Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kids Growing Up Too Fast

Is 10 the new 15? Yes say parents and psychologists:

But as the limits have been pushed, experts say the stakes are also higher — with parents and tweens having to deal with very grown-up issues such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Earlier this year, that point hit home when federal officials recommended a vaccine for HPV — a common STD that can lead to cervical cancer — for girls as young as age 9.

"Physically, they're adults, but cognitively, they're children," says Alderman, the physician in New York. She's found that cultural influences have affected her own children, too.

Are you kidding me? I must be hopelessly naive. A nine-year old having sex? Where, pray tell, is a nine-year old alone to have sex?

The "adultification" (my new word) of kids is appalling. Here is an example:
Claire Unterseher, a mother in Chicago, says she only allows her children — including an 8-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter — to watch public television.

And yet, already, they're coming home from school asking to download songs she considers more appropriate for teens.

Guess what? My kids don't have an iPod (I do though) and they don't get to download music (I do though). I figure when they start earning money they can download music--you know downloading involves buying something. That takes money. Whose money?

It's subtle. Changing the argument from if it's OK to how to experience it. No one is asking if the act of going to iTunes and spending someone else's money is appropriate or not. It's assumed that it is perfectly normal for an eight year-old to navigate the web sans parent involvement--oh, except for mom and dad's bank card.

Are you kidding me? Maybe it's my excessive time spent on the web, but it's no place for a child unchaperoned. I'm not sure it's a place for teenagers unchaperoned.

I'm a fuddy-duddy. Mean, even. The TV is off-limits except for sporting events and we change the channels during commercials. All videos are filtered through boring old mom and dad. The kids do not get to watch videos in open-minded bliss. We've ruined Pocohantas for them--it's politically correct, factually incorrect (interesting how that goes hand-in-hand) clap trap. The kids know it. We don't own that video, by the way.

Even still, my seven year old daughter talks like a Valley Girl some days. She says she has to be "tough" at school. In second grade.

I feel like parents are conceding ground to the dark side. It is assumed a kid will be sexually exploited--magazines, web, peer influence. It is assumed a kid will act out on what he or she sees or hears. It is assumed that children will become little adults, celebrated even, at 10.

Well this parent concedes nothing. Parents, friends, push back. Be the bad guy. Turn off the TV. Nix the computer time. Say no to adultification and say yes to keeping kids kids.

Doesn't adulthood come soon enough?


Anonymous said...

you may want to re-look at the new version movie you have in your office on the little rascles. some stuff on there is VERY inappropriate. i turned it off when i was there, because it was offensive.

Dr. Melissa said...

I hope you talked to Cindy about it. We get video and magazine donations from patients sometimes and don't always know what we're getting.

Anonymous said...

It's been there when Joan was still there. No, I've never said anything about it to Steve or Joan because I didn't want to step on anyones toes.