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My little girl is growing up too fast

My little girl is growing up too fast
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It doesn’t seem a moment since your little girl’s wardrobe was filled with pink cardies knitted by Nana and princess nappy-pants. But suddenly she wants a bikini instead of a swimsuit, shoes with heels, ‘and, actually can I get my ears pierced too, ‘cause all my friends are having theirs done’. And she’s just turned six-and-a-half! Every fibre of your being might be screaming ‘NO, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, YOU’RE STILL A BABY!’ But is it any wonder, when you see what’s facing young girls in shops, in the media and even in the playground?

Can you stop your little girl from growing up too fast?

You might have a ‘Janet and John’ ideal of how your daughter should dress – all sensible skirts, knee-socks and Mary-Janes – but the shops are filled with mini-me styles of children’s clothing, essentially adult fashions shrunk down. Do you want to see your little girl kitted out like a catwalk queen in off-the-shoulder animal print? And heeled shoes in size 4 – average age 18 months to two years – can’t be right, can it?My little girl is growing up too fast

You might have succeeded in steering clear of the ‘cute like my mummy’ and ‘trainee diva’ t-shirts while you’re little one’s been, well, little. But now she’s developing her own tastes, and being influenced by factors outside your control.

Fashion dilemmas

A host of clothes marketed at children have come under fire in recent years, not least t-shirts and underwear bearing inappropriate slogans – ‘dive right in’ pants, anyone? And how do you feel about bikinis for the under-10s? Surely anything resembling a bra isn’t needed until there is more than a hint of a developing bust. A little girl paddling in just her pants seems more wholesome somehow than a pre-pubescent child wearing a bikini on the beach. There are no boobs, so why dress a child as if there were?

But it’s not just clothes in question here. Otherwise innocuous and age-appropriate magazines offer all manner of makeup products as cover mounts. Sugar-pink and sparkly they may be, but once you buy them you may find your child’s on a slippery slope to magazines filled with teen angst and the ‘snoggability’ of Harry from One Direction. Whatever happened to posters of pretty ponies, and a plastic princess tiara?

TV Tantrums

Gone too are the days of a children’s TV choice of BBC (always acceptable) or ITV (banned from some middle-class houses in the ‘70s for its relative edginess and hint of anarchy on a Saturday morning).  Frantic cartoons and teen-issue ‘dramas’ abound on our multichannel TVs, with our techno-literate little ones wielding the remotes with complete authority, unless closely watched. Have you ever discovered your pre-teen watching something inappropriate, only to be told ‘well so-and-so watches this all the time’? Or overheard your child bragging that they watch a show you’ve banned ‘while Mummy’s bathing my brother’? Teaching your child to work the TV so you can have a weekend lie-in doesn’t seem quite so smart now, does it?

Faced with so many pressures – from school-friends, media, retailers (oh, and the mum at school with a ‘Top Totty’ banner on her car windscreen, explain that to a six-year-old!) – maybe we have to accept that our little girls are going to grow up faster than we did. You can’t hold back the tide forever. Inevitably you won’t win every battle, so be prepared to make some compromises.

Make up, clothes and shoesMy little girl is growing up too fast

How about keeping make-up for special occasions, and even then only minimal amounts? But then there’s that bulging bag of stickily-sickly lip glosses from those magazines, which are ‘hers’ so she wants to apply it daily (or hourly). An outright ban on nail varnish might morph into ‘only in the school holidays’ (OK it’s not allowed at school anyway, but if it looks like a rule and sounds like a rule, hey it’s a rule) but absolutely no red! And only buying flat shoes or ‘sensible’ heels for everyday will send a message that ‘clippy cloppy’ heels are only for parties and playing at being Mummy, not really dressing like her.

Stick to your guns

But don’t feel you have to compromise on everything. With some issues you feel strongly about – perhaps pierced ears or a ‘grown up’ hair cut – you may just need to stick to your guns. So you’re the bad guy, your daughter complains about your rules to her mates, and thinks you’re uncool. But at least she doesn’t leave the house anytime before puberty looking like a miniature version of a 21-year-old with questionable morals.

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About Alison McKay

About Alison McKay

Alison McKay is a charity PR professional with over 15 years' experience in full-time, part-time and jobshare roles. Since being made redundant while on maternity leave, she has divided her time between working for a local museum, freelance and volunteer writing, and being chief wrangler to a two-year-old mud-magnet and an almost-seven-year-old wannabe dog-care worker with a penchant for hair accessories. Alison's hobbies include yoga, reading cookery books and putting away just enough clean laundry to keep the pile below 3ft tall.

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