Can I just say how much I love dressing my daughter? Picking out her clothes in the morning and every time she sujo(s) them is one of the small joys in my life right now. Everything I’ve been given, whether secondhand or new, is simply adorable. Not the same can be said about little boy clothing. Definitely more function over form there…because little plaid overalls only work for a short time. I wonder when she’ll start wanting to pick out her own outfits. L is only just beginning to want a say, but I suspect that’s because he’s a boy. T could care less. Then there’s the fact that it’s so hot here all the time that the boys often just run around in their underwear. Not so appropriate for a little girl…
I am definitely not looking forward to my adorable little baby girl turning into a teenage girl and wanting to wear the things I wanted to wear as a teenager. Totally guilty of shorts that were too short and many midriff baring tops…then there was even less clothing in college. YIKES! I can clearly remember my mom quietly disapproving of my clothing choices.
A few days ago, I read this FYI.
Initially I thought it was really amazing. Seeing that I have two boys who will undoubtedly be a part of facebook or some other social network that parents can lament. The world is already different from when I was a teenager less than a decade ago. I did not have to navigate through adolescence online, but my children will. If you remember AIM, you know that’s all the trouble that could really be gotten into by a less than tech-savvy high school girl. Things are definitely getting harder…to be a kid and to be a parent. Hello, pinterest?
In the days that have passed since reading that post there has been some SERIOUS backlash. Not only as comments on the actual post, but as completely separate blog posts. Some of them made me take a second look and really consider whether or not it is a good idea. And maybe surprisingly? I stand by my first impression. Because let’s face it-most of the backlash seems a little ridiculous. Read what she is actually writing. She is not happy with the attention-seeking, overly sexual photos posted intentionally for that type of attention. This mom is honestly trying to protect her boys. Not from your body, from themselves. Her intentions are good.
I totally defend the habit of sitting around the dinner table and sharing (policing) kids Facebook pages. If my kids are on facebook, I will be their friends and/or know their passwords. I might even start this sort of tradition around the dinner table. No, I don’t want to control everything that they do, but the internet and social media are huge tools that can be used for both good and evil. Part of being a good parent is protecting your kids from themselves. When they are newborns, you put mittens on them so they don’t scratch themselves in the face. When they are toddlers, you set limits so they learn how to be their own person in your world.
Hopefully, we can teach our boys how to really see a woman and M how to dress in a way that is respectful (and she won’t regret in 10 years) toward herself and her body. Most teenage girls don’t know how powerful their body is or the amazing things it can do-or that it should be respected. I didn’t until I had L. M will need just as much protection from herself as my boys will. There will be no sexy, PJ selfies for her.
And what I really hope for? That we won’t even have to police once we get to the teenage years-that we will have already instilled an intrinsic morality in all of our children.