ARE LITTLE GIRLS GROWING UP TOO FAST?

Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?

My first-born Kiara is 11, she started Secondary School a month ago. Wow a month ago?
Good grief she’s been there a month already! If you asked her how it’s going she’d be dramatic & say “It’s soooo stressful” in that affected Teen voice we all recognise. Yet she isn’t a Teenager, so why do I feel like she is?

Are little girls growing up too fast?

When I started High School my parents were undergoing a very nasty divorce & I remember feeling extremely responsible for the well-being of my younger sister & brother. Naturally under such circumstances I appeared quite grown up & often I felt like an adult although clearly at 11 I was indeed still a child. My Mother wasn’t a warm or demonstrative person before the divorce however during it she became a veritable bitch. She was resentful towards me & often quite mean. It took many years of wayward behaviour for me to realise it wasn’t that I was unlovable it was that she was unloving.
As you’d expect, this experience has had a direct impact on the way I “Mother” my own children, never more so than now. After all, who knows the impressionable pre-teen better than someone who had a crappy time at the same age?

Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?

To say I spend an enormous amount of time with my children is an understatement

Actually I didn’t leave them at all until they were at Nursery, even then it was a rarity. Probably made a rod for my own back as I would always have a crying child (or two then three!) begging me not to leave should I deign to have a social life! You know they’d actually ask why I wanted to go out when they were staying in? Teeheehee Aw bless, To get away from you child!
I suppose that’s the over-kill kicking in? Trying too hard to NOT be my own Mother. Nevermind, we’re all past that stage now. Ahem, sort of. By day two of my recent mini break in Paris I was getting calls from Kiara “When are you coming home Mummy?” Hahahaha Funny – NOT actually.
I guess they were missing their Mama cuddles aka Huggles? We cuddle constantly in fact all 3 babies slept with us – Well I say “us” although more often than not Mark would retreat to the spare room for a restful night. Years later I read somewhere this is called Attachment Parenting, it has a name, go figure?
Every now & then the children still ask to sleep in our bed, actually just last week Kiara said “Can I sleep with you tonight Mummy?” I sighed inside because she’s such a bloody fidget but I do love it really. I’m happy that she still craves that closeness, it’s a reminder to me she isn’t all grown up – YET

Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?

Towards the end of Year 6 my girl asked to meet her friends at the local cafe

This threw me for a bit of a loop if I’m honest. I had a mini panic attack in private, imagining nefarious men approaching the girls luring them into an unmarked van never to be seen again! After I calmed myself down my thought turned to over-sexed teenage boys luring them into a life of drugs &… Arrrgh STOP IT!

A little while later Kiki & I had a talk. Not THE talk, we’ve been gently doing that for a while now. This chat was simply setting some boundaries, you know like “Go straight there, do not deviate or wander off somewhere else. Come home at x time & if you’re a minute late your phone goes away for a week” Etc etc…

I gave her an hour and a half in total. That’s 15 minutes walking there & back with one hour to hang out/gossip at the cafe. I think that’s fair, plus she must text me the moment she arrives at the cafe, before even sitting down! So I can exhale.

Clearly Kiki didn’t take me terribly seriously or she thought she’d test my mettle, whatever her reason the outcome was simple. She came home 15 minutes late so I took her phone for a week BAM!

Since then she’s been home on the dot every time OBVS.

Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?

All the kids have phones now!

Technology today is wonderful isn’t it? Oh but what a minefield trying to keep the children safe! For me internet safety is an ongoing conversation with the children. As they get older I am verbalizing the dangers more bluntly therefore when the murder of a boy made headlines I decided to let the older two watch the news. The boy was groomed by an anonymous young man through his Xbox gaming. Although his Mother knew enough of what was happening to inform the police of her fears, tragically they didn’t investigate. Her teenage son was subsequently killed.

