August 08, 2017

What Do Moms of Tweens Worry About Most?

We all know it. We all feel it. The stress, the joy, and the monumental exhaustion that goes along with being a mom. Moms today are bombarded by all kinds of responsibilities, from taking care of the family to working, and everything in between. And along with all that responsibility comes the joy of worrying. We worry an awful lot. And if we have tween daughters, our worry is multiplied by 100. These days, it seems that our generation of mothers face more challenges than every generation before us.

But there is one thing that moms of tween girls have to deal with in an unprecedented way, and it’s creating plenty of fine lines on our delicate faces.

What is it?

It’s society’s push to sexualize our girls at a very young age.

The media is targeting girls as young as 7 years old and sending out terribly inappropriate messages to them about things that they just shouldn’t know about yet. From the most high fashion magazines like Vogue France, who, in 2014 had a 4-page layout of 10 year old girls dressed up like women with high heels, jewelry, makeup and yes, very sexy and provocative pouts, to companies like Victoria’s Secret teen line PINK that made headlines a few years back for showcasing models that looked much younger than their standard of 15 in sexy push-up bras and panties, all trying to look like the much older runway models that Victoria’s Secret is so well known for. In the case of Victoria’s Secret, Huffington Post contributors Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Gavin Newsom (who also happens to be the Lieutenant Governor of California) called it right:

“It’s not that thongs meant for young women emblazoned with phrases like “Call Me” and “Feeling Lucky?” are entirely shocking coming from Victoria’s Secret, but more that they insisted on comparing our young daughters to objects and things in order to sell them this lingerie.

Not only is Victoria’s Secret encouraging girls to sexualize themselves at younger and younger ages, but they’re teaching men and boys to value girls’ sexuality at younger and younger ages. This is dangerous.”

In a recent survey conducted by Yellowberry, we asked moms what they were the most concerned about with their tween girls – everything from how to talk about puberty to online predators and just about everything in between.

What quickly rose to the number two concern (just below mood swings!) was body image; more specifically, feelings of body positivity. Moms are very concerned that the overly sexual, inappropriate messages to young girls about how girls and women should be valued are destroying their daughters’ healthy sense of self and appreciation of their bodies. We want our daughters to grow up with a healthy self-image and to appreciate the miracle of their bodies and what they can do for them. Moms want their girls to be happy during this transitional process from girl to woman and to embrace the changes in their bodies and learn to love themselves from the inside out.

While we weren’t totally surprised with our mom audience, we do tend to get shocked however when retailers continue to push these unhealthy norms. Very recently, a company called Primark in the UK (a large retailer) was in the news because they started promoting a push up version for a girl’s first bra! Really? And of course, Twitter got ugly as moms chimed in around the globe with hash tags like #toomuchtooyoung, #children #sexualisation. Primark responded with “these are molded bras, not padded and meet our standards.” Hmmm….good save but is this really enough? Why even make them as starter bras? Instead, they should have branded them as appropriate for more developed girls.

Here are a few tips to help your daughter embrace her inner beauty:

  1. Focus less on your looks (at least, in front of your daughter.) If you’re constantly talking about dieting, your weight, and/or how you look, how can you expect your daughter to do otherwise? Whatever body or image insecurities you have about your own body, your daughter doesn’t need to know about them!
  2. Compliment your daughter on her accomplishments and talents. Shower her with praise on her performance in school, her leadership skills, and her ability to overcome an obstacle – not just about how pretty/beautiful/slim she looks. Keep her appearance out of most of your compliments. There is certainly a time and place to praise her looks, but it should be done sparingly and during appropriate times.
  3. Enlighten her about the miracle of her body. Talk to her about how amazing it is to have a body that can jump, run, bike, swim, etc. Get an age-appropriate anatomy book and learn together with her, about the most wondrous creation in existence. Her body is a treasure and a vessel for her to reach her potential in life. Help her embrace it and realize how lucky she is to have it working for her every day.

What other tips do you have? We’d like to know what you think. Please share and give us your feedback! 

-The Yellowberry Team

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