Barbie Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras: What Are We Teaching Our Children?
In a world where children already seem to be growing up too fast, news stories about mothers who push their little girl’s to grow up even faster can’t help but make you shake your head and wonder: “Just what exactly is being taught to the children who will be our future?”
This is certainly the case when you watch instances like Sarah Burge, a woman known as the “Human Barbie Mom” try to justify giving her seven year old daughter a voucher for breast augmentation and an $11,000 voucher for plastic surgery as a Christmas gift.
The Human Barbie Mom, Botox Mom, and Toddlers and Tiaras
You’ve got to wonder if the world’s gone a little CRAZY when you watch television shows like Toddlers and Tiaras where mothers are dressing their tots up in makeup and sometimes suggestive outfits (i.e. the Pretty Woman prostitute outfit), all in the name of winning a beauty pageant.
As a matter of fact, how far mothers are willing to go when it comes to helping their young daughters win beauty pageants is something that’s on the mind of many . . . especially since Kerry Campbell, who is more famously known as “Botox Mom,” appeared on Good Morning America and Inside Edition to talk about how she injected often her eight year old daughter with Botox to help her win beauty pageants. Of course she denied doing any of this after child protective services stepped in and took her daughter away from her.
And as mentioned earlier, the world is still reeling after watching a mother justify her gift of plastic surgery to a seven year old and hearing the child express how happy she was to receive them because “it's great because you can change yourself if you're not happy.”
The Impact on Our Children
As cute as some moms may think it is to see their young girls prance about pretending to be “grown up,” encouraging this sort of behavior is only setting children up for body image and mental health issues down the road. Many experts are in agreement that putting so much emphasis on appearance will have dire consequences later in life because it leads girls to grow up believing that their self-worth is based on their looks. This inevitably sets a girl up for serious body image issues as she grows up; putting immense pressure on herself to meet a standard of beauty that will be impossible to achieve—or so it will always feel.
Dr. Carole Lieberman, a well-known and respected psychologist is one of those aforementioned experts who believe that this type of “motherly” behavior can result in irreversible damage. In her award-winning book, Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets, Lieberman addresses the phenomenon. “This new trend of moms, who are giving their daughters tiaras, vouchers for plastic surgery and Botox, are teaching them that they are not lovable or good enough. The little girls learn that no Prince will love them just as they are.”
Experts also worry about how this emphasis on beauty and appearance will affect a child’s relationships with others throughout her lifetime because of the narcissistic tendencies that often accompany being raised by a parent who places all of the emphasis on a girl’s physical beauty.
Lieberman expands on that view, and delves deeper into the relationships these young girls will develop well into young adulthood . . . and possibly for the rest of their lives.
“Although these daughters may enjoy the extra attention mom is giving them now, when they grow up and realize that their mother is simply living vicariously through them, they will resent her. These moms do not feel pretty enough or lovable enough themselves; so they are trying to heal their painful memories of rejection by trying to make their little girls beautiful so that they can get the attention the moms always wanted. These little girls grow up to be 'bad girls' because they have had deep insecurities instilled in them, making them feel as if they will never get a man to love them unless they trap him into it.”
And what stems from there may cause even more damage. Violent emotional relationships or failed marriages compound all those insecurities, and the cycle continues.
While we most definitely want to teach our children to love and respect themselves, what they learn from messages like those presented by pageants moms, Sarah Burge, and Kerry Campbell far exceeds that and leads to a warped sense of self.
Perhaps if everyone focused on the inner beauty and power that all of us possess, we would be able to foster a generation that was more loving, more caring, and more emotionally healthy overall.