Our Culture’s Pressure on our “Tween”-age and Teenage Girls

Our "tween"-age and teenage girls are being bombarded with an onslaught of demands. These young girls keenly feel the pressure from many sources which include school, their peers, and society. The support they so desperately need from their parents while they are trying to navigate the maze of unrealistic standards expected of them may be non-existent, because many parents just don't understand the extent of the pressures. Parents may naively think that their daughters are too young to be feeling any stress or strain whatsoever. Life unfortunately, is not so simple nowadays.

The impact of our culture's pressure on young girls recently hit home for me when I found out that a young girl I know is now in Rehab being treated for anorexia and drug abuse! Who knew? No one saw it coming. Her parents were totally unaware for a while.  This victim of society's horrid pressure-a sweet young girl from a Church-going family-hid any tell tale signs very cleverly. She had an excellent teacher-the girls who led her down the wrong path also taught her how to cover up any evidence of her new lifestyle. Thank goodness her parents realized what was going on before it was too late for her. This girl is now counting her blessings and relieved that her parents intervened. She also revealed that she could have died at the rate she was going.

The everyday life of a teenager is tough enough with their hormonal mood swings-one minute exhilarated and the next minute immersed in a major trauma. Dealing with acne, worrying about boys, feeling that their parents don't understand them, and emotional ups and downs add to their stress. But, our culture tops it all off with crazy expectations that can be utterly overwhelming to young girls. Because of this, sometimes life seems like a pressure cooker to them.

 Young girls are vulnerable and take criticisms very personally and deeply. They feel intimidated by the "in crowd" and by the popular girls.  They may think that they are fat or ugly.  They can feel depressed. They deal with bullies who talk about them behind their backs which truly bothers them.  They stress out about academic pressure which is high these days.

Body image and how these girls perceive themselves is a huge problem. It's impossible to miss the standardized body image for girls, plastered all over the mass media from Hollywood, the runway, television, and glossy magazines.  Basically, everyone should be a size zero according to the propaganda. Our young girls are brainwashed into believing that being a particular clothes size will bring them happiness and solve all of their problems in life. Most adolescents are also unaware that what is projected to them is impossible to achieve anyway because of the tricks of airbrushing that are used in the industry which further distorts a young girl's perception of beauty. We need to somehow combat this obsession with body image.

In addition to worrying about their body image, the teens and "tweens" are consistently exposed to the pop stars in the news, glamorizing underage drinking and drug abuse. It's pretty scary to think that these celebrities masquerade as role models for our children. Heaven help us! There are countless new pressures for our girls today. All of them affect their self esteem.    

The "National Mental Health Information Center" reports that girls are three times more likely than boys to have a negative body image. The constant worry about their image can overtake other aspects of their lives, as well. The focus needs to be put on a girl's real beauty – her talents, her mind, her heart, her spirit – and off of her body.

What can parents do?

Parents should start early to help build self esteem and a strong sense of self in their young girls to enable them to resist the battering of pressures later in life. One study revealed that only 32 per cent of girls felt much loved by their parents. Imagine that, 32 per cent! This is alarming! Our children need to feel loved by us. A girl who feels loved by her parents and good about herself will still feel the pressures from our culture, but will better be able to deal with them.

The best role models for kids are the parents. Our example speaks volumes. We should never joke or comment about someone's body size or weight. Our children look up to us and learn our behaviors. We should continue to show our affection toward them even when our adolescents may pull away at times seeking times of privacy. While we respect their occasional times out for privacy, we welcome and encourage them to partake in family activities and dinners, keeping the family unit intact. Prayers at the dinner table are not only wonderful but essential and set a valuable family tradition as do get togethers with relatives in their homes and ours — all helping to foster our family values and togetherness.

Parents should encourage their daughters to stay away from the cliques and to develop a good group of close wholesome friends which helps a great deal to combat the stress. There's nothing like supportive girlfriends to help ease the trials and tribulations of teenager-hood!  We need to keep a close watch on activities with our children, encouraging get togethers with their friends at our own homes, rather than away where we don't have control. We have to know who they are hanging out with. We need to teach our girls not to worry about what others are saying or telling them to do and to be confident in their own shoes with their own friends.

