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Do some kids just grow up too fast?

Our society makes our kids grow up too fast. The influences from, and exposures to, television, music, violence, marketing, technology, peers, second hand parent stress, and so on have pushed our children too hard and certainly too fast. They are forced to endure imagery and real life that was previously kept hidden from view.

Who's to say that even the steamy 'romancing' that goes on in the soaps isn't having a negative effect on toddlers. The marketing mega-machines are molding your kids faster than you could even attempt, and the nightly news is providing them all with a certain indifference to violence.

A recent study in the U.S. indicated that children watch on average about one and a half hours of television a day. I'm surprised it isn't higher than that, but I guess we should be thankful for those parents managing to keep the average down. At one and half hours, we can easily estimate that at least twenty minutes of that is commercials. Before commenting about the show selections themselves, one has to be concerned that these advertising intruders are getting your child's attention with little regard for any adverse effects.

Other studies point to rising obesity and lack of muscle tone as being directly attributed to sedentary life styles and fast foods. In general, the conveniences that we all love so well are exactly what's hurting us and our children. And we can all live longer now due to medical advancements, causing us to endure our muscle aches and pains for more years than previous generations.

But I digress. I see kids displaying more violent tendencies and being unable to just relax and have fun. Perhaps their parents are not presenting the best examples when it comes to having fun. When was the last time you sat on the grass rather than in a chair? Rode a bike instead of driving to the store? Play wrestled with your son? Laughed out loud at slap stick humour? Had a thumb war?

To not grow up too fast means not taking things so seriously. Not being driven by a strict time table. Not allowing yourself and your children to be consumed by schedules and stress. And most of all, to remember to be driven by your own desires rather than follow the hype that surrounds us.

Parents must make an effort to counter the outside world. To have kids focus on nature, wholesome play, family, friends and, yes, even short stories. The best we can hope to do is stall the inevitable, because unless the world can pull a 180 on violence in schools, gun controls, advertising to kids, road rage, fast foods and responsible programming, to name a few, ours is a losing battle. Be playful yourself, and maybe it will help them not to grow up too fast.

Any comments?

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