Linda Colling: Cheated out of childhood

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DAYS ago, I marvelled at the sheer perfection of a two day old baby girl. A rosebud, so beautiful to behold she twanged my heart strings.

Fast forward three years and my heart constricts at the very thought that any mother of a little girl, would cart her off to a beauty parlour or have her taught how to straddle a pole. But, that’s what is happening. And the image I saw of a three-year-old being beautified and others pole dancing are as outrageous as they are pitiful.

What posesses any mother to not only cheapen her child but cheat her of childhood?

It is all so sad that mothers are so ignorant of all that they are exposing their children to. They are definitely up the pole. They can’t see the dangers of sexualising their daughters in makeovers, tarty clothes and encouraging them to grow up before their time.

The sexualising starts in the pram with pierced ears and gold chains. Mothers so determined to dress up their girls in clothes that are totally inappropriate are caught up in a headlong rush to sacrifice their child’s innocence in the mistaken belief they are doing their very best for their little Princess. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the very week of a report to stem the sexualisation of children, Letting Children Be Children, compiled by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers’ Union, children as young as three were shown being preened in a beauty parlour and others tutored in pole dancing.

Michelle Devine, a 28-year-old single mother has seized on what she saw as a gap in the market and opened a children’s beauty parlour, Trendy Monkeys in Essex, where little girls get a makeover in facial, makeup, manicure and hairdo. How very wrong that girls are being introduced to such. Just as disgusting as initiating them in raunchy moves, showing them how to hold their legs in a V-shape while sliding down the pole at a dance studio in Northampton.

It is stealing and robbing little ones of their innocence by mothers who can’t see the damage they are doing. They are the ones, not their tots who are clamouring to see them beautified. It’s tragic that they can’t see the natural beauty in their children.

No three-year-old should be preened and plastered with face masks and makeup. There’s too much pressure on young girls already in magazines, music, television. So they grow up obsessed with how they look and believe being beautiful comes in a bottle.

Mothers who can’t wait to parade their daughters in clarty mini-me clothes, heels to totter around in and actively encourage them to look older than their years are instilling all the wrong values. It’s highly irresponsible and dangerous. While responsible parents are crying out for more protection for their children as spelled out in the Bailey report, others are recklessly turning their daughters into jail bait.