Very clear and consistent boundaries need to be set by parents about what is acceptable and what is not.  Kids absolutely need these parameters.  They even want them, despite their attempts to rebel against them at times. The boundaries establish the safety net.  Kids can use their parent's rules as their excuse to their peers for not getting involved in a potentially dangerous situation. It's a safe way out of trouble and a way that parents can suggest their children use, if need be.

Half the battle in helping our daughters is in recognizing and accepting that these young girls indeed experience all of these very real stresses and pressures. We have to open our eyes! Striving to keep open the lines of communication is critical.  Hopefully this art was established early on with our daughters and our continual encouragement to talk to us, to share with us — will reassure them that they can come to us at any time with their troubles. We can hopefully discover opportunities for open communication while out on a walk, driving in the car, or involved in an activity with our children when they are more likely to open up when they are not in a face to face situation with us.

Being aware of our children's needs is crucial. To get them through these years safely, we absolutely have to show our daughters our love in an affectionate, understanding, and tangible way and be there for them — always!

By

A Catholic wife, mother of five, award-winning journalist, best-selling author, photographer, lover of nature and a lay Missionary of Charity (Mother Teresa's Order).

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  • Guest

    Great article.  The statistics are there, too, bearing out the plunge in self esteem of girls starting in middle school.

    I homeschool my kids and although the older ones have gone to high school at an institutional setting, I would NEVER send them to middle school because of their vulnerable age and the way tween age behavior plays itself out.  There isn't anything positive about the way middle school girls treat each other as each girl attempts to grow up herself.

    Because I have a large family, all the kids interact with each other regardless of gender or age.  There's little time for pettiness or star gazing although they do find a way to know about Hannah Montana and Carrie Underwood (television is the culprit and my husband and I haven't banned it yet although I see very few to no positives in it.  I know this is a parenting flaw of ours.  Maybe this New Years we'll ditch it.) 

    Plus, I'm around them a good bit of the time inculturating them. And they read, books I select, for hours, literally, a day.

    Another thing we do, is provide the kids, boys and girls, with outlets to explore their talents.  Therefore, they play instruments and participate in sports.  They also do chores…plenty of them.  There's nothing like tasting the dinner YOU made and feeling good about yourself (at age 13).  Wearing clothes you washed smells good too!

    I think this cultural phenomenom of low self esteem is another symptom of a society imploding from narcissism.  Anorexic sized families are part of the problem.  Kids DO internalize the fact that, "If mom and dad only wanted two kids because kids are such a burden then do they truly want me?  Despite my flaws?"  Another twist on this is,  "Since there are only two of us kids in the family,  we'd better be perfect…"  Many opportunities to grow in authentic self esteem exist in a loving family.

     (Caveat:  as the article points out, even kids from "good" families are vulnerable in this culture in which it is almost  impossible to avoid the saturation of secularism.  I have no illusions that my kids could fall victim to the evil around them.  We must pray for our kids and for ourselves. We must all pray that the Holy Spirit shower us with its gifts and fills us with the grace necessary to live virtuous lives.)

  • Guest

    I totally agree with everything you have written.  As a mother of five daughters and a teacher in an all girls high school, I definitely see many facets of what you are talking about.  It has been my observation, though, that the concept of self-esteem has been misdirected into a very sad self-centeredness.   I believe it's time for the focus to change to self-respect and "other-esteem", if you will.  Wording is everything,  in my experience.

    As adults, we teach by example – we should never say or do anything we wouldn't want said or done to ourselves.   Self-esteem is the result of how we treat others – not how others treat us.  My self respect is the result of good choices – which, in turn, builds my self-esteem.

    We need to remember that we only find ourselves as we lose ourselves in loving/caring for others.  Today, more than at any other time in our history, our children need to learn that lesson. 

  • Guest

    Elkabrikir:

    We've been (more or less) TV free since 2001.  Here's how we did it:

     

    Gave it up for Lent.  Then had the cable turned off during the summer months, when everything is all reruns. In the fall, we had it re-hooked up.  We did this for a couple of years and then when we moved, we simply never had it rehooked up.  But the first Lent and summer were key, I think.  I get news and stuff over radio and Internet, sometimes the newspaper.

