With three boy tweens, you could be forgiven for thinking that I must be silly, off my head, or just a bad parent as my sulky and oppositional “children” spend their lives acting as if they were in the throes of upper teen dramas. My 8 – 12 year olds act like mini-grown ups.
Their behaviour doesn’t sit anywhere on my sliding scale of acceptable behaviour for their age group. Maybe it does lie within the limits of the general public, but I don’t have to like it.
Be honest, our kids all want to act more grown up than they really are. How cool is it to be in the “know” and find out some juicy piece of gossip, look chic, or feel good?
I watched a bunch of ten year olds walking home from school last week. They passed a couple of tween girls with scarves as skirts. They whistled and almost in unison, chimed “seeexxxxxxy.” The girls preened, blushed and giggled. LMFAO,Sexy and I know it, MTV and YouTube have a lot to answer for.
Here’s why I think our kids are so grown up these days and what we could change.
Kids’ experiences are changing. When I was little, nobody went on holiday more than once a year and most never went away at all. We knew everyone in our local area and they looked out for us. Communities are rare now and the world seems smaller.
External influences that didn’t exist when I was a child have to be taken into account and the fear of stranger danger restricts the lives of children who can feel suffocated and rebel. My kids don’t have the carefree outdoor life that I did as a child when there were hardly any cars. They do however, still need the same amount of exercise we got or they get bored. Bored kids get up to mischief.
TV, film, media, video and computer games
Hannah Montana and Suite Life on Deck from the Disney stable were hailed as horrors to be talked about in hushed tones for a while. I don’t see why. The kids in these programmes are cheeky and they’re testing, but they are showing the kids doing things that kids do, and I don’t have any problem with that.
If something is sure to wind me up, it’s the parents of my kids friends who allow their under 13′s to watch the goriest and most horrific certificate 18 movies, or let their kids have unrestricted Sky or Freeview TV in their bedrooms. They often also have 18 games on their computers, and full access accounts for an x-box that means they can be exposed to things well beyond their years.
I worry that children will become desensitised to violence as they grow older.
My view is that I’m the parent, and they are still kids. It’s my decision as to what I think is appropriate for them to watch or play.
Finding my 8 year old searching the Internet looking for what a word meant that he’d overheard in the boys toilets at school, I couldn’t give him into trouble as he was actually doing what he’d been told by teachers. They tell him that if he doesn’t know a word, go and look it up.
The fact that he was faced with webcam girls wiggling their clothing deprived behinds at him only made him laugh, but the potential for far worse is a very real possibility. From that day forward, the computers, iPods and phones in our home were child proofed and locked down, with access only in public areas.
Yes, some children will be able to bypass security settings, and that is where we come in as adults to learn the technology and be able to give them the skills and tools to deal with inappropriate online behaviour.
These days, most of our kids are spoiled, mine included. We might pretend they aren’t, but as a general rule, in our society they are. They often don’t appreciate the value of money, and have the attitude that they are invincible.
Kids don’t always understand why they are too young for some subjects and topics, and the perceived unfairness of it all can make for testing times as the parent will always get the blame. There were always kids with far more than we had as kids, and I don’t remember us being as outraged as the children I see on the streets.
Perhaps our kids need more of our personal time playing games and reading to them as we did when they were little to keep them as kids. I don’t know the answer, but if someone else finds it, please let me know as I am drowning in a sea of pre testosterone testosterone.