The images of young girls nowadays are so drastically different to those of previous generations they have become incomparable.The changing female image
Being plain is almost taboo now. No matter what profession you pursue, it feels like there's an underlying pressure to conform to a certain standard of appearance.
Classical female musicians for instance have become indistinguishable from models on the covers of fashion magazines. Everyone wants to look their best of course but there shouldn't be any hidden pressure that without a certain appearance you are not good enough!
Women used to be regarded as the sex who were the standard bearers for high moral values, the ones who had self discipline and control, the voice of reason and a calming influence.
It was the woman who would be more likely to say to her husband, "Come on now, you've had enough" whereas today the opposite seems to be happening to too many of our young girls.
Words like modesty, restraint, dignity and self pride seem to have no place in the modern world of many young girls.
Chidren should be protected from knowing too much too soon. Girls today have too much pressure and expectations placed upon them. It's on the internet, on TV, in teenage magazines, it's everywhere!Declining femininity
There has been an alarming change in how girls dress and behave. Heavy make-up, extremely short hemlines, ridiculously high heels and skintight clothes are becoming all too common.
In some countries around the world female behaviour has become more extreme. Loud voices with plenty of screaming and shrieking, especially in public, and a vocabulary littered with swear words.
Then there's an aggressive attitude with no apparent sense of shame or embarrassment, in fact a desire to shock. Of course this doesn't apply to all girls everywhere, but sadly too many of them are causing concern.
Young girls are obsessed with their appearance, and we must all take our share of the blame.
Take the clothing market! It's a hotbed of inappropriate outfits some of which are adorned with horrendously suggestive messages.
Young girls' underwear is often "sexual" even for pre teens! Whatever happened to good old knickers and vests? Teenage magazines are full of sexual advice and information.
Young girls want to wear make up, have false tans, wear false nails and in some cases resort to cosmetic surgery. It's all happening at such a pace, girls are deprived of their childhood and innocence too soon.
It's as if society has hit the fast forward button to hasten their maturity.
We seem to have educated our girls to be equal and strong, but this is now backfiring. Too many of them are interpreting equality as proving they have to behave in a masculine way.
Sometimes these girls are referred to as "geezer birds". A geezer bird can swear more, drink more and pass wind louder than any boy, and wants the world to know it!
- Internet porn (so easily accessible)
- Boys who "expect" them to "perform"
- Teenage magazines (full of explicit sexual advice and information)
- Toy dolls that are totally inappropriate (heavily made up faces, sexually developed bodies)
- Media that constantly bombards them with images promoting women as sexual objects
- Stick thin celebrities
- A culture of cosmetic surgery to achieve "perfection" (Big breasts, skinny body)
- The idea that success is a rich boyfriend or husband, so you just need to look good, there's no need to work hard at anything other than your appearance
All these factors affect our young girls, encouraging them to grow up "too quickly" and miss out on the innocence of childhood. They are not allowed the time to change into adolescents and womanhood at their own pace. The result is many young girls doing things they're not happy about just because it's what their peers do, or expect of them, and this is not only wrong, but sad.Does being equal mean being the same?
Women have wanted, and should be treated equally in society. Freedom of choice, opportunities for education and training, equal pay for equal work are all reasonable expectations.
It seems widely thought that equality means being the same, but you can be different and still be equal.
Women don't have to act like a man to be equal to a man! But how many times do you hear women saying things like, "I don't need a man to open the door for me!" Well women certainly don't need a man to open the door for them but many happen to like it!
Does that make them unequal or a lesser person? Is he undermining them by opening the door?
Some women react to this gesture in the extreme. Some women breeze through a door that's been held open for them by a man as if to say, "Don't expect any thanks, I could have opened it myself!" And what does that do? It makes men think we're all ungrateful, or offended by any help, so they stop doing it for all of us. Oh dear...
The need to be equal in every corner is one of the major problems. Women can be just as successful and still be a woman. Some women will be thinking about inequality in the workplace, and I agree that this is an ongoing issue, but perhaps trying to behave like a man isn't the answer either.
We've come a long way since the 1940's when a woman's place was literally in the home, and we're not going to sort out hundreds of years of male dominance at work quickly, but we're getting there.
It's interesting that research now suggests many women prefer a man who is traditionally male, as opposed to a modern man who behaves in a less masculine way. There is nothing wrong in this preference so why try to change the essence of our natures?
A strong man can make you feel protected, and may even help out with the chores, but if he suddenly started running around dusting everything and insisting on washing up all the time, would it be a turn off? We should celebrate our differences, use them to compliment each other and try not to become genderless.
We want to produce young women who are confident, ambitious and at the same time happy and comfortable about their choices with the opposite sex, so what can we do?
Parents have a compulsory duty to bring their children up correctly.
It isn't fair on the child or the community in which they live in if they neglect this responsisibility.
When things go wrong because of the child's misbehaviour, the parents can often hide away from the consequences, but the child and the community cannot.
As the undisciplined child grows up and creates mayhem for themselves and everyone around them, the parent who is ultimately responsible for all these problems, finds themselves having to bear the repercussions of their negligence.
Gaining the trust and respect of your child is one of the most important goals to achieve as a parent.
If you want your teenagers to treat you with respect then you must earn that respect.
When a child respects you, they are much more likely to listen and act on your advice.
You can find more on this subject in the Parents and Teenagers section of this site.
Spend time with your daughter, it's easy to put things off because of a busy lifestyle, work commitments, the list is endless! But often tomorrow never comes and when we look back we can see the error of our ways.
