“Our worldly culture is exposing our girls to situations they are not equipped to handle. They are being forced to grow up too fast.” Vicky Courtney
I’ve been shocked more and more over the years with the amount of adult attitudes that little girls express, the physical attributes they copy, and the material items they possess. Why does an eight-year-old need a Facebook page (especially when the rule is age 13)? Why does a third-grader need an iPhone? Why does a sixth-grader need thong underwear?
Because everyone else is doing it. Because it makes them feel grown-up.
But then what do they have to look forward to when they get older?
When I spoke to a couple other moms about giving children cell phones, I was told that’s how kids these days communicate now and you’ll alienate your child if you don’t get them a phone. I struggled because I don’t want my daughter to feel left out or be teased for being behind-the-times. In my opinion, a phone is not a toy – it’s a necessary means of communication for busy families. To be sure my child understands the responsibility, we would need to discuss what content is appropriate for texts/calls, the timing and people she’s allowed to contact, and being careful with photos. Should we put that much responsibility on her at this age? Do I really want to spend that much money just so my child can fit in with the crowd? Is it that important to her self-esteem?
Eventually my husband and I decided our daughter must wait until middle school for a phone. It gives her something to look forward to, and she understands our reasons for making her wait. While she doesn’t like it, she accepted our explanation. We’ve worked hard to keep open communication with our children and explain to them that because of our faith in God, sometimes we have to set different limitations then that of their friends. In her book Your Girl, Vicky Courtney states “As mothers, we must accept the reality of current times and live in today’s world, all the while doing all we can to influence tomorrow.”
So when do we allow the transition from a toy phone to an iPhone, from play make-up to real makeup, from ponytails to layered haircuts with dyed stripes? While each mom must make the choice based on her own daughter’s personality and the family’s values, I would encourage you to really consider the motive behind your child’s interest in the item before handing it over.
I’m encouraging my children to enjoy their childhood, to be content with where they are now, to be willing to wait. There is plenty of time for that grown-up stuff later.
©Jen Cudmore, 2013 ___ Subscribe to my blog or my email newsletter on the right side of the page!