‘Where Has my Little Girl Gone? How to Protect your Daughter from Growing Up Too Soon’ By parenting author Tanith Carey

Exclusive extract from new book ‘Where Has my Little Girl Gone? How to Protect your Daughter from Growing Up Too Soon’ by parenting author Tanith Carey.

SELL: Dolls in high heels and stockings, clutching make-up compacts, and websites that invite little girls to live their lives as virtual “bimbos” and save up for boob jobs.

 

Even the toys and games on offer to our daughters so often carry unhealthy messages about what it means to be a female.

 

Now a new book “Where Has My Little Girl Gone?” is the first guide to help parents deal with the challenges of early sexualisation.

The guide, by parenting author Tanith Carey, herself the mother of two young girls, is packed with practical steps mums and dads can take to screen out damaging messages, and build self-esteem so girls are strong enough to deal with pressure to behave older than their years.

In this extract from the new book, which is out now, Tanith looks at how to steer our daughters towards healthier toys and games .

A visit to the dolls aisle at Toys R Us is a bracing lesson in what our little girls are supposed to be interested in these days.

Dolls are essential to child development because they help children to see their own place in the world and how learn the different roles people play.

But if their playthings are anything to go by, our children can look forward to a life in hooker clothing, high heels, with a mobile phone glued to one hand and a powder compact glued to the other.

Step back, if you can adjust your eyes to the blinding sugar pink around you, and think about the messages these toys are sending to girls.

Unless the dolls were wearing skinny jeans, there was not one dressed in a skirt which reached below the top of their skinny plastic thighs.

 

Compared to her successor, the Bratz and Moxie Girls ranges, Barbie now looks like a natural beauty. With their inflated lips and big hair, Bratz in particularly looked like scaled-down sex dolls.

When it came providing their dolls something to do, there were some horses and skateboards. But they were massively outnumbered by pink hair-dryers, miniature handbags, and manicure sets.

 

Once home, the vacuous existence of these dolls can be lived out in cyberspace. The Bratz dolls, Chloe, Sasha, Jade and Yasmin have blogs in which it is their avowed intention to become famous, and go shopping.

Children’s potential to grow is hugely narrowed when even their playthings are sexualized.

Where possible, let’s give them a blank canvas where there they can makes a games based on their priorities and interests, not based on adult notions of what’s sexy.

Our children deserve better than to learn about life through these plastic caricatures of modern womanhood.

What you can do:
Don’t buy dolls with cleavage: Let your little girls be children by buying them dolls that are children too. Then instead of loading her dollies up with pink mobiles and make-up kits, let your daughter decide what games she wants to play with her toys. Look for playthings that aren’t aggressively sexual, like stuffed animals or rag dolls.

Talk about what dolls do: If your little girl just loves Barbies, Moxies or Bratz, discuss what she likes about them. Ask her if she’s ever met a woman who looks like one in real life. Tell her all the things that Barbie wouldn’t be able to do if she was a real woman because her feet are arched permanently for high heels.

Suggest games where Barbie becomes a scientist or a politician.

Buy basic toys: Don’t buy toys from movie franchises where the scripts are already written. Allow them to use their imaginations to create their own play worlds. Stick with the basics by buying kids simple playthings so they have to use their creativity.

SOURCE: “Where Has my Little Girl Gone? How to Protect your Daughter from Growing Up Too Soon” by Tanith Carey is available from all good book shops and Amazon.co.uk, RRP 7.99.

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