9.28.2011

Taking Away Childhood – Toddlers and Tiaras Part II



By Lawrence W. Daly

“It is not a bad thing that children should occasionally, and politely, put parents in their place.”

Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

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In a generation where children are growing past their ages with a full swoop of the hand, it is important that children receive the best opportunity to become themselves. In many households across the world, young adults sixteen and younger are not allowed to wear provocative clothes, obtain a tattoo, smoke, wear make-up and etc. Depending on how a child is raised will depend how that child will respond to the many temptations which are within their reach.

Generally, parents conduct their affairs in such a way that their children are protected under any and all costs. The parents of the children who are pushed into the “Toddlers and Tiaras’” competition are under a unique and different parental protection. The parents view the competition as a serious activity that their child will excel in and they protect their child as if the child was a jewel which needs refining everyday at all times.

The concept for the parental protection of their child surrounds the ideology that the Toddlers and Tiaras competitions are a new beginning. A beginning where their child will be adored, praised, applauded, lusted over, talked about and so much more. For the child the beginning of the Toddler and Tiaras is a reshaping of what childhood should be about. There will be no playing with the next-door neighbor friend. Normal school will be something they will miss altogether because the competition requires hard work, long hours, a lot of precious time and devotion to the competition.

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The building blocks are put in place and the desire to be better than the rest of the competitors (children of their age) is instilled from day one. Smile when the camera lights come on; turn your head slowly and eloquently. Keep your chin up and never cry when others are watching. The parents and promoters want the child to be a robot of color and glitter. They cannot do what children of their age do. They are different and they will feel different. It is a matter of being a Tiara who wears her crown with dignity and glamour.

According to an article in Woman’s Passions, “Toddlers and Tiaras: stop children sexualization,” (August 13, 2009), “…Psychologists believe, there is the notion of «feeling adult». For many years it was typical for teenagers - it’s when children begin to copy parents’ or older friends’ behavior, and feel involved in their adult world. Now adult activities include pre-school children. And now, little girls, when playing, almost never refer to themselves as princesses. They are now Queens.”

Has society not only placed a price on these children’s heads, but now the child who competes in the Toddler’s and Tiaras labeled and given titles? It seems unreal that a child would have to suffer verbal and mental abuse at the hands of adults. The people who should be lifting them up spiritually and lovingly provide them with negative and inappropriate titles. Statements are made to them which demonstrate that power obtained by winning a competition is more important than allowing a child to achieve normalcy by being able to play as a child.

Dr. Nancy Irwin, a Los Angeles-based psychotherapists supports my concern about the group of pedophiles and sexual offenders who not only watch the TLC reality show; but engage in promoting and parenting children into a world of sexualization and being preyed upon by adults who want to be a part of these children’s world. Dr. Irwin states, “As a treatment professional of sex offenders as well as victims of sexual abuse, I would like the parents of these little girls to assume responsibility for their choices. They are sexualizing their young children.”

The visibilities of these children who parade in full make-up and dress-up have an audience of many and many of the audience have ulterior motives. The thought that parents will do anything to win prizes, titles and cash, just to make them feel like they have accomplished success and so much more.

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How far will the parents and promoters go to find victory in these competitions? The thought that there are no boundaries, rules and regulations make you wonder who holds the key to when enough is enough? Is it enough that some children have to sit for hours to have their make-up applied? Trying on fifty different types of lipsticks until the right one is found. Is this a career for the parents or for the child or both? Is it reasonable and logical to believe that what these parents and promoters are doing to these children will not have long after affects which will always be a part of their life which they had no control over?

Are there periods of rest for the children who are asked everyday to dress-up for practice for the upcoming competition? Who decides when enough is enough? The father or the mother and/or the promoter?  Is the child given the proper nourishment, the time to be a child, time to let her parents know that she is tired and needs to rests?

All of these questions that have been asked in this article are questions which need to be addressed at some point, by some authority figure. Who are the monitors of a child who becomes a part of Toddlers and Tiaras?

Tomorrow, I will continue researching this subject. As I research this subject, I find myself losing objectivity, not because the research opposes my viewpoint, but because the thought of allowing children being treated this way, right or wrong, is cruel and unusual punishment and should be researched immediately for the mental and physical harm that a child has to face on a daily basis.  Where are the Hollywood police?

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