How to handle (gracefully) your child trying to grow up too fast.

   By Jacqui1101  Sep 12, 2011

 I remember when I was my daughters age, I was outside from right after breakfast and wouldn't come home until dinner time.  Lunch was taken on the fly if my friends and I weren't having too much fun.  We would be in the field between two apartment buildings using it as a kickball field.  The field itself was dirt and the trees were our bases.  We would run around the entire complex playing hide and seek.  The apartment buildings were our hiding zones.  If it rained?  Well, we were still outside jumping in puddles and coming home all wet and muddy.  Or, we would be at friends homes playing Barbies or Board Games.

Today, that field sits empty and actually has grass.  The buildings ring with silence because parents don't feel comfortable with the kids running in and out of buildings where they don't know the tenants.  While I don't understand why the field actually has grass, I do understand the hide and seek zones.  

Kids don't seem to want to do many physical activities outside of what their parents sign them up for, or what they have to do at school.  Most seem to be all about the technology.  You have the iPod, iPad, eReaders, Netbooks and other paraphanalia that the kids are drawn to.  They watch TV shows on Disney or Nickelodeon that may or may not be age appropriate.  They want to be those kids on TV.  If they have all the fun electronics, why can't we?  My daughter decided she wanted an iPod and took her Birthday and Christmas money and bought one for herself.  While I think this is a great way to teach her to value things that were bought, I start to wonder if I should have allowed the purchase?  Then, I do watch how she uses it.  She is texting or calling her friends or family.  She plays games on there.  She also does her Social Networking, which is her blog and Twitter.  I do count myself lucky as she is a well rounded child and does not live on her iPod. 

But, as most children her age, she is growing up.  And she tries to act older than she is.  I don't have to worry about make up yet, but, she has a "boyfriend" at school.  This leads back to technology.  When I was a child, I didn't have a way of contacting my "school boyfriend" outside of school.  So, that was left at school.  But these days, that has changed.  They text.  They call.  Technology is a blessing and a curse.

With Technology advancement, children are given many opportunities to see and hear things that they may not fully comprehend.  When they do understand what they are hearing and seeing, I feel that it gives them an unfair push to growing up faster than they should.  They should be out there running around, laughing and acting like children.  Not sitting on their bottoms and learning things to advance their mental growth.

So, who is to blame?  It's very easy to blame the parents.  I'll be the first to admit that.  However, that's not always the case.  Where, with my generation, parents did not feel the need to sit outside and watch everything we did, there is that feeling now.  We all know that we scour the websites to see who moved into our area.  Are our kids safe?  My daughter is 10 and I will walk down to the park with her to make sure she is ok.  But, we live in busier times.  The kids today don't always have one parent home with them.  So, what happens?  We come home, have to cook dinner, go over homework, get things ready for the next day and clean up from the current day.  If the parent doesn't feel comfortable with their child being outside for a long length of time, then what happens is, the child is inside watching TV, playing on the computer or any other electronic they have, and being exposed to things they don't understand right away.

So, the question now stands of, "what can we do to stop this phenomenon?"  "Is there anything that really can be done?"  What do you think?

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Jacqui1101 by Jacqui1101 | OXFORD, PA
Sep 12, 2011

Another thing you can do as well is give your children a safe word. This way, if someone were to come up to them and say, "something happened to your mom, dad, sibling, and I'm here to take you to them". Have your child ask for their safe word. I gave my daughter her safe word just in case. It's sad to have to come to that, but, we know we have to realistically.

Turtleks by Turtleks | Derby, KS
Sep 12, 2011

Im the same way but one of my daughters has long blond hair and small. Prime description for pedophile targets. I try to have my kids in groups of at least 2 or 3. My husband is a cop so it makes him even more protective. I have worked with my girls on not just what to do if a stranger comes up but how to get away if grabbed. Its sad that society has gotten to the point where girls even women are not safe in thier own neighborhoods

Jacqui1101 by Jacqui1101 | OXFORD, PA
Sep 12, 2011

I understand that completely! I do the same thing and my daughter, who will be 11 in December, is like, I'm growing up! Stop treating me like a baby! It is hard to let go sometimes :(

DianeHoffmaster by DianeHoffmaster | LILBURN, GA
Sep 12, 2011

My son is 11 and I am trying hard to give him more freedom but it is SO hard. You worry that if you let go, something bad is going to happen to them!