The other day while volunteering at my Lila's school, I had a most disturbing conversation with a friend of mine, a mom of an 11-year-old. Her older daughter, a sixth-grader, was under all kinds of stress because she was being bullied at school, for wait on it not wearing make-up, having only one hole in each ear and none in her lip, and not being allowed to go to PG-13 movies. With boys. Alone.
Um, lip piercings?
At age 11?
Where they do that at?
Apparently at a middle school a couple neighborhoods away. I can't even begin to explain how disturbing this is to me, considering my Mari is the same age as the aggrieved little girl, a former classmate. And the girl's poor mother she was just at wit's end with the teacher (who did nothing), the school counselor (who seemed to focus more on the bullied rather than the bullies), and the bad butt kids who were harassing her daughter (a few boys who made a point of reminding her that she was a baby compared to her cooler female classmates, presumably the ones with lip piercings and parents willing to drive them to solo movie dates). But the biggest culprits of all the madness, we both agreed, are the parents of a sixth-grade student body that seems hell-bent on letting their kids age way before it's time. I mean, if there are parents willing to let their little girls do all of this at age 11, what on Earth will those kids be doing at 16?

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  1. I agree. As parents, we are the "keepers of innocence". If we don't protect our child, who will? I admire your friend as a mom of an 11 year old son and 14 year old daughter myself. I have had similar discussions about movies and dating in my own household. In the end, my husband and I know that what we are doing is parenting and sometimes that means actually making a decision that seems reminiscent of how our parents reared us…

  2. "if it sounds like I'm being judgmental, that's because I am."

    I died when I read that line!

    You're right, I'm not sure when it happened but my little cousins have all been hit with this "I am grown and I wear makeup to school at 11 and 12" mentality. I blame my uncle because NO WAY was I allowed to do stuff like that 15+ years ago. I would have had my parents, my uncles, my aunts and everyone else all in my business with the quickness had I even thought about makeup! AND EARS! aww lawd, I couldn't even get those pierced until I was 12. That USED to be an extended family rule straight from the island (Jamaica). but now??? Oh no one of my little cousins even gets her eyebrows arched…really, REALLY??!??! she's 12.

    maybe things have changed?

    • Funny…my mom is Jamaican and my ears were pierced as an infant. And I thought my family was strict, LOL!

      I would do the same with my daughter. To me, it just seems natural to pierce a baby girl’s ears although I know it seems controversial.
      Now as to makeup…it depends. I would say no to heavy makeup for a young girl but I would allow soft, subtle makeup to enhance her natural beauty. Nothing too crazy but enough to let her feel like she has some freedom. Just a bit of clear gloss and some mascara.

      I wish I could have been allowed to fix my eyebrows at that age, like your cousin does. I had the worst eyebrows and it added to my low self-esteem about my looks….they were bushy and not cute. I cringe when I see old pictures of myself as a child and teenager.
      My relatives in Jamaica were extremely strict with me but it seems they were very lenient with one of my cousins and she wasn’t that much older than I was. I never understood that.

      I think young girls should be allowed to play with makeup and clothes and yes, to have pierced ears…but their attitudes should be on point, their grades should be on point, and parents need to have good relationships with their kids.

  3. Agreed, and they need to be judged. Our kids have enough pressure simply trying to maintain grades and chores.

    Privileges {if you can call them that} and liberties progress as time goes by. If they are allowed to do those things at 11, by 16 they'll be having sleepovers with the fellas. {No ma'am}

  4. Wow, that's pretty scary to think that this is happening. These little girls are doing things that I'm not even doing now as a grown woman. It goes back to the parents setting up boundaries with their kids and not spoiling them ROTTEN. These parents must not realize that by allowing these girls to do these things and others they are setting them up to be targets of abuse and taken advantage of by older men. What the heck?

  5. Ah, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    I remember being 11/12 living on the South side of Chicago and having exactly these issues (aside from specific fashions such as lip piercings.)

    I was definitely shunned as a "baby" because I wasn't allowed to wear makeup and go to unchaperoned house parties (where there was lots of drinking, I might add). Among other crazy things they were doing.

  6. Oh–I meant to say, "and that was 1980"!

  7. She may be a "baby," but at least she won't be making one.

  8. Teresha@Marlie and Me

    I'm so over parents trying to be their kids best friends or relive their youth through their children. I definitely will not be the cool mom who is down with heavy eye-makeup or co-ed sleepovers. My daughter might hate me when she's 12, but that's okay. She will thank me when she's not washed-up and wasted at 21.

  9. Well I'm not a parent but a advocate of children and will say that this seems like a prequel to Teen Mom and episodes of Maury Poevich. It is a sad day when parents are trying to be friends instead of parents.

  10. "She may be a "baby," but at least she won't be making one."
    That is hilarious. In a sad way, cuz it's so right on.

    I so agree with you. I really think it goes back to teaching our children self-respect and self-control. Or actually, I think it's the parents that need the lessons!!

  11. MayaandSean's Mom

    Those of us who do care about preserving the innocence of our children, should constantly stand up to those who don't. Thanks Denene, for your voice of reason!

  12. This reminds me of my middle school years, when this boy in one class would bully me by calling me ugly and saying how I was a virgin. As if being a sexually inexperienced KID is a bad thing.

    I hate slut-shaming…I’ve been both “prude-shamed” and “slut-shamed”. But it is sad when a child is being bullied because they still have hobbies/interests appropriate for their age.
    I mean, I was definitely into makeup and I dreamed about boys but I was also a little girl in most ways.
    I knew plenty of kids who were sexually active when I was growing up but no one had anything but their ears pierced in middle school, and girls who wore even a tiny bit of makeup were often ridiculed.

    I believe that kids should definitely be allowed some freedom, but these are the rules in my home…no unsupervised dates until the age of 16, but group dates are OK. I have no problem with a bunch of kids hanging out in a safe environment. I wouldn’t consider that to be real dating, more like friends just having fun.
    Makeup is fine if it is appropriate for the occasion and if it is well applied. I would start allowing gloss and mascara at 12, maybe some concealer if she wants to cover blemishes. As to piercing? No facial piercings until the age of 16 but I would allow a second set of holes in her ears in middle school…that looks cute and there is nothing inappropriate about it.

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