Why is it ok to let little girls dress and act like grown ups at the age of 12?

By Justine O'Mahony

Published 28/04/2015 | 00:00

Justine O'Mahony
Justine O'Mahony

I remember my Confirmation like it was only yesterday.

I wore red velvet knickerbockers, frilly blouse, white pop socks and a red velvet jacket with a frill around the collar. I looked like a clown but I thought I was The Bomb. I'd had my hair cut in a pudding bowl style especially for the occasion and the highlight of the day was getting my photo taken with The Bishop!

I sang a solo 'How lovely on the mountains...' which goes to show how stuck they were for talent in my school and afterwards we went to a local hotel for lunch. It was lovely. I took The Pledge, not really because I had any notion of honouring it but because my mother would've killed me if I hadn't! The day was full of Catholic pomp and ceremony, there was a lot of talk of the Holy Spirit but it was all very simple and innocent.

The Eldest made his Confirmation this week. I didn't get his hair cut in a pudding bowl but I did make him have a shower and put on clean underwear. He took the pledge and the Bishop suggested that maybe some of us parents take it too, to give a good example. That was so NOT going to happen! Everybody put their heads down and pretended they hadn't heard him.

I kept hugging The Child and telling him how proud I was of him-he kept telling me to get off him and not be making a show of him in front of his friends.

All fairly normal stuff. I managed to photobomb his picture with The Bishop, much to his embarrassment and called the Bishop 'Your Holiness' much to his further mortification!

Then as the kids were filtering out of the church, this girl walked past. A beautiful twelve year old girl, wearing what I suspect was a vintage dress. She had a vintage headpiece on, was fake tanned from head to toe, had her nails shellaced, hair extensions in and was wearing a full face of makeup complete with red lipstick.

SHE WAS TWELVE! A mere child making her Confirmation. A little girl and yet her parents had seen fit to let her dress up like a Barbie Doll. When did society decide it was ok to let little girls dress and act like grown ups at the tender age of 12? It made me feel really sad. What was she going to be doing when she was 16?

The Bishop spent a lot of his sermon talking about praying to the Holy Spirit but would he not have been better off telling us parents to love our children for who they are-children. Could he not have advised that we leave them be kids for as long as possible, not be any rush to have them grow up, nurture and protect their innocence for as long as we can?

12 year old girls are just children-no matter what they think themselves. And it's our job to make sure they stay that way.

That's a sermon maybe he should consider doing.

Wexford People

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