It’s Not All Mary Poppins

I’m not here today

Today, you will find me over there, waxing eloquent on the perils of toddler teen-ification.

January 22, 2008 - Posted by | controversy, parenting, peer pressure, socializing


  1. I think you are right over there – why rush it? The things of childhood are wonderful, why not revel in them before they become “too babyish,” as they surely will. During my own short stint as a daycare worker, one little girl in boots with heels caught her heel on the stairs and fell down the stairs. Not just weird and a little scary in a sexualizing-our-kids way, but also dangerous in a totally quotidian way. And on the same bent, I have so many parents who want to read Harry Potter or show the movie to their young children because it’s the big hot thing right now, but I keep telling them to hold off until the kids’ ten or so and can really get it. Meanwhile, Magic Treehouse is much gentler and simpler, so why not try that? At least half the time, they don’t take that advice. It’s a shame.

    It is a shame. So many parents enjoy mocking the gentleness and simplicity, and I just wish they could understand that gentle and simple is not inane, it’s appropriate. I’ve had friends express surprise that my children found this or that show frightening, and would brag that their child didn’t — and I’d be feeling appalled that a three-year-old could already be so calloused that they weren’t bothered by it!

    Comment by kittenpie | January 22, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the reminder that you post there too…I got caught up on some reading. 🙂

    The “teen-ification” article I thought was very apt.

    I remember having a conversation with a fellow Mom at Emma’s school about three years back.

    She was telling me about taking her 9 year old daughter to see the “Black Eyed Peas” (Fergie…if that helps.) and I stood there gaping at her in disbelief.

    When I asked if she was okay with the blantant sexuality of the songs, the costumes and the dance moves, she just looked at me and with all seriousness said, “Yeah well, the lyrics are all about self-confidence.”

    What could I say? I just smiled politely and nodded, “Oh, really?” (Meanwhile, “My Humps” lyrics are floating through my head.)

    The lyrics are all about sexual self-confidence, which is a terrific thing in a sexually awake and aware teen, but which a nine-year-old really shouldn’t be worrying about just yet. Yeesh. There is a time and place, and nine isn’t it.

    Comment by Sheri | January 22, 2008 | Reply

  3. I’m completely with you. I want my baby to stay a baby for as long as possible. I’m all for not raising naive unprepared children but let them ease into it.
    Reading age appropriate books and music is wonderful. It’s a time to harken back to when we were that age and share all the things we found wonderful with them.
    And while I can’t wait to read Harry Potter with Jeffrey, there are so many fabulous things to get through before then.
    Of course people think we’re crazy because we have a two year old that doesn’t watch tv.

    On a blog a few months back, a family was writing about how they’d given up television. Someone wrote in and said, “But you have a two-year-old! How do you keep her busy without television?” The blogger replied most eloquently and effectively, but I was left feeling dismayed that there are parents out there who were really wondering how they’d manage. Those of us who didn’t use it at all, or who use it very minimally know that most days there simply aren’t enough hours to get through all the play and exploration: who has time to waste sitting in front of a television?

    Comment by Dani | January 22, 2008 | Reply

  4. One time in line at the cinema, I was shocked to see a woman behind me carrying a boy who was no more than two — pretty young to sit through a theatre-length movie. The mother commented brightly to her son “Are you so, so excited to see Spider-Man?” Then she said to me “He’s not even three and he just LOVES Spider-Man! He watches the first two movies all the time!”

    She said this in a tone of admiring wonder, like he was precocious to have picked up this “hobby” so early. Of course, SOMEONE bought him those movies and showed them to him — he didn’t choose them on his own!

    I’ve also heard of friends of my five-year-old niece watching and reading Harry Potter with their parents. I love Harry Potter too, but it seems like, as someone else commented, that the parents are so excited to share certain things with their kids that they don’t stop to consider whether they’re truly old enough to handle them yet.

    Comment by Lucy | January 23, 2008 | Reply

  5. I must admit that we read Harry Potter with our older son at about age 6 – along with reading him picture books and Little House on the Prairie books. But we waited to let him see the movies.

    I’m amazed at the kids going to PG-13 movies, at half that age. A friend told me she was taking her 7 yo to Pirates of the Caribbean movie “so he won’t be the only kid in 2nd grade who hasn’t seen it”. Well, my 2nd grader hadn’t. He finally got to see it last Christmas at 11 yo – at home, with us, where we could turn it off or explain if necessary.

    We used TV very sparingly when the kids were little – I did find that 30 min of TV to keep my 3yo calm, quiet and contained while nursing the baby to sleep was well worth it. BUT, it only worked because it was the only TV he got all day.

    I’m glad to have boys where the clothing issues seem to be fewer (and even happier that my boys don’t seem to be brand label conscious).

    Comment by Katherine | January 25, 2008 | Reply

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