September 29, 2017

Have you noticed that preteen girls are revealing more and more skin by wearing less and less clothing these days? Whether they are posting selfies on social media or getting dressed for school, girls' interest in looking "sexy" is a prevalent and growing concern for parents today. But, should we be surprised?

Today, more than ever, thanks to the onslaught of sexy images in mainstream media and unlimited accessibility, girls are learning to equate looking sexy with feeling wanted and gaining approval.

Teach Your Preteen That Looking Sexy Doesnt Mean Ready For Sex

Marketers are now targeting young girls with "sexy" clothing and products, such as baby clothes printed with "hottie," and dolls wearing padded bras and thongs. They overexpose the consumers of the future with sexy products to create the want, the need, and ultimately, the purchase. Smart for business, terrible for society and a girl's sense of self-worth. Their yearning for sexy may seem like a bid for connection, yet it is a dangerous path that often leads to deeper disconnection.

What's a parent to do when their daughter emerges from her bedroom dressed like her favourite pop star, so proud of her new sexy style? Do you hide your shock and chagrin or order her back to her room to grab a sweater? This is tricky territory to navigate, and a topic I felt compelled to write about in my book, Growing Strong Girls.

Smart for business, terrible for society and a girl's sense of self-worth.

We have to look at ways to support our daughters so they know the difference between looking and acting sexy, and readiness for sex. For more than 15 years I have worked alongside girls and their parents as an educator and consultant, and seen firsthand the emergence of this trend. Over time, I have several ideas for how we can address our concern and, at the same time, help girls develop into strong and confident young women with true self worth.

Teach Your Preteen That Looking Sexy Doesnt Mean Ready For Sex

1. Talk openly and honestly about her growth

Help her to become more comfortable with her body changes by providing a safe space for her to share her feelings. Remind her that although girls are maturing earlier than previous generations, looking older is not the same as being ready for sex and relational intimacy. Listen to her feelings with empathy, remembering just how sensitive a topic this must be for her. Be curious about how she's feeling about her body. Ask her to name three things she loves about her body and to post this list on her mirror as a reminder — to focus on what she appreciates.

Also help her shift from comparisons ("I am so much bigger than my friends") to her uniqueness ("I am proud of my body and how I am growing.") When people comment on her changing body, prepare her with responses such as, "You focus on your body; I'll focus on mine."

2. Help her to understand that the desire to feel sexy is a healthy aspect of the human experience

Young girls hear the word "sexy" a lot, but cannot cognitively comprehend the concept as it's too abstract for her not yet fully developed mind. If you ask a little girl what sexy means, she may say "pretty" or "when boys like you." Explain that what she is seeing and what her peers are talking about is part of growing up, but that it's not appropriate for her yet. Her job now is to focus on caring for her body and feeling good about herself. Talk about sexuality in a way that makes sense to her — by exploring her personality traits, her identity and what it means to be a girl —for her.

Teach Your Preteen That Looking Sexy Doesnt Mean Ready For Sex

3. Have conversations early about her unique style and what it reveals about her character

It's important that she is comfortable in her clothes while honouring her uniqueness and her body type. Decide together what is age-appropriate and values-appropriate for your family. Focus on feeling good and being able to move in her body. Tight clothes are simply uncomfortable! Explore different styles together and take time to understand her choices. Use this as an opportunity to listen and respond to the pressures she may be feeling to look a certain way.

Go deeper by connecting her style to her values and personal qualities. Try looking at movies, TV shows, and magazines, and ask her what she likes about different characters' clothing choices and the values being reflected. You may learn a lot about her by taking the focus off her. Ask her if they look like her friends and represent diversity. Suggest alternative role models such as Simone Biles, Bethany Hamilton, Malala Yousafzai, who are focused on doing good over looking sexy. You may learn a lot about her by taking the focus off her.

4. Explain that it's normal to want to feel noticed, and provide her with alternative ways to earn attention

Wanting to be appreciated and admired is part of life with roots in our biology. In Louann Brizendine's book The Female Brain, she says, "During puberty, a girl's entire raison d'etre is to become sexually desirable. She begins judging herself against her peers and media images of other attractive females." Acknowledge this — it's how we are wired — and talk about positive ways to feel her value and worth, shifting from appearance obsessed to the deeper connection with herself. Follow her interests and help her develop her skills in sports, the arts or hobbies, explaining that the more competent she feels as she tries new activities, the better she'll feel about herself and the less she will rely on external validation.

