Monday, November 27, 2006

10 is the new 15

Hello everyone! I enjoyed my blogging break so much, but I'm anxious to catch up with all of you!

I'm pondering my own Thanksgiving holiday, a few pounds heavier and under a few more loads of laundry than usual (but oh, so worth it!).

While my thoughts simmer, I thought I'd pass on this article, no news for those of us with tweens (or for those of us reading Margin and Overload Syndrome), but fodder for thought as we head into gift-giving season. Here's a bit of why 10 is the new 15:

Several published studies have found, for instance, that some tweens' bodies are developing faster, with more girls starting menstruation in elementary school — a result doctors often attribute to improved nutrition and, in some cases, obesity. While boys are still being studied, the findings about girls have caused some endocrinologists to lower the limits of early breast development to first or second grade.

Along with that, even young children are having to deal with peer pressure and other societal influences.

Beyond the drugs, sex and rock'n'roll their boomer and Gen X parents navigated, technology and consumerism have accelerated the pace of life, giving kids easy access to influences that may or may not be parent-approved. Sex, violence and foul language that used to be relegated to late-night viewing and R-rated movies are expected fixtures in everyday TV.

And many tweens model what they see, including common plot lines "where the kids are really running the house, not the dysfunctional parents," says Plante, who in addition to being Zach's dad is a psychology professor at Santa Clara University in California's Silicon Valley.

While I'm folding laundry today, I'll be thinking of ways I've let today's culture "grow my kids up" too fast, and what I can do about it.

How about you?


Anonymous said...

Wow interesting article. I am glad to hear you had a great Thanksgiving, I still have to unpack.

Anonymous said...

I read this same article, and because I have 15, 13, and 11 year old daughters, I had to stop and think about how this is affecting them. Have I let them grow up too fast? Hmmmm. Something to think about!

Andrea said...

Welcome back.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and plans on how to overcome the influences in our children's life.
You always have good, practical advice.

Anonymous said...

Makes me even more intent on raising my children myself (with hubby, I mean).
Nobody can tell me that it would be better to expose them to the world. This is my time to influence, guide, and love.
And I think everyone can agree, even those in the secular world, that things are not looking good for our kids. Why would I subject them to that?
Thanks - as always, thought provoking!

Susanne said...

Wow, absolutely. It surrounds them on all points trying to make them grow up way too fast. Something to really think over.

Glad your Thanksgiving was great!

Code Yellow Mom said...

So interesting that you brought htis up today - Just exchanged an e-mail with my SIL who has a little girl the same age as my oldest (4). She said her daughter pretty much wants everything she sees on the commercials that come on between episodes of SpongeBob. That made me pause for a minute and quickly evaluate what my kids take in on TV, what it makes them want, and how it influences lots of their development - from sense of humor to sense of right to the feeling of "needing" more grown-up toys, etc.

Childhood and innocence are so fleeting and when we let them become eroded or mistakenly believe that our kids will be exposed to it one way or another, we might as well go along with it, we are not helping wholesome, functional maturity develop at all.

I'll risk having my children being a little socially behind when they're young because of family and personal standards of behavior and dress because I think it means that they will be grounded, healthy and spiritually strong adults later, because they didn't skip or rush over natural developmental milestones. Which is what being a parent is really about: growing children whose self-worth is from inside and not from what the world tells them they should be, do or have.

Anonymous said...

Great post... lots to think about and like Andrea said, I'm anxious to hear what you've come up with. TV is something we definitely want to cut back on in our household, we've recently discovered what a vice it is. Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Technology (which I am using to type this) is wonderful and yet brings so much into our homes that once was never an issue. A whole lot to think about while doing laundry today!!

Gina Conroy said...

That's one of the reasons why we homeschool. I'm more afraid of the influences of the peers in public school than anything else.

I'm not afraid to address these subjects with my kids, I just want to do it when they're mature enough to handle it and I think the parents should not schools and peers should be the ones to decide.

Unknown said...

Welcome back! Oh, yes, I don't want to hear that whole puberty thing. I am convinced that my eight year old third grader is budding. Yikes!

As for how I shelter her--I monitor what goes in her head. While her other 3rd grade friends are watching Zack and Cody and Lizzie Macguire, she is still watching Noggin and Playhouse Disney for the most part (with some Discovery Kids, Cyberchase, Boomerang thrown in). I haven't seen the other shows. I don't know if anything is wrong with them, but I know that they deal with tweens. She's a young grade schooler and I want her to live in that time, and not jumping forward to junior high before its time. At first, it was in response to my rules, but now I think that she knows her boundaries, appreciates them, and so she enforces them herself gladly.

Beck said...

An 11 year old girl in my tiny town nearly died over the weekend because she passed out drunk in a ditch and was left there by her "friends." When her mother finally found her several hours later, the child had severe blood poisoning and hypothermia.
Thank God, she's going to be okay. But it's really haunting me, this lack of parental protection and how grown-up children are so young. So your post REALLY hit a chord with me.

Bethany said...

Great thoughts Katherine. I decided to share a few of my thoughts on this on my own blog. Thanks for the link to the article.

Anonymous said...

It's scary how fast kids are growing up these days, why can't they just be kids?!