Too Sexy Too Soon
By Marisa Cohen
While it may
seem cute when a 5-year-old copies the hip-shaking dance moves she sees on TV, it's also one of the first signs of how the
adult concept of "sexiness" is being sold to younger and younger kids today, say Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., and Jean Kilbourne,
In their new book, So Sexy So Soon, the authors explore
a culture where grade-schoolers want to dress like go-go dancers, 10-year-old boys have seen Internet porn, and 13-year-olds
talk casually about oral sex. Here, Kilbourne discusses how childhood is changing, and what parents can do to protect their
What's different about how little girls are acting and dressing
We used to dress up in our
mother's clothes. Now little girls are dressing up as sexy teenagers, and there are clothes being marketed to them that look
like they are from Victoria's Secret. I see little girls wearing strapless black numbers to the school dance! As a result,
girls are getting the message that not only is it important to be pretty but it is also important to be hot and sexy. Research
clearly shows that this pressure is damaging to girls' self-esteem.
How does this affect their relationships with boys?
Girls have always gotten the
message that it's important to attract boys, but we used to get it a little later, when we were 12 or 13; now they're getting
it as early as 6 or 7. Girls in grade school are competing with each other to see who's the hottest, and then boys are learning
that's how they should look at girls. It sets up a dynamic that does an enormous amount of harm. Little boys learn to look
at girls as objects rather than as friends.
What happens as kids get older?
When a girl has learned early
on that what matters most is how sexy she is, then by the time she hits the tween years, the message is already deep in her
psyche and it just becomes louder and more harmful. Sex gets speeded up — 12- and 13-year-olds are doing what 16-year-olds
used to do, and by the time they're 16, many are already blasť about casual sex. That's when you hear about "friends with
benefits" and kids thinking about sex as being separate from a relationship. This not only puts them at physical risk for
STDs, unwanted pregnancy, or even date rape, but they also lose the chance to develop the empathy and compassion that are
necessary to make intimate relationships work later on.
What can moms do?
When your children are younger,
you can limit their exposure to certain media. As kids get older, stay familiar with what they are listening to and watching.
Ask them why they like certain songs or clothes so you can open up a dialogue about it. It's so important to start talking
to your kids about sexuality and relationships as early as possible, in an age-appropriate way. If they know they can ask
you anything and they will not be punished or shamed for it, that will pay off in incredible dividends when they hit their teenage years. When kids feel like they can talk to
you, they will.
source site: click here
Why Teens are Lousy at Chores
Finally researchers have come up with a reason other than pure
laziness for why teenagers can't shower and brush their teeth or unload the dishwasher and wipe down the
Blame it on "cognitive limitations." Their brains can't multitask
as well as those of the taskmasters.
Trust, however, that they'll grow out of it.
The part of the brain responsible for multitasking continues
to develop until late adolescence, with cells making connections even after some children are old enough to drive, according
to a new study in the May/June issue of the journal Child Development.
The frontal cortex, which starts just behind the eyes and goes
back almost to the ears, figures out (or doesn't) what to do when a person is asked to juggle multiple pieces of information.
Imagine, then, how "make your bed and bring the laundry down" might befuddle a 13-year-old.
In one of the study's tests, subjects between ages 9 and 20
were given multiple pieces of information, then asked to re-order the information to formulate an accurate response to a question.
In another of several tests, they were asked to find hidden items using a high degree of strategic thinking.
The ability to remember multiple bits of information developed
through age 13 to 15, the study found. But strategic self-organized thinking, the type that demands a high level of multi-tasking
skill, continues to develop until ages 16 to 17.
The notion is not entirely new. Brain imaging has suggested
"Our findings lend behavioral support to that work and indicate
that the frontal lobe is continuing to develop until late adolescence in a manner that depends upon the complexity of the
task that is being demanded," said lead researcher Monica Luciana, an associate professor of psychology at the University
Unfortunately the study did not reveal any solution to parents
at their wits' end over the problem. But Luciana did offer this advice:
"We need to keep their cognitive limitations in mind, especially
when adolescents are confronted with demanding situations in the classroom, at home, or in social gatherings."
source site: click here
Parenting Adolescents When You Have Changed the Rules
By Dr. Margaret Paul
November 14, 2007
Are you struggling with knowing how to set limits for your adolescent children?
Are they resistant to doing what you want them to do? In this article, discover how to change all of this!
Marilee had grown up
with very strict authoritarian parents, and decided that when she had children she would not be controlling with them the
way her parents had been with her. Unfortunately, the only thing she knew to do was to be a permissive parent, which meant
that instead of controlling her children, her children controlled her.
In the last year, Marilee
went into Inner Bonding therapy and started to learn about self-care. She joined the Inner Bonding membership community to
get the help and support she needed. She realized that she had been allowing her three children, who are now teenagers, to
run all over her.
"How do I deal with my teenage
kids now that I have had some recovery? I am struggling with setting healthy limits, with knowing what is a healthy boundary.
What do I do about setting limits around TV and computer use? How do I set up a structure for chores? What do I do to encourage
them to start to take personal responsibility?"
