She grew up on a side of the road where the church bells ring and strong love grows. She grew up good. She grew up slow…
– “American Honey” by Lady Antebellum
Growing up good and growing up slow. For a lot of kids those are long lost concepts. I am very concerned about the societal environment our children are being raised in nowadays. It is a different world than when I was a little girl tearing down the driveway on my big wheel.
As parents, we have to make a conscious decision about how fast we are going to allow our kids to grow up. If you follow the culture’s guidelines, then your kids will grow up quick. They will have knowledge about adults things long before they are emotionally ready.
I see the affects of kids growing up too fast all the time. There is a hardness and edginess to kids who are not given the protection they need to develop at an age appropriate rate. Now let me say that 100% of parents think they are doing a good job of protecting their children’s innocence. But watch the kid. They will tell you. A few examples include;
* If a child lets curse words slip out of their mouth then you know a parent is either saying them in front of the child or the parent is not correcting the child when he/she says those words.
* If a child is singing suggestive song lyrics then you know a parent isn’t filtering what is being played on the radio or is even encouraging their child to sing “I am sexy and I know it.”
* If a child has seen a lot of PG-13 movies and some R rated movies then you have a parent who isn’t concerned about the adult content that his/her child is seeing and hearing. Some PG-13 rated movies make me blush!
* If a child knows how to access pornographic websites the a parent hasn’t put a webfilter on every single electronic device that has access to the internet (Ipod, Ipad, smart phones, gaming consoles, and the list goes on).
Let me pause here for a moment. If you have a computer and a child who knows how to use it, you need a web filter. Period. Elementary aged kids are going to school and introducing their classmates to the pornographic websites they found on their home computers. Believe me, I am not lying.
So am I a prude? Am I advocating that we shelter our kids to the point that they are not functional in the world? Some might think so. Some might argue that I am being a hovering parent. But I prefer to think that children should be allowed to grow up good and to grow up slow. To be protected from the underbelly within our culture and to maintain their innocence for as long as possible because once it’s gone, there is no getting it back.