A memo to 21st century parents, written by Igbafe Oluseye
Few weeks ago, I was at the local airport and as I waited in the departure lounge, I noticed there were many children roaming about but it was understandable since it was summer holiday.
One other thing I noticed was the way most of the children were dressed. Most of them, especially the girls, were dressed in bum shorts, halter necks, cut off jeans, etc. The clothes in themselves weren’t the issue per se; it was the overall look of the children that had me bothered. That was definitely not the first time I noticed it.
A few months before, I had taken my kids to a birthday party and found myself in what could easily have been a night club for kids. Scanty clothing such as tight or very short clothes, bum shorts, long weaves, etc, seemed to be the dress code. I noticed my son glancing around, probably wondering, “What in God’s world are these other children wearing?” Or something like that. Not long after, the kids were called out to dance to the hit songs of the season – these songs in my opinion should be rated PG 16. 4 – 6 year olds trooped to the dance floor, miming the sexually explicit songs and gyrating their bodies in the most sensual manner.
They could have given Beyonce a run for her money. They ran their hands over their bodies, shook their booties hard while their parents cheered them on. The boys had their upper shirts unbuttoned and rapped along perfectly to gangsta raps while doing flawless break dance. Those who danced like actual children where shooed off the dance floor while the lewd ones were cheered on. As I watched, my child stared out of this circle looking longingly at the others dancing. I knew it was time to leave.
As we left, we went to an eatery where I bought them ice cream and gently explained to them the concept of decency and dancing with decorum. Another time, at a game arcade for kids, I ran
into a lady who had made-up her kids’ faces like they were mannequins for Tara or Mac beauty products. Their skirts were so tight, that running up and down the slide was uncomfortable for them. So the question is, why are we sexualizing our kids? Why does your 4, 6 or 9 year old girl have to look like a chick? Why does she have to be hot or sexy? Should your 8 year old son go around with a comb in his hair and his pants sagged almost to his ankles?
If your child wears bum shorts out of the house at age 3, why should she be expected to wear longer ones at 15? If she wears 2 rings and 12 bangles at 6, why won’t she pierce a second ear hole at 17 and her bellybutton at 19? Why won’t your son pierce his own ear at 15? Are you setting your children up to be immodest and indecent? What trend are you starting them on? That all these are fashionable or trendy doesn’t mean it’s ok. What happened to children wearing dresses?
Children can look very nice and decent, they can be well covered and still look good. In this age, when children are being abused. Is it wise to make your child an object of anyone’s sexual attention? When I hear some children belt out sexually explicit lyrics, I ask myself how they became exposed to this songs!
As a parent, you can’t play the CD of such songs and not expect your children to pick them up; the same goes for watching Mtv Base, Channel O, etc with your children. Studies have shown that children exposed to a high level of sexually explicit information tend to become sexually active early. Is that your goal as a parent?
Being a parent involves sacrifice. You will need to avoid listening to such music where your children are. Most of those lyrics demean women and teach your daughter that she’s just a sex toy and her body is for squeezing. It teaches the boys that money is everything and women are things to be used to satisfy their primal urges.