Lessons in Love: Girlhood

I read a nice post yesterday about girls and growing up and the pressures and crazy things they face today. The mom that wrote it is much older than I am, but she made a point about the challenges she faced as a young girl being so much less difficult than what her girls are facing today. I think her oldest girl is 13, and they had such a hard time finding a modest dress for confirmation. I can relate….I’m not 13, but I have a hard time finding clothes (mostly shirts and dresses) for myself! I still fit Junior sizes, so I often buy my jeans and shirts in that section of stores, but the tops are either super tight or low cut. Same with the dresses – tight or low cut or even super short.

I always hated that my mom picked out clothing to buy, or at least had to approve it before it was bought. She shopped with me for summer clothes while I was a senior in high school. I remember going to the store for shorts and tank tops for our senior trip, and my mom picked out almost all the styles. I think the only thing I picked myself was a sweatshirt. I always felt uncool because my friends were picking out and buying what they wanted and most of their mothers shopped with them as their girlfriend, not as their mother. It drove me nuts at times that I didn’t have that. Oh how dumb I was! 🙂

Now, please listen carefully when you read these next few thoughts. I am not an advocate of rape, child molestation, pedophiles, pornography or anything related to these things, but SERIOUSLY:
How can we place all the blame on these criminals?? I realize they are demented and sick and it upsets my stomach to think about any of that stuff, but if we’re dressing our 13 year olds like 21 year olds, teaching them to dance like strippers, ok’ing music that calls them awful names, and letting them post raunchy pictures of themselves on Facebook or MySpace or anywhere else online……what do we expect?! These people have no will power, obviously…..so, throwing all this temptation in front of them does not help anything. I’m not saying (AT ALL) that we’re responsible to control their urges or their problems, but why encourage them with what we’re putting on our little girls?!

I was just talking to my mom about Easter dresses for girls. My two little sisters (both taller than me, but I still call them ‘little’. lol) are in Girls or Junior sizes, but my mom has a hard time finding clothing for them that isn’t trashy. Their school has a dress code, which is hard to follow at times I’m sure because of the lack of options out there for girls’ clothing.

Come to think of it, I had a hard time finding bathing suits for MY girls. Iris and Lily are about the same toddler size, but even the toddler swimsuits trouble me at times. They are super high-cut on the legs or ride up in the back or are 2 pieces. I have nothing against anyone that puts a 2 piece on their little girl, but I can’t. I cannot bring myself to do it. I was not allowed to wear a 2 piece while I lived at home, so maybe that has something to do with it. But, I just don’t like to see little girls in 2 pieces. It makes them look older. I don’t like having their navel showing; it draws attention to that area of their body, which creeps me out. Tankinis are one thing (most are okay), but the straight out 2 piece bikini things just drive me nuts. That’s just my opinion for my girls. Again, nothing against anyone who has their little girl wearing one. Some are really cute designs. Maybe I’m just too paranoid about the creepos out there, but I can’t put my girls in a 2 piece and take them in public. I’ve been wearing a 2 piece since I moved out of my parents’ house (originally out of rebellion – LOL), but I was 19 or 20 before that happened!

The other thing that drives me up a wall is dancing. Now, I think it’s hilarious when my girls start dancing to ANY kind of music (Iris even broke into dance in the pew Sunday at church. very funny), but to see the dances the tweens on TV are doing today kinda nauseates me. Even Arthur has comments about how raunchy they dance nowadays. It’s gross – simulating sex….and they’re barely teenager age!

I also have a problem with teen pregnancy. Who doesn’t, really? But, my problem is that it’s not made to look like the disgrace that it once was. Even when I was in high school, just 10 years ago, girls that got pregnant at my age were looked down on. I’m not saying that shunning them or looking down on them is the best idea, but it wasn’t in any way cool or cute or the order in which to do things. Girls were kicked out of my high school for being pregnant. Girls in public school even were removed and sent to alternative schools. Now, you can be a teen, have a baby and bring them to the daycare at your school, so you can complete your education.

Getting an education is important, I agree. BUT, I don’t think that should be first priority when you have a baby. You should be dealing with that. YOUR plans move to the back burner and you deal with the consequences and hardships of having a baby FIRST. Helping teen moms is great, but making it as though it’s just another daily occurrence is wrong to me. God’s plan is obviously for a husband and wife to have babies, not a tenth grader with a casual boyfriend.

I don’t know if all my thoughts made sense or came out right. I don’t want to sound like all teen moms should be quarantined or that we shouldn’t offer them assistance, but I feel like the ball has been dropped when it comes to teaching children to make smart choices and teaching them to understand the consequences for making poor choices. It’s just too easy these days when they have poor judgment. There’s always someone there to take the burden off of them. BUT, if more poor judgment teens were MADE to bear the burden of their choices, I really think there would be fewer teens making poor decisions. They’d see that it’s not easy, that it’s not cool to be irresponsible, and that there’s not always going to be someone to take the baby so you can go on like a normal teenager…continuing to make stupid decisions. At least that’s how I saw it – the girls that had babies in my high school had to leave school, they had to quit the sports they played, they lost a lot of friends because they spent all their time taking care of the baby, their mothers helped them but not 24/7. I don’t even know if most of those girls ever got GED’s, but they certainly weren’t the talk of the town after having a baby. We all gossiped about it for a few weeks, but we moved on….without them. I have noticed several of them went on to have more kids out of wedlock and ended up in crappy relationships. I realize not all teen moms end up that way, but since that’s a serious possibility once you start that trend of having kids out of wedlock, why even risk it the first time?!

I don’t know. Maybe I’m too harsh. Maybe my views aren’t in line with God’s. I hope they are. A pregnant teen daughter is actually my worst fear. My mom’s worst fear might have been one of us getting a B+ on our report card (which I did in Bible class, and my mom threatened to take me off the cheerleading squad for it!), but with the way pregnancy is glamorized today I fear my girls will fall into that trap of thinking it’s not that bad. I really pray that they guard their hearts against the stupid ideologies of the world and just focus on God, family, school, and building good, wholesome relationships. I don’t have a problem with teenagers dating, as long as they understand the whole purpose for dating and/or courting and marriage and male-female relationships. Having a boyfriend is so trendy lately. You’re uncool if you don’t have one. What ever happened to just hanging out in groups? Seriously! I realize I was boy-crazy by 8th grade, but I didn’t really date until several years later, and even then we didn’t really do many dates alone. We went with another couple or hung out with several other people to watch a movie or whatever. Of course, I wasn’t an angel. I regret a lot of stupid things I did when I was a teenager. BUT, I can tell you when the topic of sex would come up amongst us girls, I honestly thought a lot about the girls that had kids and all that I would lose if I ended up pregnant. What a deterrent that was! I was Valedictorian, Homecoming Queen, cheerleading captain, volleyball co-captain, and had lots of friends. I can guarantee I’d have lost all of that as well as any chance of going to college (and then meeting my husband!) if I had been pregnant in high school.

I really hope I am able to raise my girls like my parents raised (and is still raising) my sisters and me. As much as I hated not being “cool” like the other kids, I know I’m a much more responsible adult and parent for it. I know this world is only going to get worse, but I pray my stand on clothing and boys and music and dancing stays the same. I don’t want to sway from godly principles…..my daughters’ lives depend on it.

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