Look at that magazine cover. Doesn’t it make you sick? It should.
People magazine has a story on child beauty pageants, which also are featured in the reality TV show Toddlers & Tiaras.
“Skimpy costumes, temper tantrums, pushing moms,” the cover says. “Gone too far?”
Yes – obviously.
It doesn’t take a child psychologist to see that it’s damaging to a young girl to turn her into a seductive woman with makeup, elaborate hairdos, spray-on tans, and revealing outfits.
Yet, some clueless (or uncaring) moms sexualize their tiny daughters – as young as 3 and 4 years old – by entering them in beauty pageants.
Why? I’m betting most of the girls don’t want to enter pageants. Instead, their moms encourage the idea to gain some vicarious affirmation themselves.
Dads, we’re off the hook on the subject of beauty pageants. I’ve never heard of a father who encouraged his daughter to enter this high-pressure, drama-filled world.
As for moms, get some therapy for yourself instead of working out need for attention through your kid. Child beauty pageants are probably the most blatant, shocking example of parents living out their own fantasies.
But there are other less obvious ways. Think of the youth soccer games where parents yell at their kids for their play and at referees for their calls. The parents are setting a horrible example of sportsmanship.
I don’t even like the bumper stickers that say, “My son is an honor student at Such-and-Such Middle School.”
Come on, if you’re really proud of your son, tell him quietly. Don’t announce his achievements to the world to feel good as a parent. If I were a kid, I’d be embarrassed by one of these bumpers stickers.
Some parents don’t stop living their lives through their kids once they’re grown, either. I dated a woman once who insisted on telling me over and over that her 28-year-old son lived in a Manhattan apartment that cost $8,000 a month, he frequently traveled to Singapore and he had started several successful companies.
“OK, I know you’re proud of your son,” I finally told her. “That’s great. But you don’t need to keep talking about him. I’m really getting a little tired of it.”
Right. I love my 11-year-old son, too. But I didn’t bore her with stories about Connor winning a school art contest or scoring a soccer goal. The woman and I broke up a short time later for a number of reasons – including her own insecurity.“I love my son,” she snapped back. “I’m just proud of him.”
“If this were a sport, no one would question it,” one woman says. “This is her sport.
Well, it’s a sick sport.
If they don’t enjoy an activity, don’t force them to continue just because you think it’s important. If you do, you could be doing as much damage as the beauty pageant moms.Dads, learn from these overbearing mothers. Encourage your sons and daughters to take part in healthy, character-building activities. Commend them when they succeed, comfort them when they fail. Most of all, listen to them.
Kids shouldn’t feel responsible for their parent’s happiness. They shouldn’t be forced into an activity they don’t enjoy. Appreciate your child for the person they are – not who you want them to be.