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Hi. I'm 13 and in the 8th grade. I was on here to see what exactly parents think about and I've seen a lot of threads and talk about children growing up too fast. I thought I'd give my point of view here to show you why some people are growing up fast.
So, I know that you've probably had your kid say to you "But mom, everyone else has this", "But mom, everyone else is wearing this" etc. etc. And you most likely don't care what other children are doing. At least my mom doesn't. If I say, "But mom, everyone goes to the beach without adults" she'll respond with "I don't care what other people do". Or if your kid or teen or whatever says that everyone is wearing skinny jeans and you'd rather they not, you might tell them they can be different.
You think it's that easy. If only. You wouldn't believe the comments I've heard from fellow students, about people brave enough to stand out. It's brutal. I'd much rather follow the crowd and have friends and be respected, than be "unique" and have people basically shun me. People who wear the knee high striped socks, or the weird hair ornaments, or the baggy fitting pants, do they have very many friends? No. That sounds harsh, but everyone in middle school judges you right away based on how you're dressed, how you act. Nothing is based on your character. So why do so many young girls want to dress older and wear makeup? Because it's cool, and considered the normal thing.
On to my main point, many of the 'normal' things are considered by adults to be a bit old for our age, or unnecessary. And they are. I know what I'm doing. I know I'm growing up too fast. But I do it because that's whats cool. And that's what's running through a lot of teen's minds. Teens are obsessed with seeming older. Being in relationships, smoking, dressing more provocatively. Let me tell you, I've been offered weed. I've been asked to send nude pictures. I've been sexually harassed by guys in the hallways. It's becoming more and more common for things you never thought could happen at this age to happen.
I wear push up bras. I'm self conscious without makeup on. I wear certain things because it's cool. I straighten my hair and paint my nails and spend hours trying to fix myself instead of just accepting who I am and being natural. I pluck my eyebrows and try nonsense acne treatments and even do weird things like shave my toes because I feel they're too hairy. I don't do it for me, I do it for others to project this image of this person that I'm not. And you cannot simply say to be yourself. Because it's harder than that.
I am sorry you are having a hard time at school. Believe it or not, most parents have been there, done that, got the tshirt, which is probably why we play the "be yourself" and "I don't care what other people do" cards. There's a saying, "hindsight is 20/20" which means that when you look back on something, you generally have a clearer perspective on it than when you are in it.
If you are being sexually harassed you need to take it up with your teachers, that is not okay and someone needs to do something about it. There is no excuse for anyone to be sexually harassing anyone, ever.