Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Keeping Childhood Special, Maintaining Innocence, and other musings...

As a mother of two girls, I have been swarmed with comments on "why don't you paint their nails?" or, "why aren't their ears pierced?".

Today's society attempts to rush children through childhood, and even attempt to make them look like mini-adults.  Short skirts, brightly colored fingernails, ear piercings, and even makeup are becoming the "norm" on today's children.  It is unbelieveably sad, and often boggles my mind when I see itty bitty babes with holes in their ears, or little girls with acrylic nails and lipstick on. 

And then I remember that I was, for a short period, one of those parents.  I had N when I was 17 years old.  I knew nothing of natural unconditional parenting, or letting my daughter make her own choices about her body.  She had her ears pierced at 7 months old.  She had them repierced at 10 months old when one was snagged by the neck of her shirt, lost, and the hole closed!  She had trendy, adult-like outfits that restricted her play and movement quite a bit.  As she grew older, earrings were lost, clothes became noticeably uncomfortable, and I "woke up".  Her ears weren't pierced again, and she began wearing comfy clothing.  She was a happier child! 

I have recently started painting N's nails, but only for very special occasions and only nude colors.  Still, I see little girls on the playground with gaudy fake nails, who aren't able to climb and jump or frolic around because they're overly cautious about the adornments on their hands.  I have even heard parents refer to their children as "more beautiful" with their makeup on, hair done, etc.  It is such a shame.  How can we raise healthy children who think well of themselves and have any ounce of self esteem if we treat them this way?!

Boys aren't exempt from this adult-like treatment either.  Our society (myself included) has a habit of referring to a boy as a "little man".  I have recently pondered this and realized how "off" it seems.  Boys are also rushed into romance- parents joke at girl playmates as their "girlfriends".  What more of a way to make a little boy uncomfortable around his peers?!  Little boys are rushed to play with guns and play sports, and are often pushed away from using their imaginations in open-ended play.  How many mainstream families do you know that let their little boys play with baby dolls?  I'll also never understand the trend to dress boys in camoflauge.  I have a ton of respect for our men overseas- but why dress your child as just that- a man?

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