     

    The TV is in the basement and there is NO WAY to get a signal down there even with those super duper rabbit ears that boost the signal.

     

    Sometimes it's a bummer:  we hold the New Years Eve party and there is no Dick Clark or Ball Drop.  We have to go to a friend's house for Super Bowl, and then I leave during half time and bring the kids home (I missed the Wardrobe Malfunction!)

     

    The kids still get to watch TV at their friends' houses, but usually they and half the neighborhood are over here at our house, so its not that big a deal.  The kids also get to watch DVDs and videos, which I don't always monitor well.  And yes, we have a game cube. Despite that, and with homeschooling, my kids aren't quite as "savvy" (in a negative way) as their friends.

     

    Give a try during Lent and see how it goes.  Lent is the perfect time to give up TV. Also the game cube…Yeah, definately need to do that this year!

     

    Good luck!

  • Guest

    My daughter struggles with this daily.  She inherited my husband's body type and even when she loses weight she still doesn't feel as attractive as other girls, even though she is very pretty.  Everyone tells her so.

    I am also a volunteer mentor for Catholic girls in a juvenille correctional facility.  They are all very concerned about their body image.  And the figures you gave about girls who feel that their mothers love them, is also about 1 in 3.  There is hope for the young ladies' futures when they go home to a supportive family.  But, some of the girls pray reguarly for their mothers just to visit them, and they haven't had a visitor in 2 years.  They need someone to talk to about all of the issues in this article too.  Only 2 out of 20 Catholic girls have a Catholic mentor to talk to.  I hope that more good, Catholic moms will consider this ministry.  The girls there can really use a little mothering, and a whole lot of love.

  • Guest

    This kind of thing has been a problem for years, even when I was in high school in the mid-60's — and this was a Catholic, all-girls' school.  I was overweight, and there was tremendous pressure to "conform to the norm", which is of course thin.  I was also mocked because of my unusual (i.e., not Irish or English) surname.  Yes, it's much worse now because of all the sexualization status-related issues, such as not having the "right" clothes (we had uniforms), but it's been an ongoing problem, not (sadly) handled with the Christian charity one might hope for, considering.  I really feel for Moms of daughters today, and am thankful that we had sons — but that's a whole other story!  Lots of mothering is definitely needed — my mother, God rest her soul, unfortunately suffered from alcoholism, so was  unable to "mother" as she would have liked.  It's an old, sad story — and lots of prayer is the remedy.

  • Guest

    WARNING! DOVE IS OWNED BY THE UNILEVER CO., AND THEY GIVE LOTS OF $$$ TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD! Prolifers would do well to avoid purchasing all Unilever products–hit 'em where they feel it!

  • Guest

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com  http://www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com  http://www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

    Dear Elkabrikir,

    Thanks so much for commenting and sharing what you do to help your children navigate the teen and "tween" years. Thanks also for your insight on the "two kid" family stresses that you mentioned.

     

    God bless!

    Donna

  • Guest

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com  http://www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com  http://www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

    Dear Therese,

     

    Thanks so much for adding to the discussion with your thoughts on self esteem.

     

    God bless!

    Donna

  • Guest

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com  http://www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com  http://www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

    Dear "Tednkate,"

     

    Thanks so much for sharing what your family does to eliminate too much TV viewing and getting a handle on that.

     

    God bless,

    Donna

  • Guest

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com  http://www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com  http://www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

     

    Dear "Laurak,"

     

    God bless you for mentoring at a girl's correctional facility! Our Lord calls us to do this in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 25: 31-46)  which is one of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta's favorite messages. I am very thankful that you brought this up so that maybe others will be inspired to give of their time to help these girls.

     

    God bless!

    Donna

  • Guest

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com  http://www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com  http://www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

    Dear "Chloesmom,"

    Thank you for your comment.  I agree that we need much more prayer for these girls.

