Parenting Tips

Girls Gone Wild – PG Version

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As the mother of 3 girls, I constantly wonder how I’m going to protect their innocence for as long as possible. I’ve said before that all I want to do is “shelter the crap out of them”. But the truth is that’s virtually impossible. I may try my hardest to limit their exposure to inappropriate behavior and sexuality but many times my overprotection is undone in a hot second because of what’s around them. Dance class requires tiny booty shorts and seductive dancing is common place in choreography. Girls’ clothing reflects bare midriffs and shorts so short butt checks are hanging low. Girl singing groups, although preaching about female power and confidence, show girls dancing like sluts in high thigh-cut leotards.

And mind you, I’m far from a great example as well. I’m a child of the 80’s-90’s when hip hop music was just entering the mainstream and MTV was the best show on television. Anyone who knows me well knows of my fondness for ghetto, booty-shaking music. Remember 95 South, Splack Pack, Uncle Luke? Need I say more. I may have grown up a lot since those days, but I still LOVE that genre of music. I can’t stand listening to Old MacDonald in the car when I know my local radio station is playing Pitbull. L was singing Whistle by FloRida at age 3 and M was singing Worth It by Fifth Harmony at 2.5. At this rate, baby H will be singing What I Like by Bruno Mars in just a few months! (Although I’m trying to cleverly change the lyrics to “sit by the fireplace” over “sex” because that word isn’t even in their vocabulary yet.)

To make matters worse, L is an awesome hip hop dancer. At only 7, she’s taken 4 years of hip hop dance classes. She is always placed front row and center for each recital. She’s just that good. She’s got the rhythm, the sass, and the perfect hip pop year after year. She may reflect that Beyonce attitude already, but the truth is, we try damn hard to keep that mentality limited to the dance studio. As of now, she is clueless to her overall sexuality. Boys take a back seat in her book and her style in dress is much more street cool than sexy cool. We are strict on what is acceptable school attire. With no real dress code at school, it can be a free for all. So keeping limits on what’s allowed is a high priority in our house.

Back to the dance clothes, most studios these days require their students to wear the least amount of clothes as possible during class. I’m hoping it’s more for safety purposes of getting tangled in your clothes while dancing than anything else. I would not allow the girls to wear the dreaded two piece (spandex booty shorts and a sports bra) outfit for several months. They were legit the last girls in their respective classes to wear them. It finally became a problem because “everyone else was wearing them” and now I was the bad (aka mean) mom for not allowing it. Listen, I don’t want my girls to feel excluded but I do need them to understand boundaries. So, I gave in but set up strict rules.  The outfit is only allowed to be worn in the studio and must be covered up before leaving. The girls are constantly reminded to pull down the booty shorts that have crept up their crouch.  If the rules aren’t followed, the two pieces disappear. And they know it.

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So how do I walk this tricky balancing act between society’s sexual influence on little girls and my need to shelter the crap out of them? Well, truthfully, I’m still learning. However, this is what I’ve found works for us. You can’t shield them from life, music, friends, etc. But you can teach them what’s appropriate for their age. Limit Youtube or in our case ban it from the house. It’s full of useless crap anyways. Save it only for when you need to learn something important, like how to do a fishtail braid (That worked for me!).  Censor your music choices. I think it’s ok to listen to your favorite hip hop music, but try to only put on the radio-edit version. Curse words are a whole different animal.  Separate their wardrobe into school clothes vs weekend clothes. Spaghetti strap tank tops and tight too short shorts are not ok for the classroom. Even more so, if your daughter’s shorts are riding up her ass, it’s time to get rid of them. Finally, teach them the word “appropriate”. Make sure they understand that not everything is appropriate for little girls. Some things are only meant for adults, and when they grow up, they can do those things should they choose.  For example in my house, a tiny triangle top bikini isn’t little girl appropriate. Two piece bathing suits are fine, but a small piece of fabric just to cover their nipples is not fine.  (Yes, I’m a total hypocrite because in the 80’s my mom only put a bathing suit bottom on me at the pool or the beach. I have no idea why that was the thing back then, but it was. And you know your mom did it to you too.) But, I’m the mom now, and I’m super over protective as is my hubby, and there are too many f’ing weirdos out there not to be. So the more fabric on my kids’ bodies, the better!  Plus hearing my 5 year old say the word appropriate is damn near the cutest thing ever!

To all the moms of daughters out there, Good Luck! Parenting daughters is hard shit.  Why God gave me three of them to parent is a huge unknown to me. However, I’ll take it as a compliment and a privilege though. I wish for my daughters to enjoy all the fun, mainstream aspects of life, but to do so in an appropriate manner for little girls.

Mama’s Mantra: Find the balance in your own life. But don’t wait until your daughters are grown up to start teaching them appropriate behavior for young girls. Teaching them while they are little will guide them in the right direction to make smart choices as they mature.

 

photo credit: Max Mayorov <ahref=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23139583@N03/7490078656″>Hush, it’s ballet, not opera!</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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