I hate that this happened yet having watched several interviews of the Mother I’m confident she’d want other Mums to talk to their children about it. It’s terribly upsetting remembering the details again as I write. There are no words for what that woman must now eternally bear.
It’s crucial to note that watching this story on the news has made the most impact on getting my point across to both Kiara & her brother Jasper. Particularly Jasper who is almost 2 years younger than his sister & adores his Xbox.
In today’s world children grow up with VIRTUAL FRIENDS unaware of dangerous deviant adults pretending to be children. Tricky tricky sick adults.
We caught a first-hand glimpse of this when Kiki started using Instagram. Once again, not before I set some ground rules such as she’s only allowed to follow people she actually knows. You know IRL? wink I’m down with the hip initialisms Hahahah
Unfortunately many other children in her class weren’t operating within these same boundaries. On my regular evening scroll through Kiara’s phone I discovered her friend was being asked to take sexual pictures of himself via A FRIEND on Instagram. I was relieved to see my daughters text advising him to immediately block this person although I’d have preferred her to confide in me about it.
Anyway the next morning we talked about the entire incident & it turned out her classmate had over 1,000 followers! His account wasn’t even set to private! As I hastily checked through more of Kiki’s peers I found many accounts were the same! Alarmingly many of those kids accounts were also being followed by this particular nasty character or RING!
I promptly called the child’s Mother & as delicately as possible explained everything I’d learned to date.
Following my phone call she called the Police who went straight around to the School to inform the Head & the other Parents involved.
By the end of the day the tricky, nasty, hideous, disgusting adult account had vanished into thin air. The Police do now have a department for this particular type of paedophile & take it extremely seriously. However it’s so simple to delete an account & change IP address that the catching technology sadly hasn’t caught up with the perpetrating technology.
Ironically soon after this incident our School had their scheduled internet safety lesson. Perhaps this should be a year earlier in order to educate the kids before they acquire phones?
Additionally us parents need to make the kids aware of ALL the possibilities & keep a closer eye on their phone content. Now before you hypothesize “What if they didn’t have a phone?” I have to say I believe the technology itself isn’t the issue. Children should simply learn how to use it safely beforehand plus continue reminding them that if they haven’t actually met the person they’re not a “friend”.Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?

Coat – Mayoral | Shirt – Mayoral | Skirt – Mayoral | Boots – Mayoral | Tights – Mayoral

Are Little Girls Growing Up Too Fast?

I don’t know if my eldest daughter is growing up too fast

Hope not, I wish all 3 of my children would stop growing up so bloody quickly! I find myself clutching to the babyish gestures & cute sayings still lingering in their little personalities. Perhaps it’s more about me wanting to stop the clock for a moment to catch my breath? I’m scared I’ll forget the details, the minutiae of our every day.
I try to remain observant, not only of them but also of how my friends with older kids have done it. I make myself available to show I’m always free for a chat, no matter what that happens to be about. And most importantly of all I am always up for a Huggle.

Whatever happens in the future I know one thing for sure – My big girl will always be my baby, even when she is grown.Are little girls growing up too fast

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A big thank you to Mayoral for gifting Kiara’s entire outfit, she loves it!
Also a ginormous thank you to Becky for being a Supermodel & Superfriend!

Any advice on the next few years? Please leave in comments all gratefully welcome (she says pleading)
Thank you for reading,

love M x

  • Comments ( 28 )

  • avatar
    sequinist

    I have absolutely no advice, but I am dreading my little one moving into that more grown up phase of life (games, videos, phones, etc) where I don’t have total control. I always jokingly say that I’ll start homeschooling him!

    You sound like you’re doing everything brilliantly; if you get love and security right, the rest can be worked out. I completely understand that you want your children to have a proper CHILDHOOD and not grow up too quickly; I want the same for mine.

    On a superficial note, Kiara looks amazing in her outfit! xx

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      That’s so funny I’ve said the same about home schooling but thought better of it. I want to hold onto my sanity a little long 😉
      xxx

  • avatar
    Pauline

    Our school just gave every child in upper primary school their very own iPad. The school are trying to educate the parents about them but it feels like an immense gulf is going to open between their generation and ours. I have realised I can’t avoid bringing myself up to speed but it seems like an enormous task and indeed a continuous one. Well done on being the parent who spotted the incident with instagaram, for caring enough to check other kid’s accounts and for telling their parents. We all need to look out for each other!

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      I believe iPad’s are very common in Primary Schools now Pauline, ours have them too. I agree with you it’s a good idea to teach the children how to use the internet responsibly as well as teaching them about safety. It’s the future & they need to be ready, that’s for sure. Yes us Parents do need to look out for each other, it’s easy to miss something noboady can be on top of it all the time. Every child is our responsibility wouldn’t you agree?

