Thursday, October 30, 2008

Too sexy Halloween

With Halloween only a day away, many parents are scurrying to find their child a costume for the holiday. But their shopping might prove to be especially challenging as many of the costumes available are too sexy for their young one(s). 
Author and professor Diane Levin recently spoke with the Los Angeles Times about this concern.
Halloween costumes for 7- and 8-year-old girls and even younger have become downright titillating, and for tweens and teens, the vast majority of those sold in stores and on the Internet are unabashedly sexually alluring.
Little girls and their big sisters are being encouraged to get dressed up, in many cases, like child prostitutes. Then, they wander the night judging and being judged by their friends as to how well they meet the provocative standard and begging for candy from strangers.
This is a continuation of what's been going on for quite a while: Halloween costumes are reflecting an increasingly sexualized childhood.

So what is a parent to do?
Simply put, say NO!
Levin put it this way:
Say you go to a store with your 8-year-old and she's trying to get a sexy costume and you're insisting on something more wholesome. It's becoming a battle. You need to stop and ask, "What do you like about that costume?" She may say, "Jenny and Susie all have something like that and they'll think I'm a dork if I don't." And then you say, "But my concern is that that looks like a costume for an older person. It seems we need to find a costume where you feel OK and I feel OK. How about this one -- which looks a little sexy to me but I feel OK with it?"
The idea is to let kids know we're there, we hear them, we're going to influence what they're learning. But we're also going to respect their thinking. So when kids need our help, they're more likely to come to us.
I'm a big fan of this - talk to your child, listen to your child, respect your child, and try to find compromise. Sure, you might end up putting your foot down, but at least have a conversation with your child first. There is a lot both parent and child can learn from these situations, and ultimately, we want our children to be safe and to understand the importance of our concern(s) for them.

1 comment:

House Hunter said...

This is why parents need to encourage creativity and MAKE their kids' costumes. The ones at the store are too mature for little ones-- and too slutty for those of us old enough to wear them!!