A friend of mine recently confessed that her daughter asked for a brazilian wax because boys won't go out with girls unless they have them.
She also refuses to wear anything other than a g-string.
She is 14.
Most 10-year-olds have also already seen a porn film online and for many it's their first interaction with sex and so they think it's a reality.
The UK education heads have recently publicly discussed the merits of teaching children more than the sex basics. Should for instance teachers talk about porn vs a healthy couple relationship?
But is the responsibility of schools to confront such personal topics?
It is also very difficult for parents to know how to tackle the thorny intimacy issue often resulting in 'denial' or 'dictatorship'. A local spa in leafy suburban France said most mums don't care what their underage daughters do, giving them ultimate freedom. But if there are no boundaries will girls then think long like a porn star is the norm? The opposite route is to overprotect and forbid all negatives influences, Facebook, the web, dating but at school it is hard to enforce it when boys in the playground are flashing around naked women on their phones.
Parents teachers and guardians of children need to guide and not interfere, explain not dictate. It is perhaps the role of us PANKS and PUNKS (professional aunties and uncles with no kids recently featured in the Sunday Times) to be available for our nieces and nephews, to leave the door open for any embarrassing questions they might have and to offer them balanced advice.
Sadly it all comes down to the same old perennial theme of self-esteem. Teens feel they have to be waxed like glamour models to be beautiful and the innocent ones who don't are therefore ugly and teased mercilessly.
If parents want to change the status quo they need to call for a stop to excessive narcissism and image obsession in the media.
It is high time that the beauty and fashion houses undertake a moratorium on the extremes of their world, airbrushing, size eight obsession and general flawlessness. Incidentally the other 'cool' trend is for girls to have a gap in between their thighs like the models do, otherwise they are fat.
Celebs and popstars, and they shall remain nameless, also owe it to their fans to set a good example, rather than looking impossibly perfect, oversexualising themselves and displaying unhealthy attitudes to relationships/men.
Kids are growing up faster than ever and we cannot control what they are exposed to in the big bad world. But we can influence their reaction to it, make them strong enough to say no, happy enough to not care what others think and self confident enough that they like who they are, with or without make up, waxes and g-strings.
Youth had been said to be wasted on the young. Youth is in truth becoming today a rare commodity, squeezed more and more between child and adulthood. Teenage years should be full of sweet nothings, first kisses, romantic dreams, self discovery and adventure but all within an atmosphere of safety and protection. Innocence is a precious commodity and these days it is forgotten, or even worse, ridiculed.
If teens join us adults too fast will it engender an ennui at 20? A midlife crisis at 30? And who knows what after?
As Aristotle said good habits formed at youth make all the difference.
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