When I was 10 I wanted to grow up so I could be a Charlie’s Angel.
When I was 11 I wanted to grow up so I could eat chips every day for dinner.
When I was 12 I wanted to grow up so I could wear make up.
When I was 13 I wanted to grow up so I could babysit.
When I was 14 I wanted to grow up so I could go to a debutants ball.
When I was 15 I wanted to grow up so I didn’t have to go to school anymore.
When I was 16 I wanted to grow up so I could drive a car.
Some time after that I did grow up (more or less) and discovered it wasn’t all that great after all.
The thing is, at no point on this journey through my childhood and teenage years do I ever remember wanting to actually do the really serious stuff that goes along with being an actual grown up.
How did two 9 year olds who live near me learn how many points are in a bar of chocolate and a packet of crisps? And why would they care?
Why do we live in a world where a significant number of little girls want to grow up to be Jordan or Paris Hilton?
Why did I have to have something as vile as Jelly Bracelets explained to me because a letter has been sent home from my child’s school banning them? Who came up with such an idea and why are children using them – they’re abusive and wrong.
I know it’s not just me, kids are growing up a lot faster these days than they used to.
I’m finding it hard to deal with, but in this age of right here, right now instant gratification, how can we teach our kids that this is one of the best times of their lives, so slow down and enjoy it.
They’ll never again have this much freedom. I’m not talking about freedom to come and go as you please or eat what you want for dinner. Or the freedom to display on your wrist how far you’re willing to go with someone. Although I would much rather my kids discover sex in the old fashioned way, as in having an actual relationship with the other person first.
I’m talking about freedom to change your name to Princess Bella Panella for the day and refuse to answer to anything else.
The freedom to ask questions like “Why are bananas?” and be taken seriously.
The freedom to believe the most important thing in the world is a Moshi Monster.
The freedom to spend the day in your pyjamas and have everyone think you’re adorable and not a lazy slob.
The freedom to absolutely believe that if your parents let you watch Camp Rock 2 your life will be complete.
The freedom to have snots run freely down your face and not care, or even notice.
I’m thinking seriously of moving to a field in the middle of nowhere and putting a barbed wire fence around it, home schooling my kids and getting rid of TV and Internet access.
Bit extreme? Maybe.
On the Brightside?
A Brightside to our kids growing up too quickly.
I’ll have to get back to you on that one.