Preserving Childhood

One of my primary jobs as a mother is to preserve my girls’ childhoods for as long as possible. In a society where it seems like children are pushed to grow up faster and faster, this can sometimes feel like either a monumental challenge or that you aren’t educating your children. There are programs to teach your baby to read, sports intensive programs for toddlers, and tutoring classes to push your child to the next grade level early. What about now though?Isn’t it more important to foster a creative imagination, a sense of confidence, a close family bond?

I guess the biggest question is this: “Why is childhood something that is not tolerated by society?”

I have written about restaurants and airlines banning children as a general policy, stores banning breastfeeding (again, something that should be a norm in childhood), and schools placing unreasonable standards of behavior on children. All this adds up to a clear picture on the mainstream attitude toward kids. Then we have the mass commercialization and marketing to children that is prevalent nowadays.

This week I took AJ out to get some new flip flops. While she tried on a few pairs I walked to Moira’s section to see what they had in stock. I was stunned and appalled by these- hot pink kitten heels- for a 2 year old! What event calls for your baby to be teetering around in heels?! More so, what parent actually buys them and makes their already clumsy baby try to walk in them? (I am pretty clumsy in heels and I am a dancer!)

This is just one example of inappropriate clothing I see marketed to kids. Pre-teens in string bikinis, toddlers with shorts that say “hot stuff”, bras for 7 yr olds…. ugh! Not right!

I want my girls to embrace and enjoy every minute of their childhood because they only get one. I want them to dress up, get messy, play hard, be loud, run…. just be children! Sure I am going to teach them things, like how to help empty the dishwasher and clean the bunny cage. But I am not going to expect perfection and will guide them the same way you help a baby learn to walk, by example more than anything.

Our society is so fast-paced and tech oriented that we forget that it is way more important that your child feel safe and loved instead of knowing how to use an iPad or can sit at a desk for 6 hours without a fuss.

Preserving my girls’ childhood is something that I am striving to do everyday and I hope others do the same… your children will thank you for it!

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8 thoughts on “Preserving Childhood

  1. I’m pregnant with my first, so I don’t have any actual parenting experience, but I know for sure I want to make sure my kids get an actual childhood and aren’t forced to start gearing up for “success” before they can even walk. There has to be a balance between giving your kids a childhood and setting them up with the tools they need to be successful adults. I wish more parents would try to find that middle ground.

    1. I definitely agree! There is a healthy balance for sure… it is just as bad to totally shelter and restrict everything to the point of suffocating as it is to be without any guidance. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  2. Hi, I absolutely love this article, if it’s okay I’d like to share it…I could not agree more, childhood is to be treasured and protected. We are not doing a good job these days protecting our kids, kitten heels, dating too young…it goes on. Nice to know there are still moms out there who are doing it right.

  3. Great post, Connie! I try to go with the flow and let my kids enjoy the things they like and love. My 8 1/2 year old still loves to play puppy-dog and when swimming, “otter.” Some tell me that I should remind her of her age. To that I want to say, “Um, okay. Hey, Delaney…remember you’re 8 1/2. You’re doing an excellent job with your imagination. Keep it up.” It saddens me that we (society) feels the need to push a maturity level that is a natural progression in life at such a young age. Thanks for your (once again) great perception!

    1. Definitely Amy! 8 1/2 is such a wonderful age where they can do some things for themselves but still want and need that imaginative space to just be. It makes me sad to hear people tell their kids to grow up and stop being imaginative… Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. I’ve raised three children, partially raised three step children and have three grandchildren and have always believed in letting them enjoy being just who they are and loving them just as they are. We wonder why small children become prey to kidnapping, rapes, etc. when we allow our children to look “all grown up”. Wonderful article. –Just another kid at heart–

    1. Thank you for commenting Pat! The early sexualization of kids is definitely a contributing factor to the spike in sexual crimes against youth. I totally agree that we should just let kids be kids!

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