Childhood is never the same. 10 years old girls are into diets, manicures and breast implants. See a report in Daily Mail and about Generation Diva in Newsweek. With the onset of puberty at younger years and constant bombardment of sexually charged images, preteens moving from childhood into adulthood, skipping important life stage of adolescence.

Another recent survey, by a children’s organisation questioned 150,000 children and found that an astonishing 26 per cent of ten-year-old girls are obsessed with their weight and feel they’re not thin enough. More girls under the age of ten are being diagnosed with anorexia than ever. Some early teens are opting for breast implants as their birthday presents.

May be parents and culture should be blamed. We are putting so much pressure on our children today to grow up too quickly. They access information which is way beyond their level of maturity in terms of sexual and relationship behaviour. They exhibit increased levels of anxiety among young girls who feel they are not thin enough, not beautiful enough, and compare themselves to the impossible images of their airbrushed idols in magazines.

Many ten-year-old girls are obsessed by hair, fashion and make-up. Children are being inundated with images which they are simply not emotionally mature enough to cope with. They tend to believe this is how they should be and that everybody is doing them. According to market research, if the trends continue, by the time today’s 10-year-old turns 50, she’ll have spent almost half a million dollars on hair, makeup, elective surgeries, manicures, and pedicures.

Another recent study found that fewer than 20 per cent of children play outside on a regular basis. As parents work longer hours and have less time to spend with their children, it is all too easy to dump them in front of a television screen. Many of the TV programmes aimed at teenagers, and music videos which are virtually soft porn. Then there is computers with broadband access without any filters or supervision.

The key to a happy, secure childhood – which is vitally important in creating stable and responsible adults – is to feel good about yourself and know who you are. Coming out of broken homes and self-obsessed parents, this latchkey kids are one of the least nurtured kids ever.

I am currently reading Spoiling Children: How well meaning prents are giving children too much, but not what they need by Dr. Diane Ehresaft. Title says it all.

Coconut Generation