By Yvonne Sam
Learning, at a young age, how to enjoy a nice pedicure and manicure assists in establishing the standard for self-care. However, the trend of grave concern is that mothers are trying to make bosom buddies/pals of their daughters, and in the process of so doing, expose them to adult presentation.
If you go into stores, nowadays, to purchase a pair of shorts for a girl, you may be hard-pressed to find them at a decent length for a little girl. Currently, the clothes for girls are permitting them to feel very comfortable with being scantily-clad.
Seemingly, little girls are always in a rush to be teenagers, or adult women. However, there is a process to life, and expediting this for a young child, is not wise.
Healthy girls, who are barely tweens, and who become overly-obsessed with their weave, false eyelashes, halter tops, designer bags and cut offs, long false nails and detailed make-up, are being allowed to stand on par with their mothers and’ regrettably, the message that is being sent is: “ what is on them is more valuable than what is in them”.
When this happens, mothers often face the resistance and opposition of their daughters, at a younger age. She feels that she is woman enough to put her mother in line, and that her mother is her friend.
This picture sets young girls up to get the impression that it is okay to behave as an adult, and if not careful, this behavior can extend to their interactions with boys. Individuality, modesty, respect for where one is in life, and the ability to respect authority, is on the table when young girls are not expected to be young girls.
During our growing–up years, many of us were not allowed to entertain adult conversations, and some of us could not put on make-up, until almost at the end of our teenage years; disrespecting adults was never allowed, and we actually did things that children did. We were expected to behave like children, until it was time to be teenagers; and teenagers, until it was time to be adults.
We earned the right to sit at the adult table on special occasions, and it was really a big deal and a special treat. This is missing for our children. Granted, we can lay some of the blame at the feet of social media and technology, but, above all, we must make the innocence of our children our priority.
Life is a foundational building block, hence forcing our young girls to look and behave as adults, without laying a proper foundation for their dignity, and self-respect, is dangerous, at best.
Young girls should be able to wear whatever they want and be unharmed. Likewise, grown women should be able to wear whatever they want and be unharmed. Both statements are equally true, and in an ideal world, it would be reality, however, unfortunately, our society does not function in that way.
We must teach our daughters to be beautiful, comfortable and trendy, while still dressing in a manner, whereby they are appropriately-covered for their age. No, clothes would not stop a child from being hurt if a monster is lurking, but it would certainly preserve the child’s dignity.
There is an entire generation of young girls who need to slow down, and simply be kids. They are not our equals, and adults should not put them in the position to fail in that arena. We must protect our daughters, and an essential part of that is making sure that they learn the lessons we need to teach them, at every level of development.
Too grown up, too young, does not serve the best interest of the daughters of our community.
Aleuta — the struggle continues.
Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is Vice-president of the Guyana Cultural Association of Montreal. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.