We regret our mistakes but it's too late, you can't go back and change things, so make time for her now!
Do things together that you both enjoy. It will help to keep your relationship close.
Don't be afraid or embarrassed to tell her that you love her and make her feel valued.
Explain to her about the world, the good the bad and the ugly, the experiences you've had that helped you to learn, and tell her where all the pitfalls are.
Children should be able to talk to their parents about anything. You don't have to have all the answers, that's not important, you can tell her that you don't know and look for the answers together. It doesn't matter whether you find what she says shocking or embarrassing, just be honest and give her the best advice you can.
This is a very important stage in their learning and it's where you can gain their respect.
If you really feel you can't talk to your daughter about something then at least find someone who can.
It could be a relative or friend but make sure it's someone she feels comfortable with.
When children ask about things they've heard and didn't understand it's better if they're told the true meaning and not some misconception. If they can check anything with you and trust you to tell them the truth, then that's how it should be.
Listen to what she has to say. Always allow her to state her point of view. Don't keep interrupting or telling her you know better, even if you're sure you do! If you don't listen to her or dismiss what she says it turns into a lecture rather than a conversation!
There's nothing wrong with you both disagreeing but it's how you respond that's important.
No one wants to talk to someone who tends to dismiss what they say and criticise them for saying it. Don't make them feel like they're an inconvenience either. Make sure your body language and tone of voice are saying I want us to talk, not hurry up because I'm busy!
Another easy mistake to make is thinking that your daughter doesn't want to talk to you. If you are open and honest as opposed to being critical and judgemental then you are the best person to talk with, this is where respect comes into play. You love her, you want to guide and help her and you won't use what she tells you to humiliate or hurt her. She must be able to trust you.
Support her in her choices and give her lots of encouragement. Allowing her to pursue her chosen interests will help her to develop her confidence and allow her to make new friends and develop her social skills.
Praise her when you can. If she does well in an exam, tell her well done!. If she washes up without being asked praise her again! If she's going out out and she looks nice, tell her she looks nice.
We are always quick to say when something is wrong, but when something is right we often think it but don't say anything.
Help her to develop an attractive personality regardless of how pretty she may or may not be.
It's important that she understands that while it's good to look your best, it's your personality that makes you truly attractive, and looks alone are not enough.
Be a good example for your daughter to see. If you show your daughter a positive model of being a woman it will be something she can respect and admire. Practice what you preach! Don't expect your daughter to follow your advice if you don't follow it yourself! This is where the valuable respect is gained.
Don't compare her to siblings, friends or relatives in a negative way. If there's a problem tell her but avoid saying....."Your sister always"........"Your friend never"........"Elizabeth treats her parents so much better than you".........This can breed resentment! Instead, clearly explain the problem and decide on a way to correct it.
One of the most challenging problems parents face today are keeping their children free of recreational drug taking.
Drug abuse is all around them and peer pressure is immense.
There is always the temptation to think "its okay I'll try it once.......I don't have to take it again".
If it was that simple we wouldn't have so many lives ruined by drug taking as we have today. Teaching them correctly about any addictive substance whether it be alcohol, drugs or tobacco is essential. You may think these substances are fine if they can be controlled, but how many people can really control them?
You have some chance as a social, periodical drinker of avoiding addiction, which can actually enhance your life by helping you unwind and relax. But drugs are a different beast which need to be viewed with great suspicion for their ability to secretly destroy lives.
Alcohol has its roots in socialising and bringing people together, and if used that way, it can be very beneficial. If you appreciate this type of socialising, teach your children the benefits and pitfalls of alcohol, when to do it, and when to call it a day. Tell and show them examples of what will happen to them if they abuse it.
I am aware that some recreational drugs are used for relief by individuals with health problems, but I cannot recommend the use of any drug to anyone because I have witnessed their destructive power first hand on numerous occasions.
I believe that you should gather together enough bad drug case histories and frighten the kids into avoiding them at all costs. Give them nightmares, it's better than visiting them in rehab.
If they or anyone needs drugs or alcohol on a frequent basis just to feel nice there is probably something wrong elsewhere, in their lives or metabolism. In this case alcohol and drugs don't cure the problem, they just paper over the cracks, and when they wear off their problem returns.
If you have a child that has a reliance on alcohol or drugs, you should look at their nutrition and general health.
They may be a highly strung and nervous individual, they maybe schizophrenic or highly sensitive and artistic.
In these cases drugs and alcohol gives them peace and tranquility for a tortured mind, but its not the answer. It would be such a waste to let them risk destroying their lives when they may have so much to offer the world.
Help them with kindness and understanding, and if you feel that it's beyond your capability, refer them for professional help. You won't regret it, and in time nor will they.Some important routines to follow
Encourage her to be a healthy eater. Eating a healthy diet will lay a good foundation for her as she grows and develops. The right fuel in the right quantities will help to bring out the best performance.
Reassure her about her appearance. Talk to her about the media images and how they don't reflect real women with their airbrushing tricks. Explain to her that you don't have to be a certain weight, height or bra cup to be attractive.
Know what she's doing. What is she watching on TV, what websites is she visiting, who is she going out with? If you don't know, you should!
Have clear house rules and stick to them. Young people need consistency. Once she understands that no means no it will be easier. If no sometimes becomes yes then you're making a rod for your own back, ruining her respect for you and confusing the ground rules.Imagine how proud you will be when she has grown into a confident and successful young woman.