Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Gasp! Ack!

There are many things we protect our children from, monsters, politicians, clowns, really bad food and creepy people. I'm going to add another one: inappropriate pre-teen/teens who do not know how to keep their big mouths shut. They are inappropriate because duh, they lack good judgement since they themselves are still kids. What I don't want are other kids talking about sex in full detail to my little ones. And at school! In the 2nd grade! Okay, big pat on the back to you teen-kid you have cable and parents who don't care and they don't think you are too young to watch that sort of programming. It's also a shame that you think you know anything about human sexuality. Further it's a shame that you find it exhilarating to converse LOUDLY about being in bed with your classmates.

As my eyes are opened to the callus and casual handling of human sexuality I am worried. I worry when I see the middle school aged neighbor girl parading around in her string bikini and jumping on her trampoline. I am shocked to see her father carrying on around the yard as if this is normal, that having teen boys in his home staring at his daughter is perfectly fine. I can't seem to find little girls wearing too short everything as cute, rather I am saddened. Why must they dress so sparingly so young? Who is giving these young people guidance? And why are parents not paying attention? All of this, this nonsense and ridiculous perceptions of female empowerment are nothing more than promoting gender inequality. Objectifying our little girls does not encourage healthy self-respect.

 I've had to seriously think about this a moment. There have been some similar problems with other people I know. A neighbor's 13 year old niece was mixed up in an extremely inappropriate sexting drama. All it took was her niece letting a "friend" borrow her cell phone and the next thing she knew an older boy was constantly writing very explicit things to her. Thankfully it was ended quickly by a very observant teacher. Still the question remains where are the limits on access to sex? How many parents are actually talking to their kids about it in a tasteful and respectful way? Well none if many kids are blabbing about it at school, texting each other or loudly taking about it in their yards while little kids cruise around. Children whose parents really have the talk are different. They tend to keep their new knowledge to themselves. Not every kid is ready for the talk at the same time. Some earlier others later but all should have a serious and age appropriate discussion with their parents/guardians. I believe that children should be able to learn about this from their parents and be comfortable asking questions when the time comes. What I don't believe is that 2nd graders need to tell their classmates (or even to know) what Disney Channel stars were doing together behind closed doors. That this is playground conversation is sickening and sad.  Discretion. It's lacking in households. Have we become a society that finds it acceptable for 7 year olds to watch nearly nude and explicit programming? My goodness I hope not, if so that is a dreadful future for our small ones, my small ones do not need to be exposed to that this early. I fully understand that we all parent differently and I'm pretty liberal in many ways but I have to put on the conservative jacket when it comes to this. No matter how I look at it sex and elementary school aged kids do not go together. They do not need the details or graphic descriptions or even the actual full on step by step description of how humans create more humans. That is far too much at this age. I'm frustrated that my 4th grader does not have this issue in her class but my 2nd grader does. I should not have to worry that my grade schoolers can hear about sex from their classmates. This is bothersome because it's just a result of what happens with a sexualized media based society. Thankfully I'm not the only one who is concerned about protecting my children from all that destructive junk. I have a great deal of paying attention to do from now on. I have to keep my ears open as I talk to my girls. I need to have a good understanding of all those Disney programs and everything else they watch and I'll admit many are not worthy of the Disney name. Then again it is ABC more than anything so you can understand why I've cut my girls' access to Disney channel shows. We've been fortunate to be a family that spends little time TV. Thankfully this has prevented them from being influenced by anymore crap.

 The important thing for me to do is to keep aware. I can't prevent everything nor can I censor everything being said around them. Yet I do expect a certain level of safety at school and will continue to report my concerns to the school. We will continue to teach our girls how to respect others and to be respectful of their bodies. We'll talk to them, be involved with them and above all else be good parents to help them learn how to become strong, confident young women.

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