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Too Old, Too Fast

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Too Old, Too Fast

I was sitting in the food court at the mall and enjoying some Panda Express orange chicken when, all of a sudden, I heard a guttural noise nearby:

“YARHRHHHGGYHEEEE”

I jumped with surprise at the inhuman sound and quickly glanced around the massive room for the source of the disruption. My eyes immediately focused on two young girls who were shooting towards each other. When they met, they wrapped together in a massive hug, one lifting the other off of the ground.

“OH MY GAWD! I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN, LIKE, FOUR HOURS!” they shrieked and howled to each other. I turned to my friend and gave him a dark scowl. I wondered, “Why are they being so loud? This is a public place, isn’t it? It’s ten o’ clock at night, and they should be home by now. They can’t be driving age, can they?” I scrutinized the screaming girls. Their faces were coated in eye shadow, lip gloss, and foundation. The roots of their hairs were dyed pink and yellow. They had on low-cut tops and skirts that went up mid-thigh. The worst part was, they looked like they couldn’t have been older than 12 or 13, and yet they were already dressing like women who were out on the town.

“Gosh, they’re dressed like sluts,” I remarked to my friend.

“You’re such an old man. Everyone dresses like that these days” he quipped back.

As ‘old manish’ as it might seem, kids are growing up way too fast. It seemed that, starting in middle school, a lot of girls started dressing older than people their age should. They all seem to be growing up too fast. "The 12- to 14-year-olds of yesterday are the 10- to 12-’s of today," says Bruce Friend, a vice president of the kids' cable channel Nickelodeon. According to Friend, the Nickelodeon-Yankelovicht Youth Monitor found that today, 12-year-old kids often describe themselves using words like "flirtatious, sexy and trendy."(Hymowitz). When I was 12, I never described myself as ‘flirtatious’ or ‘sexy,’ and I was 12 only six years ago!

It isn’t just the clothes or words that give it away either. Pre-teens are showing more rebellious attitudes and exhibiting more risky and adult behaviors. Aside from wearing revealing clothing or screaming in public places, drug and alcohol use as well as sexual activity are now becoming issues with pre-teens. “We're beginning to see a few pregnant sixth-graders,” says Christy Hogan, a former middle-school counselor (Hymowitz). Sixth grade?! Those are 11- and 12-year-olds! Pregnant?! You have got to be kidding me!
It troubles me that so many children are becoming adults so much faster because of peer pressure and images that the media portrays to them about what is masculine or feminine, or what is sexy. Look at the star of the popular Disney Channel show Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus. My 8-year-old sister watches Hannah Montana religiously, as do many of my cousins, ranging from ages 5 to 10. In 2008, Cyrus was the subject of a revealing Vanity Fair photo shoot in which she, 15 at the time, appeared bare-backed and with a sheet covering her front. In August of 2009, Cyrus performed at the Teen Choice Awards, an award show that, despite its name, is as much geared towards 10- to 12-year-olds as well as teens. During the performance, she jumped up onto a platform and swung around a pole as she sang (Serjeant). ‘Hannah’ is one of my sister’s biggest role models, but when she sees the things Cyrus does in her free-time, what is my sister supposed to think? I don’t want her thinking it’s cool to dance like a stripper or that wearing revealing clothing at her age is okay just because Hannah does it. Unfortunately, Cyrus, and other child-star turned bad-girl role-models have much more sway over how my sister acts and dresses than I do. I am thankful that my sister still watches a healthy dose of SpongeBob, and still has the silliness that all 8-year-olds should have, but if I hear her singing Katy Perry’s hit song “I Kissed a Girl” one more time, I’ll scream.
The worst part about childhood pressures to grow up faster is the paradox that they create, and that the kids won’t see their errors until it’s too late. The older that a person gets, the more they’ll miss their childhood years. They’ll realize that being an adult means a whole new set of responsibilities, like paying expensive bills, working long hours, and high expectations from bosses and co-workers. It also means many harsh realities, like “I can’t use this money to eat out at restaurants every night or to buy video games, I need it to pay the electricity bill,” or “I don’t have summer vacation anymore, I work year-round. The weekend is my vacation.”
When confronted with the issue of their fast-aging children, some parents take the “Well, they have to grow up some time” view, but I don’t believe that. Children should always be given the opportunity to just be kids until at least their teenage years. They shouldn’t have to worry about how they look, or cliques, or dating. Kids should just be kids, and they should be that way for as long as they can before moving on to the next stage in life. I think they’ll be much happier teenagers and adults that way.




Works Cited
1. Hymowitz, Kay S. “Kids Today Are Growing Up Way Too Fast”

The Wall Street Journal, 28 October 1998

1 November 2009. Web.

2. Serjeant, Jill “Miley Cyrus Voted Worst Celebrity Influence of 2009”

The New York Times, 28 October 2009

1 November 2009. Web.





Join the Discussion

This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

always_invisible said...
Feb. 16, 2010 at 2:55 pm
i think ur point a view is right teens do act older then they r mostly girls!!!!!!!
 
NotThatGirl said...
Dec. 24, 2009 at 12:28 pm
I absolutely agree, as I am one of the fourteen year olds you're talking about. My grade is a little "forward", people were making out in sixth grade. I think it's going to affect my peers on who they become later on. They're growing up way too fast, and they'll become just like their parents. It's really sad to watch.
 
thinkb4youspeak said...
Dec. 23, 2009 at 7:53 pm
hi! i ust want to say that although you have a great point, your use of the word ' slut ' is very inapropriate. these girls are probably not actual sluts and you calling them that is very offensive. teenage girls are experiomenting and trying to define who they are. i' sure these girls have plenty of people critisizing them and they don't a complete stranger to write an article about it.
 
KyleECronin replied...
Jan. 16, 2010 at 2:27 am
Thanks for the input. Whether they are or are aren't " sluts ", they were dressed like it. My point is that they, by going out in public dressed as they were, they chose to portray themselves like that. I don't like that aspect of it. They think its okay, and possibly even desire, to be looked upon as sluts .
 
dragonbiscuits This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 5:01 pm
Yes! THANK YOU! This is a really well written article, I mean, a bibliography?! Wow! It is so true, too. Heck, I think all teenagers should watch more Spongebob and less "The Hills" or whatever it is.
Hannah Montana- a milestone of what I will now refer to as "The kick - off of Fail Nation" And not good fail.
You said your little sister sings "I kissed a girl" Seriously? I didn't even know the concept of popular music when I was eight! (and I... (more »)
 
Natasha M. said...
Dec. 12, 2009 at 12:59 pm
Amazing article. Captures exactly how I feel.
 
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