     

    God bless,

    Donna

  • Guest

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com  http://www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com  http://www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

    Dear "JMTFH,"

    Thank you for the warning about Dove and Unilever supporting Planned Parenthood. I will certainly look into that.

     

    God bless,

    Donna

  • Guest

    tednkate:

    I like what you have to say about reducing TV.  We have given up TV for Lent some years and it is a great thing to do.  We also, only get cable during the football season!  It was cheaper than my husband going to sport's bars to watch his Hokies…who are beating UVa at this moment!

    I think the toughest thing about going completely TV free is that there are some positives for me at least.  I hate feeling "out of control" on the issue.  As in banning it completely speaks to weakness not strength (perhaps).  

    I don't mean to get off onto a topic other than the excellent one presented  because it it crucial for our daughters to recognize the inherent dangers in our culture that may cause them to turn to deadly solutions: anorexia/bulimia, promiscuity/abortion, addiction, depression, loss of faith…

  • Guest

    No tv here as well and we home school. Still I see my nine year old girl soak up the world just by going to the store or overhearing something said. We are lucky the effects are minimal but any resources to help us helpf our children is always appreciated.

     

    Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to God's Mercy. Kent C. Bois

  • Guest

    Anyone interested in finding out what corporations fund planned parenthood and the abortion industry please go to http://www.fightpp.org/ and consider becoming a member. Boycotting has a tremendous impact. "To date, at least 157 corporations have ceased funding Planned Parenthood!, which has cost the abortion-committing Goliath more than $40 million!"

  • Guest

    I've never been a teenage girl, but it is tough these days to be a teen. But it was tough when I was a kid too, and my parents and theirs. Drugs, sex, peer pressure, criticism, hormones, acne, great expectations, disappointments, and all the other issues are nothing new.

    One thing that is new, or at least is continuing to increase is a lack of parental involvement. Single parents, or parents that have to work more than one job takes away from the parental support that any young person needs.

    It doesn't help that we, as adults, tend to look back on our teen years with the weary, slightly hardened eyes of adults. We've come to realize that where sex and drugs are concerned, you really can say no and the world doesn't end. Maturity helps us realize that acne, peer pressure and criticism can be stressful, but they're not insurmountable problems.

    We forget sometimes that our kids haven't come to realize this yet, and they may need some help with it.

    The article gives good advise. Affection, understanding and being there for them. There are no guarantees, but it is a great start.

     

  • Guest

    I agree that you should check out this company. I also had previously viewed the Dove Campaign for Beauty and followed their links to what they promoted. It seemed to be a pro-choice, feminist agenda. Also, Unilever is the company that makes Axe for men, or rather young teens. Just go to the Axe website and see how they portray women as sex objects for male gratification. This doesn't seem to fit with their campaign for beauty. Or, is it really all about making money?

  • Guest

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com  http://www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com  http://www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

    Hello everyone speaking about the TV issue,

     

    I think that while everyone may not decide to eliminate TV viewing completely, cutting down on it considerably and having rules about viewing is crucial. I don't watch TV but do I do like having access to EWTN because that is a station that is a great resource for Catholic and Christian families. Parents have to monitor and not get complacent about it.

     

    God bless,

    Donna

  • Guest

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com  http://www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com  http://www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

    Dear "JMTFH,"

    Thanks so much for providing the link about who is funding Planned Parenthood. I'll look into that and post it on my blogs.

    God bless,

    Donna

  • Guest

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com  http://www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com  http://www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

    Dear "Brucemiller,"

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that a big problem today is lack of parental involvement. I try to emphasise that in my writings and try to encourage parents to "be there" for their kids and stop "farming them out." We need to stop allowing the culture dictate to us what we need to acquire materialistically.  We will then eliminate the necessity of working so many jobs and neglecting our children in the process.

     

    God bless,

    Donna

  • Guest

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com  http://www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com  http://www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

    Dear "Maryarm5,"

     

    Thanks very much for your enlightening comments about these companies and their products. It's so important that we research them before supporting them.

     

    God bless,

    Donna 

  • Guest

    Good article and very needed right now! Thank you! It is tough!

