A child should be taught to respect themselves; mind, body and soul during the 18 years that parents are responsible for raising them.
For a girl this means that she learns that no one has a right to touch her body without her permission. It means that both parents must make sure that this rule is not violated and if she comes and tells you it has been that you listen and take appropriate steps (contact children’s protective services).
**Many girls who I have worked with who have been sexually abused had a parent (s) who knew about this and were told. Often times it was one of the parents or those living in the household (i.e., spouse, stepparent, boy/girl friend, sibling). Other times it was relatives and still other times an addicted parent will sell the child to others. The parent who knew, ignored them and told them they were lying.
A young girl should grow up to think she is beautiful, loved and is capable of accomplishing whatever she would wish to do. If the young girl shows a weakness, than you find her strengths and encourage these talents. If a girl believes she is loved by her family she will not seek out love anywhere she can find it. If a child has a handicap it is important to empower their strengths and not make them feel as if they are powerless. Many people with handicaps go on to become very successful people who do things most would not venture to try.
**Girls who are emotionally abused; for example told they are ugly, dirty, stupid, will never amount to anything, believe this and continue to self-sabotage the rest of their lives. When a child is told the opposite they believe this and become very successful people who live healthy lives.
If a girl is taught to be at the mercy of a man than she will not be capable of accomplishing to her potential. She will constantly lower herself in ways so that she will be able to attract the attention of a man. When a woman lowers herself she draws in those who wish to take advantage of her.
If a girl is allowed to dress in a provocative, risque manner she will be seen by young boys and men in a sexualized way. Whether or not a man or young boy should act on their impulses is not the question. If a girl is taught to respect herself and her body she would not need to dress in this manner. A girl from 0-18, to be respected should dress like a girl not a woman. A woman is capable of understanding more about the world, if she is raised consciously, a young girl is still at the mercy of family who can not be with her at all hours of the day.
**Girls who are susceptible to prostitution, which can lead to human trafficking are those who have grown up sexually abused or feeling as if they were worthless. They cling to the young men and males who provide a faux sense of security and love. They give them lingerie that look like they are from Victoria’s Secret, which has become the envy of teen girls.
Why as women do we fight for young girls to be allowed to dress anyway they want? Is this really the argument we wish to be known for in today’s society? Is a provocatively dressed young girl really going to be a future president, astronaut, CEO? For if she is raised to be able to dress herself in a sexual way why would her mindset be focused on a future as a highly successful woman?
Why are corporations such as Victoria’s Secret and Abercombie and Fitch continuing to cater to teenagers by providing sexual images in their advertising to draw young people into a desperate web of needing to look like the models? Because parents allow their children to buy it and give them the money to do so. It is a very lucrative business – sexualizing teens. A businessman thinks of profit not establishing ethics in society. If as parents we establish ethics and values for our children, the businessman will have to sell clothing suitable for children as they once did.
If young girls are raised to believe they are beautiful, loved and respected – free of violence toward them, they will not sabotage their bodies with food, razors, and other vices.
Most of all however a young girl needs to be taught boundaries. She needs to be able to set rules at a young age to protect herself in society and feel comfortable standing up for what she believes in. At home this means that if she shuts the door to her room or bathroom, no one opens it without knocking first to make sure she is decent. If she talks about things she has read or learned in school, that you listen. If sometimes she needs her space and wants to stay in her room for awhile, this is respected.
What this does not mean is that you allow children to run the house – which is an extremist way of looking at this. Parents often do the opposite of their own family which is a concrete thinking process (i.e., black or white). What is being suggested here is a grey area whereby one sets rules for their children and at the same time allows them to become independent under their tutelage.
Young girls need to be taught about their bodies, menstruation, sex, birth control and in a way that helps them to understand they have power over who comes into their life. If they are taught to NOT have sex, they will want to have it to be rebellious. If they are taught to have respect for their bodies and given expectations to follow such as a future academician rather than a future wife, and if they have been raised consciously, sex will not be something that they need to fulfill themselves emotionally. Girls who have sex at a young age are looking for love, attention, and in some cases have already been violated sexually. Girls who are raised with expectations about their future, are loved, respected, and raised to have confidence in themselves and trust their family, are not drawn to sex.
Teaching girls about birth control shows that you respect them as young women and wish to explain to them about the responsibility of being a woman. If you teach a child about drugs and alcohol this will not make them a user anymore than if you explain birth control, they will want to run out and have sex. When we teach children to vote they understand that this will not happen until they are 18.
If we teach wisely and raise our children in a healthy household they will become wise people and understand their limits as a child.
- Has Little-Girl Primping Gone Too Far? In a Word, Yes. (bellasugar.com)
- Parenting is no child’s play (thehindu.com)
- Stop Being Your Kid’s BFF and Start Being Their Parent (blogher.com)