  • avatar
    Annette Quinet

    Ahhh little girls grow up, as a mom of 2 girls (and 1 boy) with a15 year age difference , I say enjoy all the stages but mothers instincts are usually spot on! She is beautiful btw…..

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Wowzers 15 years! That must have been tricky for a while? I wonder how old they all are now. Thank you so much for the lovely compliment xxx

  • avatar
    notdressedaslamb

    Not having kids I of course can’t offer advice Michelle (sorry!), but can only remember what my experiences were as a kid. I too used to sleep in my mum’s bed most nights whenever my dad was away working (he came home from abroad every week or fortnight depending on where he worked) and I’ve never really thought much about it since. My brother and sisters had all long since left home so it was almost like my mum brought me up as a single parent (sort of). I guess it was just comforting being in a big house with just the two of us the most of the time to sleep in the same bed… All seemed quite normal to us!

    (I’ll email you this bit I’ve decided not to share here)

    I can’t imagine what I’d do about kids having phones, it’s such a tricky one (we always think “I didn’t have a phone when I was your age!”), but I was wondering if you knew that the minimum age to open an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat is 13…? So that worries me a LOT that kids are having accounts and not setting them to private!!

    Thinking of all my nieces and nephews I reckon that EVERY parent thinks their child is growing up too fast, and I reckon they’ve always thought that way for generations. If you think about it, time goes very slowly when you’re a kid, but think how fast a year goes by as an adult… WE think they’re growing up too fast, but in fact time just seems to be passing very quickly, if that makes sense.

    Anyway this was a very thought-provoking post, and how lovely to see your stunning daughter, she’s going to be a chip off the old (stylish mummy) block!!

    Catherine x
    http://notdressedaslamb.com

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Oh how lovely that you & your Mum had such a close relationship Catherine. I do wonder how common bed sharing is in families, nobody likes to admit their kids don’t sleep 😉
      About the minimum age for Social accounts – I think parents realise it’s 13 & I’m certain the kids do but if it’s set to private I don’t see an issue. As you say being “public” is very worrying indeed, perhaps some parents aren’t aware that you can set the accounts to private? I wouldn’t be surprised if many parents don’t even have their own accounts therefore have no idea how any of it works!
      I’ve heard parents say how overwhelming the technology is for them to understand. However it’s vitally important to at least familiarise ourselves with it enough to then allow the kids a bit of fun. Otherwise the dangers are very real.
      Thank you for such a thoughtful comment Catherine xxx

  • avatar
    Nancy Baten

    Lovely story! I believe(without having kids, so No experience at all)that if you give your kids enough love and attention and self concidence, then they have the highest chance of growing up to be great persons.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      You may not have kids Nancy but you’re absolutely spot on about that! Besides weren’t you one once? 😉

  • avatar
    Midlifechic

    Blimey M – it’s a minefield. It sounds as though you’re doing the right thing, informing her, trusting her and staying close. I have always refused to be friends with my boys (now 19, 15 and 13) on FB – I believe they need their own space on Social Media. I think they’re wise enough to behave appropriately but I stay as alert as I can and keep on reminding them of the dangers.
    I have friends who check their children’s phones every night. Again, I think that’s an invasion of privacy but as you say, you discovered something nasty happening. It’s probably easier though because my 3 have been been that bit older – I’ve always maintained that they stick by the guidelines and don’t have SM accounts until they’re 13 – if only to avoid screwing up their digital footprint for life!
    It’s hard because we’re all walking on an untrodden path with this, in the end I’d say trust your instinct, as you know it’s the most vital tool in any mother’s armoury xxx

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      I agree with you about privacy 100% Nikki & I foresee a time very soon when I can stop snooping on Kikis phone altogether. It feels right to do it at the moment because I’ve given her a priviledge at a very young age. However as time goes on I have begun to pull back & give her a little more space. She doesn’t have FB yet but now that you’ve mentioned it I think that’s very wise to not friend them, I shall remember that for future reference ;-)Thank you xxx

  • avatar
    Lady of Style

    Everything changes to quickly! My children, now 24 and 22 didn’t have their own phones until they were around 16 and that was quite normal at that time, they never asked for one before. Instagram didn’t exist, Facebook was the only online community but they didn’t show much interest either. My son played (and still does!) computer games but my daughter never did.
    So they they were a bit more grown up when they really got in touch with the interactive IT world and I am very grateful for that. Nowadays it is a lot more dangerous and I perfectly understand your concerns, Michelle.
    I think it doesn’t help to not allow them using phones or Instagram (at a certain age) but it is so important to spend a lot of time discussing issues and concerns with children to raise their awareness. I am sure you are doing exactly that.

