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Are Kids Still Experiencing Awkward ‘Preteen’ Years?

Has the phase between child and teen become blurred?

Every year it seems like the category of ‘preteen’ or ‘tween’ is getting blurred more and more. Teen life has been changing to the point it seems like the preteen phase has become less noticeable or almost completely vanished.

This was brought to many people’s attention when a girl named Kate Maries posted a TikTok video saying, “I spent my whole childhood begging my mom to buy me overpriced Justice Clothes” and we now see that Justice clothing is being sold for cheap at Walmart. The video has 304.8k likes and 2 million views, and many comments discussing the matter. The comments agreed that it’s because kids are acting more “grown-up”. An account named Jules_rules58 said, “I looked it up and the company went bankrupt in January this year. [Probably] due to outdated trends, but also the fact that tweens dress more maturely now…” Could this be a sign that the preteen phrase isn’t a thing anymore? Even Sandy’s local Justice store has closed down!

Kids are being forced to grow up nowadays, you go from child to adult. Parents are throwing more and more on kids. Psychologically they have to mature faster.”

— Andrew Farnworth

Mr. Farnworth, the Psychology teacher at Alta, had a lot of input on the subject. He said, “Kids are being forced to grow up nowadays, you go from child to adult. Parents are throwing more and more on kids. Psychologically they have to mature faster.” Mr. Farnworth also explained that some kids’ minds mature faster depending on their life experiences. Life experiences can morph your frontal and parietal lobe, causing a child to mature faster or at a different rate than their peers. When asked if he thinks the problem will get better in the future he said it’ll get worse before it gets better.

Some prominent dangers of growing up too fast are depression and anxiety. Social Media in all forms seems to pressure kids to act, look and be mature. This can have a significantly negative impact on children’s mental health. Maturity, in this sense, does have some benefits like being educationally advanced which in turn gives great opportunities in the future but at what cost? Children are missing out on their childhood by being forced to grow up too quickly by the world.

This push to become mature is dangerous because 10 to 13-year-olds are trying to become involved and push mature ideas while they have immature minds, making their solutions all the more extreme for situations. They are parroting extreme ideas they shouldn’t even be worried about at that age. When asked for a solution, Mr. Farnworth stated he, “wants to teach students how to think, not what to think.” 

Sadly this problem doesn’t seem like it will be solved any time soon, considering Social Media is becoming bigger and bigger. However, parents have the ability to help encourage their kids to maintain their childhood and relish in their ‘preteen phase since it is vital to development. Parents can try their hardest to keep kids away from adult stressors and topics. Children deserve to be children.

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