A feeling of outrage over Miley Cyrus’ provocative performance at the MTV Video Music Awards has swept the nation! All week I’ve been reading open letters to Miley, letters to daughters about her behavior as well as commentary from critics and supporters. Over the last few years, Miley has done everything from drugs salvia to posing naked to partying like a rock star—anything to prove that she is no longer Hannah Montana. So when she hit the stage on Sunday half-naked, twerking (or attempting to anyway) and gyrating with a foam finger, was it really a big surprise?
What did she really do that was so different from what millions of young girls are doing everyday with their friends and on social media? Instead of being outraged about Miley’s two-minute performance, those of us with daughters need to be outraged at…
1. Their online profiles and smart phone contents.
Some of our daughters are doing way more online than Miley did on that stage. From sexting to posting sexy selfies on instagram and facebook, some girls’ online behavior might even make Miley blush! We need to constantly remind our girls that what they say and do online can do permanent damage to their reputation.
2. The company they keep.
While we would like to think that our daughters are the ones doing all of the influencing, the truth is their friends are also influencing them. While we can’t necessarily choose their friends, we can give our girls the tools to make good decisions about whom they choose to spend time with.
3. The way they talk to you.
Every time I see a kid disrespect their parent in public, it takes everything out of me not to intervene. I want to scream at the parent, “Are you the parent or the child? Remember who is in charge! They will not “grow out” of this behavior, it will only get worse!”
4. The length of their shorts.
Have you seen these girls that can’t even walk straight because their shorts are so far up their butts? Just because they are making shorter, sexier clothes for our girls doesn’t mean we have to buy them.
5. The amount of makeup they wear and the age at which we allow them to wear it.
There is no occasion other than Halloween that girls under 16 should be wearing eyeliner, eye shadow and lipstick outside of the home. Ditch the makeup and remind them that real beauty is within.
6. The height of the heels on their shoes.
I’m still trying to figure out who thought it made sense to start making heels for kids. And if that’s not bad enough, now they have managed to hide the heels inside these new wedge sneakers! Combine the shoes with numbers 4 and 5 and we end up with an 8-year-old that looks like she’s going on 18.
7. What they are watching and listening to.
If we learned anything from the MTV Music Awards it should be that we must pay closer attention to what media our girls are consuming and who they consider role models. We should know what shows they are watching, what music they are listening to and what they are reading. Take time to have an open conversation about how everything on this list affects how others perceive them. And most importantly, give them the attention they need at home so that they don’t end up seeking it in all the wrong places—like on a stage dancing half-naked with millions watching.
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