10 Ways To Keep Your Kids From Growing Up Too Fast

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child pageant princess queen makeup girl toddler tiara
Why children need childhood and what you can do to make sure they get it.

I was people-watching at a posh restaurant while waiting for my friend to join me. People with money, power, expensive clothes, cars, and dates arrived. I began wondering what I was doing; was the great food going to somehow make this display of affluence okay? I was underdressed and evaluating that in my mind, when all of a sudden I heard someone laugh. It wasn't the laugh that caught my attention, but rather the lack of laughter from most of the guests there. In fact, prior to her laugh, people had the right clothes and accessories, but none of them looked very happy. These people were what Sidney Sheldon would call social skeletons.

Magazines, TV and music are all focused on bodies. Thin, young, and beautiful bodies make claim to more money, power, and fame. Our youth has never had a narrower concept of beauty, nor have they ever had the pressure of being able to pose for a photo and have millions view it from a social network. Our young people's minds aren't fully developed until the age of 22 years, and yet they can have plastic surgery, Botox, and other cosmetic procedures to help them fit into that narrow concept of beauty at six (with their parent's blessings).

On the cover of Vogue Magazine some months ago, there was a photo of a ten year old girl in fishnet stockings, red lipstick, a short dress, and red heels lounging on a sofa. The title had something to do with the new version of beauty. What in the world is going on? Do men/women really sexually desire a ten year old dressed up like a twenty five year old? If so, what are the personality traits of these perpetrators, and how did they become so powerful that the advertisers are now boasting padded bras for eight and nine year olds and clothes that reveal more than most thirty year old women would be embarrassed to show? Good Date Ideas from Yummy Mummy

The most distressing part of all of this is that when a society sexualizes children, there is no going back. You cannot take a six year old and make them a beauty queen, shower them with photographs and accolades and then tell them, "Okay, it's over. You can go back to being a normal little girl now." Once a child is forced into that media-driven craze, there is no way to redeem the innocence stolen from their childhood. Parents who "fix" their children cosmetically have implicitly told their child, "You do have a problem with your appearance, and you aren't okay." If we fix it, you will be more accepted. Eight times out of ten when I see a child who is sent to me prior to plastic surgery and I meet the mother, it is she who needs the therapy.

With some, issues of childhood cosmetic surgery are appropriate. I have seen birth defects, burns and other accidents that require cosmetic surgery for further physical and emotional healing. This is not the sort of cosmetic surgery to which I am referring.

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Mary Jo Rapini

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