The first thing that Marilee
needs to do is accept that she has no real control over her adolescent children. At this age, and having been given little
responsibility and limits, it is unrealistic to expect them to suddenly do what she wants them to do. In addition, they are
not at all used to considering the effect their behavior has on her. Because she had not been taking care of herself, they
had not learned to be considerate of her or helpful toward her.
However, this does not mean
that their behavior will not change. It will not change in response to her demands or limit setting, but it may change in
response to HER changes. Instead of trying to control them into taking personal responsibility, Marilee needs to be a role
model of personal responsibility.
One aspect of her taking personal
responsibility may be to speak openly with her children. She can share with them why she chose to be permissive in the past,
and why this is not working for her now. She can ask for their help in what to do about the TV, the computer, and chores.
Most children are far more willing to help when they are part of the process of finding solutions than when rules are imposed
Children are naturally helpful
and considerate of their parents and take far more responsibility for themselves when their parents are role modeling personal
responsibility for themselves. As Marilee continues to practice Inner Bonding and learn about taking loving care of herself,
she will naturally stop allowing her children to control her and let go of trying to control them. As she learns to stay tuned
into herself and take care of her own needs and feelings, her children will begin to learn to do the same. All people, and
especially children, respond to ENERGY far more than to actual words. When Marilee's energy is kind and personally powerful,
her children will naturally begin to respect her. As long as she is trying to control them and/or allowing them to control
her, they will have no respect for her and will be resistant to doing what she asks of them. But when they experience her
as loving and secure within her self, they will be far more likely to respect her and care about her concerns.
The bottom line is this: people
tend to treat you the way you treat yourself. If you ignore your own feelings and needs, they will tend to ignore you as well.
If you judge yourself harshly, they will tend to be judgmental toward you as well. If you try to control them into doing what
you want, they will tend to be resistant.
Doing your own Inner Bonding
work and becoming a happy, secure, personally powerful and personally responsible person is the very best way of influencing
your children to do the same.
source site: www.innerbonding.com
Body Image Issues
Ten Simple Things To Do Every Single Day As A Parent Of A Teenager
by Sue Atkins, the Official Guide To Teenagers and Parenting
• You can never be too loving with your teenage children.
Get rid of that old wives’ tale that hugging them, holding them, or telling them you love them is spoiling your
children. If many of the parents of the world paid more attention to their children, the world would be a better and happier
I can think of many children who suffered because their parents were too busy, too selfish, or too preoccupied
to spend time with them. I have never met a child who was worse off because their parents loved them too much. That situation’s
just not possible.
But be more sensitive to how you show your affection when your child has turned into a self conscious
teenager – a friendly pat on the back, or gently ruffling their hair is often more appropriate once they have hit the
• Act as a Role Model
Have you ever noticed that you have many of the same attitudes, habits,
and opinions that your parents had when you were growing up and even though you swore you’d do it all differently? Well,
that’s because your parents were your first, important role models, and you are now the same to your children.
parents is a natural part of how children develop and grow. Perhaps you’re not aware of the subtle messages you send
to your teen all the time, particularly as they pretend not to notice now they are maturing, but all your actions and emotions
are communicated to your kids. That’s why anxious parents produce anxious children and positive parents bring up confident
• Involve Yourself in Your Child’s Life
One of the most important things you can do to safeguard
your relationship is to spend time with them. None of us ever feels we “have enough time” to do the things we
have to do much less the ones we’d like to do! But strong family ties are formed between teenage children and their
parents if a little regular daily effort is made to spend time talking, eating and being with them. So ask yourself how you
can enhance the quality of the time you spend with your teenage children?
Even teenage children with their own friends,
lifestyle and interests should be absolutely sure that they can count on your time with them. Set aside time when you can
give your full attention to your teen. Could it be at family dinner time, homework help time, or once-a-week outings? And
each of your children needs some time to spend with you alone, apart from brothers and sisters.
• Share yourselves.
The whole point of spending time with your children is to share your own values, beliefs and enjoy being with them.
Talking with and listening to your teen is one of the most important “quality time” activities you can do and
it can happen anywhere, at any time—while folding the laundry, playing a game, doing the shopping, or driving home from
• Focus on Flexibility
Your role as a parent changes as your child grows. What
worked well when your child was in nursery doesn’t necessarily work when she reaches junior school and is likely to
outright fail when she enters adolescence.
The drive and independence that makes your three-year-old say ‘no’
all the time is actually part of the same process that makes your 13-year-old daughter argumentative at the dinner table.
It is also what makes her more inquisitive in the classroom and even later on in her career.
So embrace the wider
implications of your child’s actions. Parental flexibility is all about getting inside the mind of your child at their
• Set Boundaries and Rules
The two most important things children of all ages need from
you are love and structure.
Some of the parents I work with don’t want to repeat the strict upbringing that they
experienced, so they go the other way and have no rules or boundaries at all. They then wonder why their children don’t
listen to or respect them or why they feel so exhausted all the time.
