Shocked by ISPCC claims that some 10-year-old children are being put under pressure to have sex, our columnist says parents need to act responsibly or it could be their innocent baby who is called Childline in the future…
A whole lot of things greatly upset me last week and made me weep. I’m still not the better for seeing that heart-wrenching image of what must surely be today’s equivalent of the horrific and disturbing Vietnamese ‘napalm girl,’ picture taken of a then 9-year-old Kim Phuc back in 1972.
This iconic image was that of tragic, innocent little baby Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach on the holiday resort of Bodrum; a beach I have visited many times while on holiday. The image of that infant was so visceral it makes my stomach lurch every time I think of it.
However, meanwhile back on the good aul land of saints and scholars, another ‘innocent’ child-related subject has raised its ugly head and helped crystalize the whole sad and sorry sex education (or lack thereof) issue our country has been playing ping pong with since, oh, since way before I was a small child – and that is the ISPCC’s revelations that ‘children as young as 10 are being pressured into sex.’ No, I am not under medication, that’s what I read. In fact, over 30,000 youngsters contacted Childline last year looking for help with ‘sexual matters.’
One 10-year-old little girl (a mere two years’ older than my beautiful, precious, innocent little granddaughter) even rang in and said she ‘felt pressured to give in and have sex with her boyfriend.’ Apparently this little one, who is someone’s daughter, someone’s granddaughter, someone’s baby girl, was ‘told by her friends to have sex or lose him,’ according to ISPCC CEO Grainia Long.
Seriously? What the X%&!? I mean, surely this is the stuff of dark, sleazy trashy porn we’d expect to see in a smutty film noir, not something that happens behind the spotless lace curtains of good old Catholic Ireland? Well apparently it is and the wonderful, put-upon Childline charity is trying hard to deal with it.
So, in light of those shocking revelations, can I ask where are these kids’ parents? You see, I blame you, not your sons and not your daughters. YOU!!! In my opinion these parents are complicit in this loss of innocence by allowing their babies to grow up too quickly, by allowing them free, unsupervised access to social media, by dressing them provocatively as babies in clothing emblazoned with explicit sexual slogans – yes I do mean you; the mother I saw pushing a baby in a pram recently where the poor infant was wearing a pink t-shirt that said ‘The Condom Broke,’ and skinny jeans over her nappy!
I’m not a violent person (no, really, I’m not), but I’m kinda sorry I didn’t go over and slap that mother because by trying to be ‘fun’ and ‘ironic,’ she needs to know that effectively, by dressing her innocent baby in that t-shirt with the demeaning message, she is promoting her in a provocative manner that will have an accumulative effect culminating in her child one day being a panicked 10-year-old needing to ring a responsible adult at Childline for help, advice and support with a crisis pregnancy or a serious, devastating, sexual assault because her cretinous parents have, from babyhood, conditioned her into thinking she is a sex object who really needs to focus all her attentions on pleasing her boyfriend. And while I’m at it…who allows their 10-year-old child to have a boy/girlfriend anyway? If you do, you’re simply failing to do your duty to protect your child. Do I sound harsh? Yes? Tough!
Look, by all means allow your kids to have boy/girl friends; ‘friends’ being the key word here, friends who play innocent games together, who walk to the park, who enjoy playing sports and laughing and joking together, who swap CDs and listen to ID, not grope, abuse and pressure each other to engage in adult activities. It’s their middle childhood years; nurture them through this new growing sense of self and let them enjoy who they are, for God’s sake.
Look readers, I’m no expert at all; just a mother, just a grandmother (oh and just a stepmother too) who believes strongly that parents/guardians must understand they have responsibilities to educate and protect their children; to equip them with information; age and ability appropriate of course; regarding these serious issues because it is clear to anyone with an IQ higher than room temperature that these 10-year-old kids, (the boys who put the pressure on and girls who feel pressured) do not know, nor do they understand, the clear implications of their actions.
Let me say it loud and clear kids because someone needs to tell you…you are NOT competing in a marathon to lose your virginity!!!
We must strike a healthy balance with our kids whom, I have to say, are maturing much more quickly these days, meaning at age ten, they should have a balance of what is clearly right and what is clearly wrong, and as our parental role changes (not diminishes) during this stage, these 10-year-olds will start to form their own opinions about the world and their immediate surroundings. So this is my suggestion to those parents whose young sons are allegedly putting pressure on these little girls…act now; when teaching your son about sex and sexuality, why not impress upon him the clear advantages of respecting, not pressurising, little girls into having sexual intercourse? Just a thought!
And, for those parents who think it’s ‘cute’ to pop an unhealthy, provocative slogan on their infant daughter or who dress them in padded bikinis; get a clue. Teach them self-respect and, er, also, to play hard to get; and substitute that sleazy slogan with an image of Wonder Woman or Super Girl, or some other strong female character they can look up to and emulate, and imbue in them a sense of self-esteem, self-identity, self-importance and self-control, because to do otherwise is simply poor parenting on your part.
* If you need support/advice then Freephone ISPCC on 1800 666666 or text ‘talk’ to 50101.