Little girls: grow them up in mud or on the stage?

When I was a little girl, I played in mud and couldn’t wait to play cricket in the backyard with my brother and cousins. I was rough and tumble, always getting cleaned up by mum and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This image of a little girl years ago is far removed from the girls of today…now we’re seeing girls as young as 3 wearing makeup and being primped and prodded to look years older than they are.

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The latest in a long line of shocking parenting is a story from the UK where a mother has spent $10,000 on clothes for her 19-month-old daughter, who she enters into beauty pageants. There has been an outcry, with many questioning the reasoning behind putting her daughter on the stage when she is barely a toddler. Bobbi Boyden’s mum Stephanie said her child is a diva and loves the stage.


It is doubtful little Bobbi would have known about beauty products and the world of pageantry unless she was exposed to it in some way, so is it just plain bad parenting? Should parents stop living their dreams through their children?

Bobbi isn’t alone – child reality TV “stars” get dragged into the limelight by their money hungry parents, often times to the detriment of the entire family…there’s ugly divorces and he-said, she-said. The children are an unheard voice and unobliging – you can see in their faces. What ever happened to the kids of our generation who were just little girls? They wore dresses but as soon as the party was over, they’d rip them off! Perhaps the difference is in parenting…some parents see their children as dollar signs – the hint of talent and suddenly they are pushed onto the stage to parade around. It’s no wonder, then, that some teenage girls are wearing makeup and high heels years earlier than our generation ever did –they have been made to look older their whole lives. And mind you, there’s a difference between a little girl dressing up like her mum and having her makeup professionally done to look attractive for an audience.

Of course you can have the choice to parent your kids in whatever way you like, but when (as a grandparent) should you be stepping in to say let kids be kids? Why force a child to do something that they didn’t want to do of their own accord? It’s a dramatically different world and even though oversexualising or oversocialising may seem like some fun at the time, the reality is that there are some ill people out there who don’t have such innocent thoughts when they see a little girl dressed up in lipstick and a mature-looking dress.

Tell us your thoughts on the little girls of today – should we be taking advantage of their skills while they’re young or should we let them be whoever they want to be?