Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Generation Of Cowardly Parents

I don't happen to be one of those 'cowardly parents' (ask my kids, they'll all shriek with laughter at the very idea of it), but I see the evidence of these parents when I'm out and about: young kids with expensive jewelled cell phones or laptops; young kids with wildly inappropriate clothing; young kids hanging out where they shouldn't be; young kids who lack the most basic of social skills, and are generally excused by their parents with either a "She's shy" or some nervous laughter.

Emphasis on young. I'm not talking teens. Move down the age scale a tad.

And so this article really struck a chord with me. Ever since FDPG grew out of the Girls 2 - 6X department of any clothing store, I've been noticing it. The clothing leaps from bright colours and funky designs to grays and blacks and weird slogans, things like PRINCESS IN TRAINING or GIRLS JUST WANNA SHOP or HAND OVER THE CREDIT CARD or my own personal favourite: JUICY. Sure, I want my 9 year old to have a pair of pants with JUICY slapped across her bum. That's not weird at all, is it? So far I've managed to sidestep most of this crap by buying at boutique shops where they eschew the slogans (mostly in favour of overpricing their stock, lol), but I can see the day dawning when FDPG, quirky as she is, is going to want more daring outfits.

But LZ Granderson said it far more eloquently than I ever could, and that's probably how I'm going to answer her if it ever comes to that. Given that her brother is currently going through his own fashion statement period, I'm sure it will. Here are a few excerpts:

I get it, Rihanna's really popular. But that's a pretty weak reason for someone to dress their little girl like her. ...Friends bow to peer pressure. Parents say, "No, and that's the end of it."...A line needs to be drawn, but not by Abercrombie. Not by Britney Spears. And not by these little girls who don't know better and desperately need their parents to be parents and not 40-year-old BFFs.

We don't want to risk the wrath of our kids, he says, so we give in. Here here, I say. Listen to the man. Then get yourself a backbone and remember who you are in your child's life.


Samantha said...

I read that article this morning. Very well said. I hope parents listen.
Great rant Sheila, and definitely something to be pissed off about.

Mrs. Deeply Suburban said...

I couldn't agree more. For many years we've been watching a family member fail to say NO to his daughter at every turn--partly due to guilt over divorce, but also just wishy-washy cowardice. What if she doesn't like me anymore? Just waiting for those chickens to come home to roost; meanwhile a huge tatoo and an embarrassing costume change at Christmas dinner keep us all cringing. You gotta lay that groundwork early! 16 is too, too late to start.

Mary-Sue said...

isn't that just such a well-written article? i loved it. just NAILS the issue. i'd like to make some copies and keep them in my purse and hand them out to complete strangers who are guilty of such idiotic choices! thanks for this, Sheila! the more who read it, the more will hopefully think this thing through!!

sheila said...

Well, at least there are some of us sensible sorts out there. I sometimes wonder why I am going to so much trouble making sure my kids are kind and polite and well-spoken when the rest of society could care less.

And yes, I AM somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Somewhat.

sheila said...

By the way, if you keep clicking on those articles, at some point there is a video interview with some TV woman and LZ, and she implies that it's easy for parents with boys but those with girls - gosh, who wants to be a Mean Parent? Exasperating how the whole message went right over her head. Fortunately LZ was clear about what a load of bosh she was talking.

Diane said...

I couldn't agree more. Shopping with my pre-teen for clothing is such a chore. When you get to that age all the junior size clothing is incredibly inappropriate. Even my daughter notices it. Tops low cut, pants to tight with words written across the bottom. What happened to all the normal clothing?

Erin said...

But the irony is, It Is Not easier with boys!! As a mom who still does the majority (okay all) of her two boys' clothing shopping, I am forced by many corps to dress my nature-loving, soft-hearted, free-to-choose-his-style, articulate boy in one of the following designs: warm-hued flame ensembles, heavy sports themes with emblems, combat fatigues (the whole mess this morning on the news and the bloodlust associated with war...don't even let me begin ranting!), or increasingly happier-faced skulls-but-skulls-none-the-less. Or distorted images that I wonder if the likes of are offending the prevailing gangsters in my town. And in shades of dark blue, navy blue, midnight blue, gray or black. Harumph! I am really tired of dragging our not-mall-loving-and-worshipping selves from store to store to discover this take over shifting down the age scale to toddlers and babies!!

Sculls with soothers in mouths at the top baby wear store in our local mall. Sigh.

Thank goodness for Lands End, Gymboree, and MEC and other places I can buy a simple t-shirt or sweatshirt that doesn't turn my boys into hot-headed machismos or other branded types.

A great rant, and thanks for saying all of this. It is the same over on the mainland and the girls are getting older, faster, by the minute. Yipes. No wonder we are looking for missing teens hooked up with teachers and internet strangers so often.

Giving my backbone a workout,