We see it every day. Sexuality glamorized in the media, the movies, in retail stores and more. What does this say to our kids?
by Karyn Brodsky
In the clothing department, there are many “adult” styles available to teens, tweens and young children, but dressing provocatively is only one facet of the issue. When you peel back the layers, it’s about growing up too fast. Dean Beckloff, PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor of Beckloff Pediatric Behavioral Center in Dallas agrees.
“In our practice I see parents trying to help their kids be kids and also parents who push for them to grow up too quickly.” Beckloff says in many cases, adults live vicariously through their children, transferring their own hopes, dreams and self-esteem issues to their kids. “We’re driving the child into arenas that they cannot handle.”
Beckloff is the father of girls and knows many cultural pressures influence growing up too fast. “In my practice, I work on self-esteem and building kids up. Girls look at their bodies and ask if they are acceptable or too fat,” he says. “This is something girls and women feel from an early age, and it is disturbing on many levels.”
Boys are no different, says Beckloff. Whether it involves athletics, modes of dress or a standard of behavior, parents should have conversations with their children, set boundaries and guide them. While parents can’t always be present in every situation, these discussions will eventually resonate with their teens and tweens. “Parents sometimes don’t give themselves enough credit,” he adds. “They don’t realize that kids pay attention to their ethics and actually do listen.”