Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sundays with Sarah (19)

To find out more about Sarah and this feature go here.

Welcome once again to Sundays with Sarah.

I’ve been away on hiatus trying to find some new stuff to write about. So after a few weeks of pondering what to write, I stumbled upon something that caught my attention and my aggravation. As parents we all want to raise out children to what we believe is best. But more and more families are starting become more and more dysfunctional. So as families split and step-parents are introduced each parent instills their ideals, morals and values of what their child should learn and in most cases it sometimes conflicts with the other parents way of parenting children. But what caught my attention over the past few weeks is how the age of maturity is happening at younger and younger ages in girls and in part due to the parenting styles of how they are raised today compared to twenty years ago.

Over the past few weeks, I have surveyed and talked to young girls (ages 11-13) and parents with teens and I have found out that there are lots of factors that show the age of maturity beginning in younger and younger kids. One of the pre-teens who I talked to said that for most girls aged 11-13, the biggest problems they face are insecurity, bullying, and aspects in the media. Some girls who “physically” still look as if they are little girls get bullied, harassed and even outcasted by fellow peers because they feel they haven’t learned to grow up, despite that these girls are also the same ages as them. The difference is now becoming the link of what physical maturity is and psychological maturity. Most young girls these days are physically maturing at even younger ages and some as young as 7 and 8. With these girls hitting puberty at an even younger age, it exposes them to the risks of sex, drugs and immorality from those older than them.

Most of the time they feel that they want to be heard. They think that their age has to do with why they are not paid attention to more often and as such with the insecurity will make bad choices based on their peers. Although media does play a part in how teens act and dress, it is the subjective nature of their peers that cause more and more girls to fell that they have to “act older” just to be included. With the act of bullying also on the rise its becoming more and more common to hear about girls being bullied because of what they looks like, who they hang with and what likes and dislikes they have. Television and the internet being the two most leading causes of ho the world views these youths in unflattering light would cause many concerns for parents. The image of “being sexy and well liked” or music videos promoting “suicide” can be to blame for a lot of problems on the self-image young girls see today. From TV to magazines and movies and how superstars portray themselves publicly, more and more adolescents want to “be like” them just so that they can feel secure and fit in.

View of young adolescents today are causing more and more girls (teens in particular ages 12-15) to start experimenting at even younger ages just so that they can “feel loved.” Teen pregnancies are on the rise in Canada and the US and more and more girls are wanting to feel that connection of love and security at such a young age that in part parents today no long know what really to do. Parents today are having a harder time in trying to understand their kids and in part it is due to technology, media, and stereotypes of what and how they should be acting. To list an example, I have a friend (child friend who is 12) and her family is gender split. The boys keep to themselves and the girls do the same. But what I find difficult to comprehend is that the children in this family spend almost ALL their spare and free time playing on the computer instead of going out to socialize. The parents are very much controlling of their child but because of this they also are stunting the children from learning the world around them. The parents still treat their kids as “little kids” and have a hard time letting them grow up. With another friend I have, their parents give them too much “freedom” and as such, they are promiscuous and into boys and would rather feel comfort from having sex and a boyfriend than with being with their friends.

All I got to say is what is really wrong with the world today? Why are all these teens feeling that they have to “act” mature just to fit in, instead of being themselves. When dealing with the physical maturing (girls reaching puberty younger and younger), are things such as social media, Facebook, television and magazine causing more harm than good? The factors in why physical maturity is happening younger and younger has too many causes to explain in my post, but with the psychological aspects of maturity, if none of these influences on young girls never existed, would they still be more active, insane and nicer? Would bullying be as prevalent? Would there be the higher pregnancy rates for younger teens? We all know that there isn’t an easy answer to that question, but for some parts we do know that if the influences of social media didn’t exist, families would probably be closer and doing more actively and physically like getting out and doing more family sports or vacations.

Families these days are more hunched over on their iPhones and computers than getting out and for some part find it as a release from the mundane in everyday life. During my research over the past few weeks I have noticed from discussion from other families and kids that they don’t do as many “non-technological” activities as other would have done say 20 years ago. Sure there are families out there that still do board games but for the most part, they still find themselves too busy to engage in other activities because of social media. When I asked a friend about this, she said that with her family they tend to do more computer time than socializing. When I asked her “Do you find that spending more time on a computer is harder in socializing physically with family?” her response was “No, not really but it can be because it gets awkward and you told them everything online”. This is quite common in many families online and in most part probably causing more issues with socializing than what there was from 20 years ago.

So how does this related to my earlier topic of age maturity in young teens? Well the correlation between the two is that more and more teens are using social media as a means of “social escape” and that social media is now becoming a means of “social parenting” for many teens out there. But what are the affects of “nuclear parenting” and “social parenting” having on teens and kids today? Nuclear parenting allowed more direct parenting methods to be instilled in children that allowed them to still learn the values of relationships, create a better base for morals and ethics while at the same time providing the security of the family. Social parenting (where social media and other not part of the immediate family) provide parenting via the means of a collective feedback method. In the end who is right? I myself do not know the answer to that but I do know that in the end, regardless of how parenting is decided it should still come down to “what’s in the child’s best interest” For parents all they want is a healthy and well brought up child. For those parents all I can say is “GOOD LUCK” because in the end of things, the child will develop more and more of their own personality and when all is said and done, all one can do is help guide them from the wrongs in the world and teach them to improve as a person by showing them the love they need through guidance, discussion of how life is and by teaching them to always have an open mind and heart.

Thanks for tuning in this week I would really like to hear your thoughts on the matter of “Social parenting vs Nuclear parenting” and opinions of “is age maturity a bad thing and why?”

Take care all,

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