Sunday, 8 January 2012

Should Children be Dressed as Mini Adults?

A very early start today after Billy Westie decided to rouse us from our bed this morning with a bout of loud barking. To be fair he rarely does that. He usually waits quietly for us to wake but today he decided to call the alarm. It was probably one of the local cats crossing the garden.


Today is like any other Sunday. We plan to have no plan. It's usually Andrew Marr, newspapers, dog walking and copious amounts of coffee which works very nicely. This morning, however, we also decided to watch The Big Question hosted by Nicky Campbell and what a disappointment that was. The questions were good but the audience were divided into opposing teams and on each question a stance was taken and not shifted from and Campbell's attitude in my opinion served to trivialise rather than invite real debate.

I want to see if I can do any better in promoting debate and one of the questions I'm interested in is the sexualisation of children. I feel very much that our children aren't allowed to be children. Almost from the cradle we dress them as miniature adults. I started thinking about this yesterday. I was waiting at the checkout at the local supermarket and coming through on the next till was a grandmother and her granddaughter. The child was at a guess about seven years old. She was dressed in leggings and a leather bomber jacket. Her midriff was bare and she was wearing kitten heeled boots. In my opinion the look was inappropriate. It could be that I'm out of date and or old fashioned but I don't understand why children are being dressed in such a provocative way.

Where do you stand on this? Is it ok to dress our children as mini adults or should they be dressed as children?

13 comments:

  1. My take on it:  http://wp.me/pI5wB-1X  x

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  2. I agree with you. But I acknowledge that children now are more knowing. It isn't possible to put the clock back. I would rather see a child dressed like that than see him/her mocked by peers, as I was in the early 60s.

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  3. I can remember not having fashionable clothes as an adolescent and feeling it but the point is that very young children are being dressed as adolescents and imo that is just not ok

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  4. have replied on your blog - think we're on the same page x

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  5. children should not be dressed as mini adults in my opinion, children already growin up too fast these days :(

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  6. I think people should let kids be kids, not mini adults. The fact that they have high heels for toddlers/children is just stupid! Yes, kids might see and want these things, but as a parent I feel it's my obligation to say no.

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  7. I have three children. My eldest aged 21, and youngest aged 4, are girls. I see little difference in how they are as young children, although can see the world around us has changed. I do however see a huge difference in what I can buy for my youngest daughter and what was available for my eldest in the early 90's but whilst I like all my children to be dressed nicely (as most mothers do), I can not bear to have them dressed as anything but children. My daughter doesn't look old fashioned as a result of this; she has some beautiful clothes but looks very much her age. In December I took her along to her school Christmas disco. I was stood with another mother and we noted how many 4 and 5 year olds were wearing heels. They were appropriately dressed but little girls of that age jumping around to music in heels? I found it ridiculous and it just didn't look right. I don't want my 4 year old in a bra or thong, I don't want to see her little belly on display or god forbid in heels. I want her to run and jump and play; get dirty, fall because she's ran too fast, not because she's wearing stupid shoes. I don't want to see her with make up on, or have orange skin from spray tans. I don't want her to have the awareness of a teenager and all the self doubt that comes with that awareness. I'm open with my children and answer as best I can anything they ask me but please let children be children. I read an article a few years back with an old Hollywood actor (may have been Bing Crosby) who said, children are children for such a short time but you're old for the rest of your life.

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  8. reading a response like yours Lynette restores my faith in society and gives me hope for the future - thank you

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  9. We now live in the age of play dates. Children no longer run around outside and play all day. I think the clothes reveal the way life has changed. At an early age these children are made to be young adults. Sad:-(

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  10. Ooh Babs, I'm so with you. I have always tried to keep my babies/children age "appropriate". By appropriate, I am quite old fashioned... Cuddly, comfortable clothes with a bit of a classic/fun mix. I hate to see little girls dressed to mimic adults, especially if that means being overly revealing. Little heels are fun for dressing up time, but kids feet need good shoes to be healthy and grow properly... so, for me, good fit is most important... Last time I checked, Clarks & Startrite don't do heels! (I'd rather get second hand "good" shoes that fashion-focused shoes that aren't really designed for little, growing feet. There's so much time for being a grown-up, while kids get the opportunity (and while parents can make choices for them), I say let them be kids!

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  11. I don't think you're going to get any disagreement here Babs! It may be hard for parents to resist cries of 'but everybody else will be wearing them!' but that's what being a parent involves - being the adult and saying no when it's appropriate. This debate usually focuses on the early sexualisation of girls rather than boys, but perhaps it's easier to see when girls are dressed inappropriately. Retailers also have a responsibility here, which only surfaces occasionally when a prominent company like M&S misjudges it badly.

    While I'm at it, I don't like to see children with pierced ears. It's a decision for them to make, not their parents, when they are old enough to do so.

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  12. Do only posts that agree with you go on here or are people able to share opinions?! Or is it that some people posting don't like the truth?!

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  13. I think Lynnette makes a valuable point which isn't just about the premature sexualisation of children, there seems also to be this urge to put girls into clothes and shoes which prevent their fully engaging with and playing in their environment. They are being taught early that it matters more how girls looks than what they do.

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