    I want to also warn people that in one of Dove's articles talking about how our culture has created this problem, it slams Christianity with misinterpretations of theology.  Perhaps there are some good Catholic resources out there? Here's the bit I came across:

     "Judeo-Christian doctrine and Western thinkers like Plato have traditionally created a split between mind and body. The body has traditionally been seen as evil, animal, shameful and uncontrollable. And women have traditionally been seen as more rooted in their bodies, less rational and spiritual than men, responsible for tempting men into the degraded realm of the animal, the sexual.

    The story of Adam and Eve, at the heart of Western ideology, is the perfect example of how our culture blames women for our bodily existence, and our mortality. Because Adam and Eve eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (interpreted as sexual knowledge) they are punished with mortality. It is Eve who is blamed for this.

    The story expresses: (a) that our mortality, our bodily existence is somehow a shameful punishment; (b) bodily existence is specifically a punishment for our sexual appetites; (c) woman is to blame for our bodily existence, our mortality, and our appetites.

    It is interesting to note that Eve's sexual appetite is expressed figuratively through her appetite for food, the apple. Having appetite, having hunger, and acting upon these by eating the apple: these are Eve's sins.

    The Shaming of Women
    Woman is thus, in a sense, the scapegoat for cultural shame for our appetites and our inability to completely control our bodies. Women are "blamed" for men's "uncontrollable" sexual urges. When a rape victim is accused of provoking an attack she is forced into absorbing responsibility for the rapist's violence. Moreover, women are "blamed" for the fact that we age and do not have control over our bodies; hence the "unwritten code" that older or larger women are not to be portrayed as glamorous figures in the media and are not to be taken seriously as intelligent or sexual beings."

    http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com/dsef07/t4.aspx?id=7342

     

     

  • Guest

    This is a way too common example of how the secular world misinterprets Christianity.  The Church does not blame rape victims.  It does call for women to take responsibility for the message they send by dressing purely, but it doesn't say that they deserve to be raped or that they are responsible for the rapist's uncontrollable sexual urge and violence.  And I have never known the Church to blame women for the aging process;  the secular world deserves credit for that one.

  • Guest

    The Judeo-Christian doctrine has traditionally NOT created a split between mind and body!  There have been some major heresies that have created such a split, but Christian doctrine has always said that our created bodies were "very good" to use the Creator's words.

    Let's not buy the lie that the secular culture that glorifies the body and Christian culture that distains it.

  • Guest

    I once read in a protestant self help bible study program the following formula that Satan uses to destroy self esteem.  The lie is this:

    "Your accomplishments, plus what others think about you, equals your value as a person."

    Obviously, one can see how all of us can misinterpret what we do for who we are.  "Mr Rogers"  even has a song called, "It's You I Like"  (not the things you do or the color of your hair they're just beside you…) The star quarterback receives accolades the bench warmer not even a glance.  If a girl looks beautiful in her Christmas dress, the photo shoot begins. etc……..

    Donna-Marie could write a whole article on how to transmit the truth to our children-and others- that our love for any person is based on their dignity as a person made in the Image and Likeness of God.

    Also, kids need to understand that they are loved even when chastised (that is why they are disciplined).  "I am angry with your behavior" differs from "You naughty girl, for running in the house and breaking my favorite vase."  In particular, children cannot distinguish between themselves and their behavior.  Ergo, my 3 year old frequently asks me, "Are you mad at me?"  I have to carefully explain how much I love him but not the action.

    As parents we must parent with love-driven focus and watch that what we're saying is actually what we mean.  Careless words, regularly delivered can have serious consequences on a child's self esteem. It is important as parents to acknowledge when we have failed to deliver the proper message to our children.  You are not a bad parent or person because out of anger and frustration you sent the wrong message to your child during a fit of temper.  You are human and a work in progress.  Your human dignity and the dignity of your child require you to repent to God and your child and move forward.  Your child will learn the valuable lesson that "I am not my sin."  "I am a redeemed Child of God."

    Happy Christ the King day! 

