Last summer, my husband fell into the habit of bringing trashy celebrity rags home from his work trips. We’d skim through them, play the who-had-Botox game, and invariably we’d throw them onto the coffee table pile. Call me clueless, but I never imagined that US Weekly would turn the head of my then six year old. She would pore over every image with an alarming intensity, asking questions about people’s hair color choices or why they wear so much makeup. We were a little ashamed of ourselves, and my husband started throwing them directly into the recycling bin before our daughter could see them. Now we know not to leave GQ with the controversial Glee cover on the kitchen table, so we’re not entirely out-to-lunch, but it never even occur to me to hide Vogue. When she saw the September issue, she pored over every page. I know this is a child who is preternaturally aware of fashion, but I still don’t feel entirely comfortable with her reading women’s fashion magazines. Am I being overprotective, or am I simply compensating for previously having under-parented?


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Comments (8)


  1. Posted by: Julia


    I REALLY don’t want to sound like a know all because I don’t know a thing, but you sound a little worried and I thought a little perspective might help (or not)… but… don’t think she’s planning on imitate trashy celebrities or flamboyant fashion just because she’s fascinated by it. She might just be discovering lifestyles other than the ones she’s familiar with, and that’s it.

    If she refuses to leave the house without a load of make up or if she asks for a designer handbag for her next birthday then hiding the mags would be a good idea, but, really, is that the case?

  2. Posted by: Jill

    I don’t think you are ‘underparenting’.
    I think that our awareness as parents grows everyday with our children. Holding standard of perfection isn’t going to help either you or your child. Conversation about peoples’ choices and the free will to make them will help, however!

  3. Posted by: Deborah

    Hi all — Here are my thoughts, speaking as the mom of a seven-year-old boy who will pick up and read anything… The world is out there — your daughter is going to find it in all it’s scary crazy glory eventually… so maybe take her fascination as an opportunity to look through the magazines together and talk through the things that concern you. If you’re there to help her understand what she’s seeing (and to encourage a bit of crtitical reading), she’ll be ok… Good luck!

  4. Posted by: Laurie

    I may not know anything either, especially considering the fact that I have two sons! I have been told by friends with daughters though, that the body image issues, comparing one’s self to peers as well as supermodels based solely on looks, etc. starts REALLY early. I’ve also read that studies show that the home environment and parent involvement can has a HUGE impact on girls’ ability to be able to look beyond this superficiality and develop their own sense of self-esteem/self-worth. Bullying problems are actually strongest in GIRLS in late elementary/middle school because of the girls who are competitive about who has the first LV handbag, what kind of clothes they’re wearing, etc. I would ere on the side of NOT encouraging this at home by not having these images around. Although you and your hubby seem to have a healthy attitude in regards to knowing these images are just “images”, kids do not. That’s my $0.02 worth! :) Good luck!

  5. Posted by: Angela

    I think the fact that you are asking these questions and are aware means you are aware of how your daughter is processing what she’s seeing. Thats the hardest part just being aware.
    Children will eventually see what’s out there. What I worry about with my 3 year old who is also very into fashion at a very young age, is that the magazines show such perfection. It isn’t even attainable by the very models without the hair, make-up, lighting and crew involved in making the mirage.

    A kinda funny story. I asked my daughter to pose for a picture one day. She was 2 at the time. And she did a full on pose. Hand on hip, hip out to one side and head with a tilt. I said to my husband “where did she get this from”. And total deadpan he says “from the W magazines we leave in the bathroom. The magazine is as big as she is. Tough to miss.”.

    Needless to say, I’m worried right there with ya..

  6. Posted by: andrea

    As the mother of a 13 year old, who sometimes seems like she is going on 30… I have to say, I feel it is very important to be aware of the kinds of images your child is processing. It is equally important to not be overly controlling. That being said, there will come a time when they (SADLY) be come obsessed with someone like Justin Bieber or any celebrity for that matter. They will plaster there once beautiful and stylish room with posters of said person and you will just have to go with it. (because you know you did it too). I have found that it is best not to sweat the small things ( like the hideous posters or the over the top makeup ) and to use those moments when they are looking at a trashy magazine to have a non confrontational conversation about why that lady does look like a wild animal or what message she is sending out by wearing all that makeup. I am mellow but not completely clueless or lenient by any means. I know when to lay down the law and when to give a little on my side. Our kids are bombarded on a day to day basis with all kind s of images and messages. I think it is harder to be a kid now than ever before. Once they are out of the house more and maneuvering the city alone as mine is (SCARY) you can only hope that all your work and your ethics and your subtle messages have sunk in… even if they are crazy about Justin Bieber!

  7. Posted by: Julia

    Alright, alright…. baby M is 7 months and so unaware of those things. I know that try as I might her innocence won’t last long, so I’m enjoying this magical time of her life (and mine too!) when the shampoo bottle and my keys seem to be the unattainable goals.

    So sweet :-)

  8. Posted by: Julia

    dang, I meant to say 7 months OLD but forgot to type part of it…

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