Thursday, January 24, 2008

RM colum January 11 - Growing up too fast

RM column January 11 - Growing up too fast

never been someone who is comfortable judging other parents and their parenting skills at all. But sometimes you see or hear something and you think ‘what on earth’.

I had a moment like that over Christmas when I heard about the presents given to a seven-year-old and was absolutely shocked.

Santa was very good to the little dear when he gave her a laptop, an ipod AND a Prada phone, seriously a Prada phone.

Firstly I think seven years old is far too young for a mobile, I really do. Presumably a child at seven is not out running about so other than finding out where they are they really have no need for a phone, let alone a bling bling designer phone.

To be honest all that sounds more like the parent’s want than the child’s. How precocious does a child have to be to hope Santa brings them a Prada phone.

I really don’t want to be holier than thou about it but I cannot help myself. To be honest I am sickened by the amount of money spent on all those presents and I am sickened by the commercialism of it all.

This yen for designer stuff for children puts so much pressure on other parents and brings a whole new meaning to keeping up with the Jones.

I have been lucky that the Young Wan never pleaded and whined about where her clothes came from because I do realise that some kids now have ridiculous and expensive tastes. Besides I wouldn’t tolerate whining over clothes and labels or the lack thereof.

But I do know that some parents have completely and utterly spoiled their little dears and probably have no one but themselves to blame when the child will not wear something unless it is a designer brand.

Which brings me back to the Prada phone, bear in mind a seven-year-old is only a handful of year away from playing with a plastic toy phone and to me buying them a mobile and a designer one at that is taking away some of their innocence by allowing them to grow up that bit quicker.
We have make-up kits for pre-teens, clothes that wouldn’t be out of place in a lap dancing club and now hair removal cosmetic company Nair are marketing a range called ‘pretty’ aimed at 10 to 15 year olds.

They even have a slick website which tells kids that growing hair is all part of growing up ‘chill, you’re growing up, it’s all good’ before showcasing a range of products for these pre-pubescent kids to ‘remove unwanted hair’.

The site even has a section for ‘Mom’ where Nair advise mothers on what to tell their daughters about puberty and a myth-busting section on hair removal.

Jaysus it is tough enough being a teenager without products being aimed at them encouraging the thought that pubic hair and therefore puberty are things to be ashamed of. The thought of an 11-year-old removing hair from her, as the website puts it, ‘legs (and other part of your body)’ is ridiculous.

The site itself parades all this as if it were normal and the company parades itself as being on the child’s side, it isn’t. All they want to do is to capitalise on the tween buying power and shame on them for doing that.

It is hard enough to keep your child exactly that a child without giving them the message that there is something unnatural and horrible about the changes that are happening to them.
When we grow up we are adults for a long time, childhood doesn’t last that long. Our children should be concerned about silly things, having fun and playing games not designer phones and hair removal.

(With many thanks to the gals at for bringing the Nair website aimed at youngsters to my attention.)


Dea said...

Could not agree more redmum! One of the blogs I read, I thought she was a very sound person, until she mentioned the iPod her almost 6 year old got for Christmas, and then the fact that she needed to remove "My hump" from it!!!! I was appalled. I always thought of myself as pretty forward thinking, but since having kids I guess I am sort of old fashioned! Those Bratz baby dolls scare the life out of me. Dressed and made up like hookers and marketed to three year olds? Does this not concern anyone else?

Do you think the attitude of these kids can be attributed to people having children later? People having kids in their mid-thirties are likely to have a lot of expendable income, compared to people like me! ;-) I just hope it won't be a problem for my kids growing up surrounded by kids with designer clothes and iPods! I'm already trying to figure out how I'm going to get the oldest to school next year with only one car and not living far enough away for the bus. *SIGH*

Red Mum said...

@Deborah: I dont know if it is because some women have their children later. Even if I did have a lot of money I really hope I would not spoil herself absolutely rotten.

And (hangs head) the Young Wan did have a bratz doll, though I agree with you, I hate them adn think they are dreadful looking things. But they were a present from someone and at the time 'THE' toy every wee girl in her class had. (this was when she was about 12). So I hadn;t the heart to say no.

I dont think it is old-fashioned to think that way at all. Its probably harder to maintain with everything that is flying around, ie other parents, kids, the media, everything is bombarding our kids with lots of different messages.

I suppose we have to trust our parenting to guide them through with the minimal of disruption if you know what I mean.

Irish Sallygardens said...

My 6 year old was given her first Bratz this year too by a friend. I accept that theres no way we can hide these things from them, they exist in society. I hate that they look so unhealthily skinny, is there not a healthy looking doll with realistic proportions rather than the tiny waist and huge plastic surgery boobs??!! I was glad that later she said to me 'I don't like Bratz', but at the same time I don't want her to just copy my likes and dislikes. So I told her the reasons I don't like them.

Our girls get one gift from Santa, and another from us (her parents). When we go to parties we normally bring home made gifts, and for their birthdays we normally request home made or token gifts. It can be difficult to stick to this, especially when we attend parties where the going away gift for visitors is more expensive than the gift we have brought for the party girl! Personally I value something home made more than something bought ... a hand painted card, or a box of biscuits ... the children just love making and receiving these things.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you here Redmum. It is very difficult to be a young person in today's society, the pressures are immense, and not just from their peers either. It's very sad:(

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.