by Yanni Brown
Little girls can't wait to grow up! Way too fast.
We live in a world of immediate gratification. Retailers are jumping on the band wagon and offering padded bras and thongs for tweens, junior stick-on nails, hair weaves, and the list goes on.
My mother encouraged me to remain a child for as long as possible, explore my creativity and enjoy my youth. Wide eyed, I asked her why? I wanted to do what the big girls did! I wanted to wear lip gloss and nail polish.
Her reply was simple and plain. She said, "Don't be in such a hurry to do big girl things because big girl things require big girl emotions and big girl decision making."
I'd like to fast forward to 2011 when my daughter asked the same questions of me.
My reply was an expanded version of my mother's. "When you grow up too fast you don't have as much to look forward to because you will have done everything before it is your time. Big girl things require big girl emotions and big girl decision making. Decisions that you are not ready to make!"
I suggest that all mothers prepare to guide their daughters through the rocky transition from girl to young adult. The tough questions are about to begin, and I'm armed and ready with answers.
What so special about my virginity?
"Your virginity is part of your virtue. You are a young lady who barely knows herself. It is critical in your development to take the necessary time to discover, learn, love, appreciate and know yourself and your body before you give those precious things to another."
In some cases, we are not collectively reinforcing our love and feelings for our daughters. Unfortunately some fathers are not present to provide examples of how a real man should treat a woman. Our beautiful little girls are eager to grow up and seek the attention that they are not getting at home, which is usually the wrong attention that they're not mentally equipped to handle. As mothers, we should do our best to make them feel special and loved so that they will value themselves and make good decisions.
Why shouldn't I wear this?
"Because it makes you look older and more mature. I understand that you are exploring and celebrating your beauty, but pretending to look older sends the wrong messages to predators who will try to take advantage of your innocence and put you in compromising situations. When you wear suggestive clothing, think about the message that you're sending. Who are you trying to please?"
We should communicate to our daughters that they are beautiful just the way they are. They don't need make-up, hair weaves, fake nails and eyelashes to define their beauty at such a young age.
Can I be like her when I grow up?
"No. You can be like YOU when you grow up."
We should be teaching our children through our own examples. Celebrities and public figures shouldn't have a stronger influence over your children than yours.
While it's great that your children admire certain qualities of celebrities and athletes, we are their best, most consistent influences. When we set positive examples for our children, we are setting the foundation for them to be all that they can be. Parenting is about role modeling, and giving our children options that we didn't have.
Although it's a struggle, our little girls need for us to step up to the plate! They need us to give love, show love, share love and teach them how to recognize love so that we can begin breaking this vicious cycle that I see in the young girls of today.
We must come twogether collectively in our efforts to preserve their childhood.