Keep Them Little :: Preventing Children from Growing Up Too Fast

Incoming!!! Look Out!! Inappropriate gestures, curse words, and classmates wearing makeup at the playground.

Parents can try to keep their children innocent as long as possible, but at times it seems impossible.

A 4th grade boy asked my daughter if she wanted to go on a date? Her response was “Never!” followed by “we’re way too young for that!” I actually praised her for her smart response.

Keep Them Little | Albuquerque Moms BlogSocial media, t.v., and even music on the radio . . . have my kids asking what does that word mean? Or why is she wearing a bathing suit to the award show? (Frankly, I was wondering the same thing!)

They learn about unique gestures or questionable language at school. And curious minds want to know what these things mean. If you say nothing, their peers will fill them in with who knows what. That means a fellow 4th grader will teach my children about the big, grown-up topics? No! I want it to be me.

I want to be the one to explain these mature topics. It’s frustrating. I feel like I have been forced to speak a little too quickly and openly about topics that I wasn’t ready to discuss, quite yet.

We live in a fast world . . .  text messages, downloads, fast food. Everything is all so convenient and so easily accessible. Which can actually be a bad thing at times. It’s especially difficult if you are trying to keep your 4th grade daughter a little girl . . . which is, in fact, who she is. She’s not a teenager and certainly not an adult.

We walk this delicate balance telling kids just enough facts to inform, but not too many gory details to shock them. I want to be the one to answer my kids’ questions. I want them to know they can always talk to their mom. Their mom is a safe haven for questions, comments, and discussions on every topic imaginable. (Even when I’d rather not talk about it.) The difficulty is filling them in, without forcing them to grow up.

My vow is to keep them little as long as humanly possible. It will not be easy in a world of complete openness and access to everything.

We don’t have cell phones for our children. I don’t allow them to play violent video games. We don’t even watch the local news very often. I don’t even watch the news that often. I don’t care to hear all the negative stories either. We do discuss current events and tragedies.

My daughter got upset after watching earthquake victims in a movie at school. I wondered if she needs more exposure to these things? Is she too sheltered? “Wait a minute,” I thought. Maybe she’s not a sheltered child, but a sensitive one. I might even call her an age appropriate, compassionate child. What’s wrong with that?

Compassionate, sensitive, age appropriate, and responsible. These are the descriptions I long to attach to my children. All knowing, all access, desensitized, and grown up. Those are the descriptions we are fighting hard to avoid.

My daughter wants to shove all her dolls in the closet. They are for little kids she says. I encourage her to keep a few handy just in case one day she does feel like playing with them again. We watch animated movies like Leap and Ferdinand as a family with my 12- and 10-year-old. They also watch Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Titanic. There is no harm in embracing childhood experiences, toys, and even movies. Adults might even benefit from a walk down memory lane and a time when they too were young and innocent. It’s called childhood for a reason. They are still children. Please let them be.

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