The other day I was on the train on my way to work. I overheard a group of school girls talking amongst each other. They were around 13 or 14-years-old, as they were discussing their electives for year 9. Then they went on to discussing personal things.
And this is what I heard:
“Oh my God, girls I have that date this week. What do I wear?”
“Babe, just wear something short and sexy. He totally wants you!”
“I’ll go shopping with you. You need foundation just not orange coloured.”
“OK, I’ll have to get my lips re-done. I really want them like Kylie Jenner’s this time around.”
I was a little shocked. I never spoke like this in public when I was a teen, in my school uniform, on public transportation. Maybe with my strict upbringing I was just one of those girls who barely wore makeup, was forbidden to date boys and lip fillers were unheard of at that age.
After work, I told my husband all about it. He said to me, “They are just girls. They could be just saying that to be cool amongst their friends.” I said to my husband, “If we had a daughter how would you feel if she spoke and acted like that? Better yet is that how you want your son to perceive girls at school?” There was dead silence.
I know every family is different. One child might obey their strict parents, yet some might completely rebel from strict parenting, and their are some children with no rules.
The point I am trying to make is the value these girls have upon their self worth. At that age I was working at my after school job, saving my money for the latest Levi jeans, or sketchers shoes. I guess I didn’t have teen idols who are injected with botox and lip fillers. I was too busy being a tomboy and only wore dresses at the school dance. If I scored a dance with my school crush, I was elated. Even more if I got a cheeky kiss on the dance floor. Even then that was deemed taboo. From my strict Catholic European upbringing I was taught I could enjoy all of this later in life and looking back, my parents were right. I guess lip fillers and botox were around when I was a teen, but it wasn’t heavily saturated in society and social media did not exist. No lifestyle blogs. No smart phone. No Instagram. No Facebook. No digital magazines. Only Cosmopolitan, Vogue and a couple of teen magazines were on the shelves at the newsstand.
Even though I was shocked by these girls’ conversation, it also reminded me of how to be the best parent to my son and if I ever have a daughter. I cannot control the conversations my children have with their friends, or what society encourages, or their behaviour if I am too strict or too lenient on them.
I can however teach them this:
- Know your self worth. It is more than sexually glorified outfits, fillers, selfies and duck faces.
- Chivalry is not dead. Be a gentlemen or a lady. Dating is more than just sex.
- Grace over perfection. No filler or make-up can cover every imperfection. So be graceful, have etiquette and treat yourself and friends with respect.
Maybe, our children won’t listen to us, listen to our advice, listen to our words of wisdom. As long as we set the example especially when they are children, then maybe they might look up to us and see how we treat the opposite sex and our partners. Maybe they might think about what they say to their friends the next time they are on their way to school.