Many parents will tell me that their three, four, five, and six year olds want to be in pictures, movies and magazines. I don't buy it. I think children at that age must be protected, guided and mostly loved. I am convinced that it is the parent who wants the social allocates for having a beautiful, talented, and/or charismatic child. No three to six year old has the mind development to say, "I am sure what I want to do with the next ten years of my life; help me be a model, mommy." Most likely, a wise parent would say to that hypothetical and highly unlikely statement, "You are beautiful inside and out, but too young. Let's see how else you can use your talents to further your interests while giving back to others." Kids want their parents' approval most of all and it is more likely that if they want to be beautiful it is because mom/dad wants them to be beautiful.
There are things you can practice in your home now to protect your child's childhood. It will take strong boundaries on your part as the parent, because the media has seeped into every nook and cranny of our homes. It is coming via iPhones, the Internet, Facebook, and Television. The only way to avoid its influence is to limit its access. Looking For Love? DON'T Rule Out Single Parents
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- Don't let your child have an account on a social network until they are 13 years old. Earlier than that is too early. I am an expert for Truecare.com and they monitor social networks for parents. The number of suicides each year with children being cyber-bullied or sexualized on these networks is staggering.
- Have a boundary of of- times with all phones, computers, and TV. Dinner is one of those off times, as is a specific time each night. The phones are stored in mom's/dad's bedroom.
- Know who your child is talking to on the internet. This is more easily accomplished when your computer has a large screen and is placed in a central location within the home.
- Make healthy living part of your family activities. Have a set family day each week, and make that a time for the whole family to engage in an activity together.
- Go clothes shopping with your children and guide them. When they want to wear something inappropriate, say "NO." That is your right and duty as a parent.
- Eating healthy is important and it is modeled by the parents. If you say no fast food, then no one including you eats fast food. If you are concerned with your child's weight, it should be dealt with the same way as other health matters are addressed. Gentle correction when you are alone with your child is all that is necessary. Children grow at different rates; respect that.
- Makeup is not necessary, especially before the teen years. If you have a young child who insists on wearing cosmetics prior to that, talk to them so you can understand the feelings that are causing her to feel like she needs to look better or different.
- Cell phones are a privilege and may be a necessity with single parents' schedules.