    No wonder Kiki loves her new outfit, she looks gorgeous!

    xx
    Annette | Lady of Style

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Yes you hit the nail on the head with your point about what is “normal at the time”. I actually asked my friends with slightly older children what age they were when they got phones & use that as my guide. The tricky part these days is we’d already allowed them to play on our phones when they were very little. The familiarity was instinctive for them so when we upgraded our phones I kept the best one aside for Kiara to have as her 10th birthday present. Mind you she couldn’t actually make calls on it until a year later Heeheehee
      Blimey doesn’t it make you wonder what crazy technology our grandchildren will be navigating?
      xxx

  • avatar
    Abby@midlifecrisisnut

    Ok, first of all, you have a very beautiful daughter Michelle! Secondly, having to grow up to fast (like in your case and mine) makes you want to spoil your kids rotten, doesn’t it? I have such a hard time setting boundaries in our household that they end up not having any. When it comes to all the social media stuff, in our family it’s a bit different. For starters, we live in a village. Our school has 60 pupils. Ok, there’s been an incident of a girl doing a youtube video etc but I must say it’s not totally out of control like in Paris (this was one of the reasons why we moved to the countryside, for our kids to have a normal childhood). My daughter has a phone but only to play games, there’s no sim card. They’re only allowed to watch kids programs, either on tv or tablet, they have no console nor video games. When we bought the wii it was actually for me so I can dance (the same for the drone- obviously not the dancing part, but because I love gadgets, so I bought myself one and have flown it for a whole 5 min). I feel that we’re quite similar when it comes to parenting Michelle. I enjoyed reading this post so much! Brilliant! xx Abby

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Thank you so much Abby I really appreciate your openess & it makes me feelright having shared these personal feelings publicly. It’s good for us Mums to keep the discussion open & honest because we all want the same thing – Our kids safety! Unfortunately it’s all still so new to many of us, trial & error isn’t really an option right? I admire you & your husband for making the very big decision to move to the country for the sake of the kids.
      xxx

  • avatar
    Elizabeth Yeowart

    What a brilliant post Michelle. Everyone parents differently and there are no right and wrong answers (apart from in extreme cases of course) and in fact, I have found that (single) parenting my 15 year old girl differs to how I parent my 13 year old boy. The three of us are together all of the time and there is no respite whatsoever for me. But…I wouldn’t change a thing. We are close, and tight and very happy. They know I do my best but equally, I am the first to say if I’ve done something wrong or made the wrong decision. So the only advice I can give to you, because you’re doing a mighty fine job anyway, is be honest with them and keep on telling them just how amazing they are.and may I say what beautiful models they both make xxx love Liz xxx http://www.whatlizzyloves.com

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Thank you Liz, yes these two friends are both gorgeous inside & out!
      I can barely imagine how much of a load single parenting is to bear. For me there is always someone else to bounce off but for you the buck stops firmly on your shoulders. I think the secret to that is you have already laid the foundation of trust with them which will hopefully carry you through any difficult times. Sadly what I have learned first hand from my own childhood is that although parents believe they raise their children equally, the children often experience situations differently.
      It’s all about perception. One childs perception of their childhood can differ immensly from their siblings. I have found this from talking to my brother & sister in depth about our parents divorce. The underlying issue is of course that we had a Mother who only focused on her own needs. There is no way anyone can ever say that of you Liz, you always put your kids first!
      xxx

  • avatar
    Lucy At Home

    Oh gosh I am totally dreading having to face this when my girls get to their (pre)teenage years! I hope that my daughters feel that they can be as honest and open with me as your daughter is. And I think you’re totally doing the right thing in instilling in her the boundaries of the internet. It’s one of the things that I worry about with blogging (how will I be able to tell them only to follow people they know when my entire twitter account is made up of people I’ve never met!). I guess we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it… #Brilliant BlogPosts

    P.S. I’m loving that pink fluffy jacket!

