to be setting, not letting popular culture dictate to our children. You go girl!

  7. Even though I have two boys, I cringe when I think about the sexification (is that a word?)of the young girls around them and in the media (you can’t avoid the print advertising in NYC, even with the TV off). I want them to grow up thinking of girls as girls, not as women! Of course boys present an entirely different set of challenges….
    .-= Mom and Kiddo´s last blog ..Sensory Fun in the Bath =-.

  8. Michelle says:

    I am so with you on this…I raved to all and sundry in a store selling children’s clothes at how disgusted I was with the summer range. Who on earth designs shorts for little 8 year olds that have half their behinds hanging out the bottom..they were cut that way..!!!:-0 My darling precious is a real girly girl and I will fight for her to remain so. The poor kid was harrassed into remembering all the cast of Hannah Montanna and had to recite their names before she was let free …hannah who?? Ok Im venting here and thank you very much for raising the issue and letting us raise our voices in protest. Im a liberal minded mum but let girls be girls and boys just be boys. smiles Michelle

  9. Linda says:

    I love what you had to say about protecting girls from the “hurried child” syndrome. Childhood is such a precious time and an important state of mind prior to maturity. Thank you for suggesting Leonard Sax. Looks like an excellent resource for all of us.

  10. Audrey says:

    While we do have television we do limit what Squirt watches as well as what other people’s children watch within our home. I often hear “But we let her/him watch that at home”. I have noticed – being the only homeschooling family within a 9 block radius (and Squirt is not allowed to walk further than a block without Mom or Dad with him) that we get a lot of “tied to the apron strings” kind of comments and told to “let him grow up”. He is only eight! WHY do I have to “let him grow up”? I like having a child who acts, thinks and believes like a CHILD because that is exactly what he is. I look at how some of the other children in the neighbourhood behave – 8 yr olds wearing short shorts and half shirts and bright pink lip gloss or boys wearing t shirts that sprout out rude and obnoxious sayings – and the words that sprout from these childrens lips and the talk of “can’t wait until I’m 11 and can neck with my boyfriend!” (scary scary stuff in MHO!!) and I am glad my son’s only thought is “Will Santa bring me a new DS for Christmas?” or “I lost another tooth so the tooth fairy is going to come tonight!”. Immature…maybe. BUT he is a CHILD!
    .-= Audrey´s last blog ..May the Fourth Be With You =-.

  11. chicken shed says:

    Well we have a tv, but I’ve always educated my kids about what they are watching and got them to question what they see and read in books, magazines, on tv or the internet. Just because someone says something doesn’t mean it is true or accurate. And as for advertising…well our mantra is ‘if you really needed it, then they wouldn’t have to advertise it’.

    Nope, I like to think that my kids are fairly savvy about the modern world and confident enough to reject the stuff around them that they know in their heart isn’t good for them. I think home educating helps. The peer pressure is so much less and there is less pressure on me too. Kids need time and space to grow up at their own pace.
    .-= chicken shed´s last blog ..The 3 little pigs learn to survive like Bear Grylls while mother contemplates politics =-.

  12. Linda says:

    We have TV also and although my kids love watching Disney I do limit their exposure time. We do talk about the fact that TV is not real and how things done on it are meant to entertain us not to be followed. (Don’t do this at home)

    My kids even complain about the clothes. My 10 (almost 11) year old has morphed into woman’s clothes because I refuse to take her to the Junior section, which by the way she can’t wear most of it because the tops accentuate something she hasn’t grown yet (if you know what I mean).

    Continued conversation and being open and talking about the world’s influences are the way we are combating these issues.

    Although my 10 year old knows about Santa, etc. and figured it out on her own when she was 9. She plays along for her little sister. My youngest will figure it out when the time is right for her.

    I will agree that television, books and magazines do portray

  13. Daria says:

    I absolutely CRINGE when I see the current teenage Disney star at award events wearing very sexy clothes. Of course the latest prom dresses will reflect that because so many girls look to her as someone they want to be like. I know that by the time my six year old daughter is a teen, this singer/actress will be in her late twenties and not so much a threat, but, alas, there will be someone else to take her place, probably even worse. Sigh.

  14. Donna says:

    There’s a great book on this topic called Save the Males: Why Men Matter & Women Should Care, by Kathleen Parker. It’s an excellent look at the impact our popular culture is having upon our kids, not just the boys but since they’re the future husbands & dads, it effects the girls in a major way as well. I highly recommend this quick read!

  15. Mom Unplugged says:

    This sounds like a really interesting read. Thanks so much for the recommendation Donna!

  16. Donna says:

    The thing I liked most about this book was that I couldn’t tell the author’s political affiliation. The only axe she was grinding was the defense of our men & boys. It was a very interesting read, though I’ll admit I had already noticed the leaning in our society to assume men are dumb (commercials are horrific!) but there was a lot of different stuff in there, stuff that surprised even me, an Air Force veteran and someone who was never sheltered. This is a must-read for moms of boys, but honestly I think all moms would do well to read this as it directly applies to our girls as well … it might help us to stop the unnoticed behaviors we, ourselves, might have that emasculate our own beloved men & boys. At any rate, I got it on a whim at my library & really enjoyed it. My husband started reading it as well. The author is a journalist so it’s an easy read (well-written & phrased) that is truly enlightening.

  17. Mom Unplugged says:

    That would be so refreshing to read something without any political motivation showing through! I’ll definitely be looking out for it.

    As a mother of two girls and a boy in the middle, I think it would be very interesting and maybe even helpful. Sometimes my poor son just seems defeated by all the overwhelming femininity around him. Perhaps we family majority females (plus my minority husband) all need a bit of enlightening.

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