I've been doing some pondering the last couple of days, for no apparent reason, on whether kids (in general) grow up too fast. It seems like it is a common comment among adults, yet when I look at history, I'm not sure that they really are. In fact, I think that maybe it is the opposite. Kids are being stopped from growing up. I think that what is being complained about really is that kids are being sexualized too fast.
I'm not claiming to be an expert in history. In fact, it was probably one of my worst subjects in school. (I expect to learn a LOT about history while homeschooling using Charlotte Mason methods!)
That said, I look at what a child 140 years ago, or even 100 years ago would be doing. Again, I'm talking generally, as certainly social class, location, etc would make a difference. Farm children would be working hard taking care of livestock, looking after crops, chopping wood, and otherwise doing important work. Girls would be cooking, baking, watching after little ones, as well as looking after chickens, horses etc. Children in a city might be apprenticed, working in a factory, or being a maid or manservant. And this is young children. 6, 7, 8.
When I look at children, I see that there is really one thing they really want. They want to be adults (or at least older than they are.) Unless the desire is stiffled, that is usually shown by wanting to..... WORK. What happens when you are cooking? The 2 year old is right there wanting to cook too. So is the 4 year old. And the 6 year old. If you are sweeping the floor, they want to too.
Of course, what is frustrating to parents is that they mainly seem to want to do it only while they can't.... once they can, and especially if you now require them too - they aren't as interested.... because they now want to mow the lawn or do some other work that they aren't ready for or at least you aren't ready to let them.
This desire to work seems to go away for a lot of kids..... but I think it mostly goes away when we don't let them do it. If we keep saying "No, you can't do that", then eventually they stop asking.
Delta (6) and Echo (4) washed, dried, and put away the dishes tonight. They felt like it was a real treat as it was the first time they ever did them all. Oh, and Foxtrot (2) was busy cleaning up the booster seat, and holding the dustpan while I swept. Yes, the counter got wet, and so did the floor. But they also knew that they were making a difference.
So, what does this have to do with kids being sexualized too fast? Well, here is my theory. Kids are driven to become adults. When we don't let them become adults by having responsibilities in the household - they are going to find other ways. Add the availability and display of sexual content (be that a Bratz doll for a 4 year old, or Cosmo magazines for a 14 yo), and in some cases peer pressure.... and I think you get the results that are so common in this world. Well, it is a theory anyway.
I am not saying to over-burden your children (especially young ones) and not give them time to play and explore. What I am saying is that children NEED to feel like they contribute to the family, that they are important, and that they are big enough to help. That means responsibilities and chores.
Next posting....... my "parable of the wolves"