Teach Your Preteen That Looking Sexy Doesnt Mean Ready For Sex

5.Prepare her for unwanted, unwarranted sexual attention

Let's face it; it's going to come her way at some point, whether she's wearing a mini skirt or a paper bag. Don't shy away from the conversation of what to do when someone whistles at her on the street, or yells "you're hot" from a moving car. She doesn't ask for these comments but she will need to be ready for them and think on her feet. Teach her that she is not powerless in these situations — she can walk away, cross the street or reply with her quick wit! Role playing different scenarios and responses will help her to feel ready and less blindsided by unwanted sexual attention.

Without doubt, it's disconcerting that girls are feeling the pressure to look sexy rather than nurturing a uniquely positive sense of self. Yet, when we provide the security and safety of a warm and caring relationship and have these necessary conversations, she's more likely to come to us when she has questions or needs guidance.

Lindsay Sealey is an educational and personal development specialist and the founder of Bold New Girls: a coaching company dedicated to girls, and their families and mentors. She is the author of Growing Strong Girls: Practical Tools to Cultivate Connection in the Preteen Years.

Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
J.Lo's Booty Secrets, Rihanna's V-Day Goals & Adele's Payday
January 19, 2022
o5F62CQIP5A
Cringe-Worthy Intros, Friend Loyalty & Brothel Home
January 19, 2022
p1G2MXhl6wg
Jessica Alba Called "Horrible" to Work With By Jensen Ackles | E! News
January 19, 2022
5r8U9oOOWv4
Relative of Bronx Fire Victims Calls Cardi B an Angel for Paying Funeral Costs | TMZ
January 19, 2022
KX6iK-R_xjs
Jim Jones Praises Cardi B For Covering The Costs Of Funerals For Families In Apartment Fire | TMZ
January 19, 2022
4omV_psCqbA
Singer Maeta Breaks Down Viral Snake Bite During Music Video Shoot | TMZ
January 19, 2022
6-0Xl75jtnA
Jamie Lynn Spears warned Britney about former lawyer’s shady practices | Page Six Celebrity News
January 20, 2022
mONrjR4URMA
Jensen Ackles: Jessica Alba was ‘horrible’ to work with on ‘Dark Angel’ | Page Six Celebrity News
January 20, 2022
LCUYQyv9jps
‘RHOC’ recap: Heather blasts Noella for giving teen daughter explicit card game | Page Six
January 20, 2022
3UNGk1Xt6WU
Breaking Down the SAG Comedy Series Ensemble Nominations
January 20, 2022
ByviiNcW2V8
Hilary Duff Joins 'Just for Variety' to Talk 'How I Met Your Father' & 'Lizzie McGuire'
January 18, 2022
a67v7ca8F8I
Sebastian Stan & Lily James: Uncovered
January 18, 2022
2QdC-_nefs0
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
19
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group H
Sydney FC - Shanghai SIPG
17
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Spain - Germany
14
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Germany - Ukraine
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Liverpool
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Aston Villa
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Real Madrid
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Verona
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Tottenham Hotspur
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Napoli
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Roma
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Juventus
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Monchengladbach
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Wolves
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg - Hoffenheim
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Athletic Bilbao
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Levante - Alaves
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Granada CF
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Crotone
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Villarreal
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bayern Munich
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester United
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Sheffield United
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Cadiz
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Betis
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Augsburg - Hertha Berlin
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Stuttgart - Eintracht Frankfurt
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - SC Freiburg
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Preston NE
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Fiorentina
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Coventry
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Swansea City
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - QPR
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Barnsley
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Wycombe Wanderers
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Fulham
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Millwall
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Brentford - Middlesbrough
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Bournemouth
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Osasuna
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Spezia
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Leeds
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Ferencvaros - Juventus
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Barcelona - Dynamo K.
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group A
Salzburg - Bayern Munich
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group D
Atalanta - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.