Resist the urge to indulge her with the latest “teen” gadgets. Cell phones, iTouches, laptops, and the like will wiggle their way into her life soon enough. Limit her time on things that distract her from more positive influences such as face-to-face relationships, board games, outdoor play, creative play, reading, learning to play an instrument, and time spent with family.
Insist that she dress her age. It’s disturbing enough to see teen girls (or young women in general) emulate the scantily clad celebrities and their skin-baring fashions, but incomprehensible that many children’s and junior’s departments are now offering pint-size hooker-wear. Expect to hear, “But Mom, everyone wears this!” Draw a firm line in the sand on this one. Your daughter is not an object for the male viewing pleasure…not now, or ever.
Monitor her media intake. Studies show that kids who are exposed to sexually explicit song lyrics as well as television shows such as MTV, are more likely to have early sex. Pay attention to song lyrics, movie ratings, television shows, Internet activity and other media influences that have adult-themes and draw appropriate boundaries. Be particular about what you allow into your home—it is your right and responsibility to protect the innocence of your children. Case in point: After reviewing the lyrics on the above-mentioned Britney Spears CD, I refused to buy it for my daughter. I used it instead as a teachable moment to explain that some of the lyrics portrayed girls as objects and that she was worth much more than that.
Limit her time spent with friends who are on a fast track to grow up. I often tell my children, “You are who you hang out with.” If your daughter runs with a crowd that is anxious to grow up, she will behave in a like manner. Encourage your daughter to spend time with girls who are comfortable acting their age. If you are not sure about one of her friends, have them spend time at your house where you can maintain a level of control.
If your daughter is already on a fast track, check your own motives. Parents who have falsely defined their own worth will often times, pass down their own insecurities to their children. Unfortunately, I have witnessed too many mothers (and fathers) who bend on the rules above in a desperate attempt for their daughters to fit in and be popular. As a past “popular girl,” trust me when I say that popularity comes with a price. One recent study found that popular kids are more likely to get into trouble and do drugs.
*This list is compiled by Vicki Courtney and she has other great information on her website. Go check it out!