Are kids growing up too fast? Anthony Aulisio

Kids’ childhoods are almost becoming nonexistent nowadays. Young female preteens are walking around the mall all by themselves, texting their friends on their cell phone, and getting their nails and makeup done. Young male preteens are leaving the house late at night to play a game of two on two. Ten years ago, everybody would walk up to them and ask where their parents were or if they were lost. Now, it is completely fine and nobody has any worry whatsoever. Why are kids evolving, and acting older than they actually are? What’s next, toddlers working in offices, or teenagers going into retirement? Are kids growing up too fast?
First and foremost, children are dragging various problems into their so-called “childhood.” Since when did children start dealing drugs, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes as soon as middle school? In fact, the number of juvenile arrests has increased within the past twenty years. According to “Peer Power: Culture and Identity,” a study by Patricia Adler and Peter Adler, elementary school, and middle school boys think that their popularity depends on “...toughness, trouble making, and domination.” Children cannot be introduced to these bad behaviors at such a young age. Their mindset is in the wrong place, due to poor judgement. The brain does not fully develop until the age of about twenty-five. If they get used to these behaviors, most likely they will cause trouble when they grow older. In some cases, children are left home alone because their parents have to work long hours or they work far away from home. This means that the little youngsters cannot be disciplined by their parents or learn right from wrong. You might say that these bad behaviors are “just a part of growing up,” but is that the way you want your child growing up? Do you want your child going down the wrong path and being introduced to these horrible things early on in life? Technology is also to blame for kids evolving and behaving differently. If nobody is there to help cope with a child’s discipline problem, how will they ever change their ways? Also, you could argue that it is good for children to socialize and be with friends, but if they aren’t under adult supervision, the children are at risk for danger.
Not only do these bad behaviors cause trouble, but consequently they also cause health problems. Children are facing more stress and anxiety. It is now common to see grade school kids have to schedule for counseling due to this reasoning. For some reason, different therapists have seen an increase in the number of eating disorders found in girls in late elementary school. Perhaps this could be because they might be bullied for being overweight, or that they are unhappy with their appearance. Furthermore, scientists are noticing an alarming number of 7-year-old girls and 8-year-old boys hitting puberty. So far, scientists have not found the reason behind these statistics, but some claim that it is due to chemicals in certain foods. Over the years, children have become more romantic. Christy Hogan, a retired middle school counselor in Louisville, Kentucky, has stated that she is beginning to see a few pregnant sixth-graders. In a lot more cases, 9-11-year olds are starting to have to worry about their cholesterol levels. It looks like kids are going to be spending their days eating Cheerios and running on the treadmill for awhile.
Additionally, parents are really pushing for their kids to succeed early on and pressuring them to grow up faster. They want their child to get ahead of everyone else and accomplish great things in life. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Doesn’t every parent want their child to succeed in life?” And there is nothing wrong with wanting your kid to succeed, but there is a problem with controlling your kid’s life and making every decision for them. For instance, parents are sending their young children to intense sports training camps. On top of that, parents are even signing up their toddlers for musical lessons. Some teenagers are even starting to stress over getting into the right high school. Kids are starting to worry about their future at such a young age because their parents are really putting an effort towards making them a successful person. Kids should start to worry about that once they get older. Children should not have a bunch of information crammed into their little, tiny head when they are just learning to write and read. Now, you might say that pushing a child to succeed is really only helping the child, but it is really just making life more complicated for them. Childhood is meant for kids to learn from their mistakes and grow up as the best person they can be. Childhood isn’t a time where kids should be stressed over everything.

I am wondering whether or not kids are growing up too fast. Kids are introduced to various behavioral problems, unhealthy habits, and being pressured to succeed in life. This is really influencing kids to grow up faster. Bruce Friend, an executive of the kids' cable channel Nickelodeon, says,"The 12 to 14-year-old of yesterday are the 10 to 12-year-olds of today." Is this what the future generations of kids will look like?


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