I love hearing what my daughter wants to be when she grows up. Actually, she doesn’t think in terms of “when I grow up,” she wants to do it now. I’m the dream-crushing mom who swoops in and says, “Sure you can do that…when you become an adult.”
She, on the other hand, is convinced that she is grown up. She protests when I call her a girl.
When I answer, “But you are a child.” She informs me that she’s a “tween.”
She’s six. She’s not â€˜tween anything. She’s a little girl.
I, of course, blame corporate America for this phenomenon. In their relentless pursuit to cater to our children’s desires, they’ve proclaimed “KAGOY!” (Kids Are Getting Older Younger.) That’s why they put kid’s chapter books in the “Young Adult” book section in the stores. That’s why they target my daughter as a “tween” (the new term for preteen) when she’s not close to thirteen. That’s why they make teenager clothes for the elementary set. Instead of children being told, “that’s for when you get older,” they’re told, “you can have it now!”
I feel bad for her. I mean, imagine having career angst at six. She just learned to read.
I was so relieved when I volunteered for her kindergarten classroom, and her teacher said, “Now girls and boys….”
Oh good, I thought, exhaling a pent-up sigh. Someone hasn’t forgotten that my daughter’s a girl. She’s not a grown-up stuffed into a small body. She’s not a consumer with unlimited spending potential. She’s not an impressionable youngster who’s just waiting to be branded. She’s a girl.
She hasn’t completely bought into it all though. A couple days ago, after watching a Disney ad, she asked, “Why do they have those commercials with all those new rides on TV? They know that most children can’t go to Disneyworld,” and after a second, an epiphany came to her. “Are they just trying to make those kids feel bad?”
“Yep. That’s it,”
photo by Jeff Stephens