  • Guest

    I've never been a teenage girl either, that's actually a good thing in raising my three girls. I'm not interested in their narcissistic problems. How insensitive you might say, not at all. I'm interested in their real problems to the point of being irritating. It's because I'm clueless as to what goes on in a teenage girls mind or any girls mind for that matter, that I can provide for them the most thereaputic outlet. That is to get them out of their self-centeredness and their inner mind and out into the objective realm. I distract them into looking at the big picture. I don't get a thank you for it. Instead I get responses -that I don't understand, that they don't want to talk to me. "Dad, you're irritating" is what I hear. Why am I not surprised?

    We work with young girls in our business, mostly pre-teen but also teen and I've picked up on a trend, again not surprising. Where there is the strong presence of a father the girl is well adjusted. Those girls are bubbly, well behaved and have a sense of humor. Fathers have the special gift of imparting stability and objectivity onto their daughters. It stands to reason that this cross sexual approach would provide the best balance. They handled their own growing problems because they always had to and wanted to share a bedroom.

    I know that not all the girls have a father to push away when he squeezes too hard. For those we need to provide other sources of help. We need to tap into the nature of our most loving and caring Father and The King.

  • Guest

     In reponse to elkabrikir's statement about home-schooling her kids, I would like to add something:

    However much we restrain children these days from being exposed to the evils of this world, remember that they must still know about them – and be prepared for them. For those who keep your children from ever seeing the evils which accompany public school – be careful not to make them entirely indifferent to the fact that it does exist. They must know how to encounter and approach it when the time comes (because they will). I think the best thing (my opinion entirely) to do is keep your kids in perhaps a private (Catholic) school up until high school. But during these first years, build for them a foundation of trust and parental guidance. Love them, but most of all, sculpt for them a formidable spiritual life. In other words, prepare them. Show them the reality evil, and discuss it with them. "Expose" to them what will be found in public school. So when high school comes about they are prepared and will fair well. But why public school you say? I read this statement the other day (by a bishop or pope or believe, don't recall at this very moment) that said this: "If you want your children to fight for the faith, send them to public school. If you want your children to lose faith, send them to Catholic school." I believe that what is being said here, is that one must not always stay within the safety of only what is good. We must also go out and fight. Build your children to be soldiers of Christ, and high school will be no problem for them at all. They just might change a people while they're at it too.

    Of course, this is all my own opinion. I know people who have kept their children in Catholic school or home-schooled them their entire adolescent life and still have very good children, strong in their faith and very knowledgeable of the evils of the outside world. But it is because they teach them not only of Good, but of Evil.

    Then again, I'm only 16 years old, so I can't say I have experience in this. But I know for a fact that if you want your children to be strong, you have to teach them. It's the only way we will make true soldiers for Christ, ready to defend him at a moment's notice…

    "Viva Cristo Rey!"

  • Guest

    That is a misquotation.  Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said: "It would be better to send your children to public schools where they will have to fight for their faith instead of sending them to a Catholic school and have their faith stolen from them." His point was not that children should have to fight for their faith at all, only  that Catholic schools were taking faith away from children because the children were believing what they were being taught as the Catholic faith was true, when in reality it was heresy.

    There is a big idfference between "exposing children" to something and educating them, as I am sure you will agree. Take pornography for instance. Should we expose children to it? Should we even expose ourselves to it? But certainly we should tell that that there are books and movies and magazines etc. that are occasions of sin because of their immodesty, immorality, and disrespect for the sacred nature of the sexual act.

    Regardless of where you go to school, you sound like someone well-taught in the faith. Please continue to share your thoughts.

  • Guest

    mkochan: Yes, you seem to understand what I was trying to convey, but I did not necessarily mean that we should expose them in that sense. But, rather, that we stir in them a sense of knowledge about the matter. Of course, we don't show them the material itself, but instead bring about awareness of it's reality.

    I apologize for the misquotation. Though I don't recall the words being exactly of that structure, it is very similar and holds the same exact message. Yes, what you say Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen meant by this statment is entirely correct. I simply used it, intentionally interpreting it differently from that of which it was originally intended, for the purpose of suiting my point. Ultimately, what I meant to say was that we must teach children the virtues of faith, hope, love, and charity, etc. – in other words forming them. Regardless of how, or where, we place them in terms of education, it is the parents' duty to guide and build strong soldiers for Christ.

