When my two grand nieces visited a few years ago they were nine and eleven. There was no doubt they were girls but who thought anything about it? I certainly didn't. It goes to show how far out of the loop of present day reality one can get!
Back in June there was a meeting of
parents in Helena, MT to consider a proposal that sex education be extended to those of kindergarten age. My eyebrows shot up with my decimal level, "What?Sex ed for five year olds? Ridiculous!" Five year olds aren't interested in sex any more than they are in the slogan the pictured child wears across her chest! And who's looking at her chest? No one!
But wait, it's not the five year old! It's the same little girl two years on down the road when she's beginning to develop. Yep. The onset of puberty. At seven years of age! When I was growing up girls were usually in their near or early teens. Not seven or eight. Heck, at seven we were just settling into school and if one had a boyfriend one was subject to derisive teasing! I know because I had one. He even carved his and my initials into his bicep. I often wondered how he felt about that years later for we didn't see one another again until Junior High. By that time neither of us had any interest what so ever!
The story is a prelude to the second half of the issue not discussed. I'd be interested in knowing if boys are developing at an earlier rate also. The study pointed to childhood obesity as a probable cause. Boys suffer from the same malady. The possible diseases such as increased risks of breast cancer and diabetes also apply to boys. Should they not receive equal study?
It's a sticky situation to be sure. I can remember the treatment those who budded early received. Some took it in stride, others were humiliated by it. When I was a kid we didn't have sexual predators to worry about. At least in my world. Had we been subjected to such a threat, however, as a teen we would have been better equipped to handle it than at seven or eight. That would hold true today I'm sure. What's a mere child to do? Be taught the basics at an earlier age.
It really changes the dynamic of how boys and girls will be looking at one another, won't it? Today's reality versus what mine had been. What with wars raging around us, parents losing jobs and then homes, the diminishing levels of education and career opportunities, kids are losing a lot of what my generation knew to be childhood. Now this. They're even looking less and less like "children".
How sad. How frightening.