Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Age-Appropriate Behavior

Yesterday I heard about the woman who was giving her daughter Botox because she was involved in a pageant.  I understand the child was removed from the mother's care.  My mother was dedicated to the idea that you did child things when you were a child and grown-up things when you were grown-up.

Out society seems to have turned that theory upside down.  Everything these days is devoted to the idea that we can change the timetable.  It is true that in the pageant world all the girls wear makeup and clothes that hint or imply sexuality--the lingering look, the suggestive walk, the extreme makeup, even with Botox.  But this is not confined to the pageant world.  Advertisements appeal to children on a sexual level that is beyond their comprehension.

No matter how much the parents want to promote their child's achievements, introducing them to sexualized clothing and behavior at six or eight years of age is stupid.  I don't take this stand just because I am a religious prude.  The human brain develops on its own schedule.  You can teach these behaviors to a child and children are great imitators:  They will do what they see others do.  Teaching them to imitate adult sexual behavior robs them of the joy of growing up.  By the time this is appropriate, they've already done it.

Developmental theory proposes that children encounter stages where they learn as their brain can accommodate new material.   Teaching a child that the value of her life lies in perfect makeup and stage presence distorts the process of growing up.  I have not addressed all the reasons a mother who is not qualified to handle Botox should not be doing this, but they extend beyond this post.  The more immediate question of allowing or expecting kids to engage in adult behavior makes me mad.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

I like your blogs, but had a hard time commenting on the other one. You have a lot of wisdom to share with us younger mommies.