Even teenage children enjoy routine and knowing
your rules. Like everything in life, providing your child with structure is a balancing act. Structure makes children feel
the security of love around them. If your child feels insecure, they may fall in with the wrong crowd, try drugs to give them
confidence or look for people interested and willing to spend time with them that may not have their best interest at heart.
the real reason for having rules and setting boundaries is that over time your teenager can develop the ability to set their
own boundaries and manage their own behaviour. You need to realise that your child’s ability to be controlled by you
leads to their ability to control themselves.
• Be Consistent
The biggest single contributor to a teenager’s
disciplinary problems is inconsistent parenting. I know you’re probably thinking, ‘Well, being consistent is easy
to say, but hard to do’. True enough. But the secret of consistency is keeping your expectations clear and always meeting
the same behaviour with the same reaction.
If you’re having trouble disciplining your teenager, the first
thing to do is take a step back and ask yourself, ‘Am I being consistent?’
Parents have many reasons for
becoming inconsistent, but stress and tiredness seem to be the most common. In today’s hectic and frenetic world, everyone
gets tired. When you feel like giving in or that you don’t have the energy to take on the battle or argument, you can
easily get distracted or lose your focus.
So take control of your time by the three “D’s” -
Deciding what you want to achieve each day and by setting yourself just one or two goals that you really want (not need) to
2. Discarding any tasks or jobs that aren’t really important in the big scheme of life and
Delegating tasks that other people or your kids could do.
This frees up your energy and helps you to stay focused and consistent
with your kids
• Encourage Independence
From the day you play ‘peek-a-boo’ with your baby,
you’re preparing her for separation from you. From her first day at school, first sleepover, and first school trip to
France to the day your daughter leaves home. Good parenting is a step-by-step process, a gradual moving out into the big world,
confident and independent from you.
You tread a fine line: Good parenting requires a balance between involvement and
independence. Your teenage child learns self-confidence from learning to manage their own self-sufficiency.
who encourage independence in their children, help them to develop a sense of self-direction. To be successful in life, children
need both self-control and self-direction. They also need self-discipline to balance their own individual needs with the needs
• Be Firm and Fair in Your Discipline
At each stage of your child’s development, you
must establish your rules that you expect your child to obey. But you also need to expect that your child will at some point
challenge you and test your limits. This behaviour’s just what kids do.
Your job is to do what’s
best for your child, whether they like it or not. You are the adult; you are the more experienced, wiser person who can see
the bigger picture. So don’t let your 14-year-old refuse to change her smelly shirt after a netball match because she
gets all huffy and won’t speak to you for a couple of hours.
Don’t let your teenager get away with not
emptying the dishwasher because you can’t bear her sulky behaviour as she does it.
Remember you are teaching
life skills and helping to develop a well rounded, helpful, self reliant adult for the future and if it helps….this
phase doesn’t last for ever!
Your child’s judgement isn’t as good as yours. You are building an adult
and tomorrow’s future generation so stand your ground.
• Listen First, Talk Later
is the best gift you can give anyone including your kids.
Listening makes teenagers feel valued, heard, and understood.
It makes them feel important.
Through listening properly to your children, you help them find their own answers. They
also let off steam. You may even get to ask the odd great question and your child may start to see things from a different
So turn down the TV, stop reading the paper, and stop peeling the potatoes. Look at your teenager and
give them your full attention.
Listen with genuine interest and really pay attention to what they’re telling
you. Keep an open mind and don’t judge or interrupt them. You know how frustrating it is when your friend or partner
interrupts you, half listens, or just says ‘aaahh haaa’ now and again. Your kids deserve better.
it helps to remember that you have two ears and only one mouth for a reason!
• Respect Your Child
relationship with your child is the foundation of their relationships with others. If you treat your child with compassion,
kindness, and respect, they’ll grow up to be concerned about others, caring, considerate, and respectful towards people.
If you are uncaring, rude, and dismissive, your child is very likely to have these characteristic when they grown
Respect is the key to a good family and it brings everyone together. Families don’t die from their setbacks,
but they can wither and die from a negative, sarcastic, taunting, or guilt-ridden culture within them.
obvious as this sounds, speak politely to your child and respect their opinion. Pay real attention when they speak to you
and treat them kindly and remember, your children may choose your old people’s home one day !!!
What small changes can I make this week to move me closer to my teenager?
• How can I show them my love in new more
grown up ways?
• How can I listen to them more effectively this week?
• What would be the benefits to me,
out relationship and to the family as a whole if I committed to these small changes?
• How can I manage my time more
effectively this week?
• How can I be clear about setting firm, fair, specific and negotiated boundaries this week
that are flexible but consistent for everyone?
• What will be the advantages of taking this action this week?
When I hit an obstacle what can I do to get round it, through it or over it to keep moving towards the bigger picture to my
Author's Bio Sue Atkins is a Parent Coach and Author of "Raising Happy Children for Dummies"
one in the famous black and yellow series. She has written many books on self esteem, toddlers and teenagers and has a collection
of Confident Parent Toolkits available from her website. To find out more about her work and to receive her free monthly newsletter
packed full of practical tips and helpful advice for bringing up happy, confident, well-balanced children from toddler to
teen go to => www.positive-parents.com