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      I know what you mean Lucy. When I started blogging I made a point of telling the children it was “work” so as to keep it seperate & impersonal. I guess I dodged a bullet there?
      Don’t worry too much, you’re leaps & bounds ahead with your “insider” knowledge. I think you’ll probably find it easier to explain than you think xxx

  • avatar
    Rozanne

    Great post Michelle, very heartfelt. really enjoyed reading this. I can’t add anything meaningful to everything that has already been said but I can relate about the “growing up too fast”. My son is only 7 and I am treasuring every hand-holding moment on the walk to school! Sounds like you are a wonderful, warm and nurturing mother. It has only really hit home in the last couple of years how important it is to relish as many moments of their childhood as possible. Laying solid foundations for adulthood is so challenging isn’t it, but you can’t go wrong with plenty of love x

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Oh thank you so so much for saying saying Rozanne! I have worried that publishing this would put my “fashion” readers off RCM. I always intended to mix the occasional serious post in with my fashion ones but later wondered if that was the right move. I can see YOU get it & that’s good enough for me xxx

  • avatar
    kittyandb

    B is only 1 and I already worry! I have a 16 year old nephew who’s into gaming and he has had very strict parameters set. But, I have been so shocked at the grown men that pose as teenagers in these gaming communities. I try not to let my anxiety stifle him but at times it shakes me to my core. He luckily, isn’t really into Facebook etc. In fact, my sister has his password and he only logs on if she logs him on. Still! Haha. BUT, his friends are all on there and I see all their public posts. Some of the young girls post things that make me weep inside. I try not to get involved, but I keep an eye on them. As I know their parents do. In the end, my nephew has been taught at home and school about potential imposters in these online communities. I feel sad they have to worry or think about predators masquerading (or not sometimes) as their peers, but it makes me feel a little more comfortable knowing they are not entirely clueless to it.

    Kat xx

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Yes it’s really tragic that children have to learn such things yet I believe it’s the only way forward. It sounds like your Sis is completely on it & as such you will be too.
      Thanks so much for leaving such a thoughtful comment Kat, I really appreciate you taking the time.
      xxx

  • avatar
    Ingrid

    There is no right answer . I found the teenage years not too difficult.i do think that the friends the children make are the most important thing. Families with similar values are so important. I had my rules and when the children said that other people ewe allowed far more freedom I said that was fine but we would keep our own rules. They both had phones but we were strict in relation to usage. At exam time iPads etc were not allowed during the week. Go with your instinct it’s usually right. I also said if they were ever worried or felt unsafe just ring me or their dad. They did do this and I was so glad I said it

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      So true about the company they keep, easier to manage at my kids ages. The teen years are going to be interesting although I’m hoping by then they’ll have grasped what’s important.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment Ingrid, I wonder how old your children are now?

  • avatar
    Glowology

    Hi Michelle! What a lovely, warm post 🙂 Your daughter looks beautiful! It is true, as many of these comments state, that we all think our kids are growing up too quickly! Mine really have grown up – and it’s been way too quickly for me! 🙁 They are 22, 20 and 16. My youngest is currently going through the stage of ‘my friends are my world, my family – espesh mum – are sooooo uncool, I know everything and my life is played out through snapchat.’ I think I’d probably have been the same had I had the technology they have though. In my experience, kids are unrecognisable nightmares at 14 and then return to be your lovely, reasonable child once more at 17. My oldest two are very tech savvy (like most of their age) but they don’t live their lives through it, whereas the 16 year old does! The key, I think, is to try to ensure they have outside interests as much as poss – sports and hobbies. Making friends with their friends’ mums too always helps. All of my kids know that however old they are, they will never escape cuddles from mum…even if I have to chase them and hold them down! 😉 #BrilliantBlogPosts

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Oh God I love this comment! I have a smile from ear to ear & a tear in my eye! I think you just flashed my future at me Lisa & it looked lovely.
      You sound like an amazing Mum – Not the least bit uncool 😉 I’d definitely be friends with you if you were their friends Mum!
      Thank you xxx

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