Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Tartan

Going through puberty should be kept private

Cassidy Lawson

Email:clawson30@radford.edu

I’m sure all of us at some point in our lives have had a parent say, “Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday you were just a baby.” Well, nowadays parents may be saying that a lot sooner than expected.

Laila, a seven-year-old, has recently been the subject of news stories and articles because of her heightened development. She has grown fast her entire life, but just recently started to grow taller than her classmates and develop breasts. Her parents, were of course concerned because of their daughter’s unusual puberty level. But Laila isn’t the only one growing up too fast.

Studies show that 15 percent of seven-year-olds are going into puberty and in the past 30 years childhood has shortened by a year and a half. So why is America’s youth growing up so fast?

The two main theories are obesity and chemicals as 30 percent of youth has classified as obese. This is a direct correlation to early puberty.
Also, chemicals called EDC’s or endocrine-disrupting chemicals could be another cause. In addition to Laila, a 12-year old, Cheyenne Sturm, is also experiencing early puberty. During a video interview with Cheyenne and her parents her mother discusses how puberty is a tough time because of all the new changes and hormones. However, Cheyenne quickly interjected with “I don’t see it, I don’t feel it, I don’t worry about it.”
I think it’s a shame that her parents are making such a big deal out of this. It’s obvious that all this media attention is stressful to her situation and it certainly isn’t helping their daughter. Keep in mind, stress is another factor to why puberty may occur early. I can see why her parents may be concerned as to why their daughter is developing earlier than they did, but it’s a totally different world for this generation.

To be honest, I hit puberty early, but my mom didn’t make a big deal out of it. She knew that she had me in a time where kids are growing up faster than ever. Hence, there was a possibility I could get my period and start developing earlier than her. My question is, if certain parents are so concerned about children keeping their innocence longer, then why don’t they try to contribute by being better parents?

I can’t even count how many times I have witnessed an elementary school student repeating inappropriate things they heard on the television, through music or from their parents. Why do some parents give children smartphones before they’re in high school, and then get surprised when their children aren’t acting like children anymore?

Peter Pan won’t be coming  through our windows at night to take children to Neverland, and childhood isn’t something each individual can decide to stop. That is why I feel bad for this girl.

When you watch videos of her and her parents, you can tell she feels embarrassed, awkward and bored. I think her parents just need to accept that every person is different, which means everybody is going to develop differently, even Laila.

I understand this family doesn’t want their daughter exposed to things above her age level, but how is plastering her face and story on the news, television and Internet going to help her stay a child longer?