    Thank you for your input and God bless!

  • Guest

    dominicus

    Thanks for posting!  I have deep, intelligent conversations with my kids regularly, therefore, I certainly respect your thoughts.

    I actually agree with your point.  I have heard homeschooling described as a "greenhouse" in which parents nurture their kids from little shoots, to saplings.  My kids, three so far with 8 to go, have all attended an institutional setting for high school.  I think middle school is a different case.  I think that aged child is still too vulnerable for the social pressures (in a nutshell).  Plus, I think they still need a lot of parental interaction and limited peer interaction.

    We have sent our kids to high school for several reasons (and each child's situation is dealt with on an individual case).  I think institutional HS because it buts kids in a pressure cooker of sorts where they are accountable to adults other than their parents.  Also, they must learn to deal with difficult social situations (potentially) and they have to learn to separate from their parents and family (a man must leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife.) Separation is a gradual process.  For our family it works for the kids to have the security of a strong home life while they learn to adjust to the realities of the "world".

    I am not dogmatic about these schooling issues because I think each family, during each moment in time, for each child has the right to exercise prudential judgment in deciding which educational setting is the best option.

    Keep thinking about the truths of the universe.  God will reveal himself to you.  One of my favorite images is from the Old Testament where God/Wisdom is imaged as waiting at the gate at the rising of the sun…waiting for you.

  • Guest

    This was great to read! Unfortunately, I have to say that the age these pressures start girls is getting younger and younger.  My little sister has just turned nine and she has already showed signs of these pressures for the past  year or so.  She sometimes comments that she thinks she is fat (but she's a gymnast so we assure her that it's muscle).  She took dance for a few years when she was younger and had to wear fairly heavy/dark stage make-up for the dance recitals but now she thinks she has to wear it to go to church or to play with friends!  She also has the influence of a friend or two that I'm not sure why my mom still lets her play with them.  She has learned some inappropriate dance moves and some bad language from this/these girl/s.  We say that she's nine going on 19 (which is how old I am).  I do my best to be a good example for her, dressing modestly and trying to watch only PG and under shows and movies when she's around, however I am afraid that all of the other things I have mentioned keep pulling at her forcefully and I don't know what else to do but to pray and keep being a good example.  I will definitly be showing this article to my mom!

  • Guest

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com  http://www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com  http://www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

    Dear "Pictureperfect06,"

    Thank you very much for your comment. Please talk to your Mom about your concerns with your little sister. It is wonderful that you are praying for her and setting a great example. I really think your mother needs to know your feelings about this and all you have observed in her bahaviors so that your mother can intervene.

     

    May God bless you and your family,

    Donna

  • Guest

    Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle http://www.donnacooperoboyle.com  http://www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com  http://www.donnamarieembracingmotherhood.blogspot.com

    Hello Everyone,

     

    I think it's great that you have all entered into this discussion to express your concerns for "our daughters" and have offered your advice. Let's all pray for our youth and ask our Lord how we can concretely help the young girls who do not have a good example in their lives such as those in prison as was mentioned earlier, those in struggling households, and those who feel lost in this big world. Our prayers, our examples, our listening ears, and our comforting words can really be a healing balm to these girls.  Let's look around us and see where our Lord may be calling us to help. Remember that Mother Teresa said that there is "Calcutta all over the world for those who have eyes to see." Let's look into our own Calcuttas right here where we are and ease the sufferings of our girls, pointing them to the TRUTH and giving them LOVE.

     

    I am impressed with "Dominicus's" comment.  He or she is sixteen years old and courageous to speak up and offer his or her words of wisdom.  Thank you! I'm sure that you are a light to others your own age and others as well.  God bless you!

     

    God bless,

    Donna 

  • Guest

    Elkabrikir~I agree that society perpetuates the two child family image, however there are many good Catholic families who, despite wanting more than one or two children, end up with just that, for medical reasons. Hopefully their children do not feel unloved because their parents COULD not have more children.

  • Guest

    At the request of the author the referece to the Dove site has been removed.  Thanks to all who did further research and expressed concerns.

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