Growing up is something that is so rushed these days. Kids are no longer taking their time to age, and are trying to throw themselves into adulthood. This to me is so sad, instead of having a childhood they are trying their hardest to skip the fun and goofiness of being kids and jump into the seriousness of being older. Being older sucks, it includes a lot of pain, responsibility, heartbreak, and pressure. On us adults, sometimes the stress we feel is detrimental to our mental health and kids don't even know how to handle it.

So much of the influence on kids these day is directly from social media. They want to look, dress, and act like their role models on instagram, and almost all of the time it is not age appropriate. If it was up to me, kids wouldn't have cell phones and iPads, they would go back to the days of outdoor fun, or reading a book. This might make me sound old fashioned, but that is where I learned a lot of my life lessons. That is where I learned to share, I learned that when I fell down playing kickball I got right back up, I learned that I wasn't always going to win playing capture the flag, and that when the streetlights turned on it was time to go inside. I lived in a neighborhood with multiple children in every house, we were such a close knit family and for that I am so thankful. I grew up in a time where social interaction between people was the norm, and bullying was much less prevalent, its a lot harder to be a bully when you are face to face with a person and not hiding behind a computer screen!

Another huge issue that makes kids grow up faster is the type of clothing and makeup parents are allowing. I know this is because kids are all doing it and if you stop your child from dressing that way she would be an outcast, SO LET'S ALL STOP TOGETHER. A child should not be wearing any type of clothing that reveals so much of their body it makes adults uncomfortable. I will be 100 percent honest when I say looking at halloween pictures, or many of the pictures of kids from ACL where they were surrounded by drunk men with their body completely exposed, that makes me uncomfortable. I was flipping through halloween pictures of someone I used to coach, she was in HIGH SCHOOL and her parents let her dress as a Victoria's secret angel. This child was wearing an open robe with a bra and underwear.. The argument, "what is the difference between a bra and underwear and a bathing suit." You tell me.. Why do adults buy lingerie when they could just wear a bathing suit in the bedroom.. because one is more intimate and sexual than the other.

As influences to children I think it is our responsibility to lead them back to childhood. Make them play outside before they can access their social media. Pay closer attention to what they are doing on social media. I was appalled when I went on to an app called musically and the kids had curse words in about every single one they were singing and dancing acting out works like the "p" word or the "f" word. And lastly tell them no, if they want to wear something that you would be uncomfortable with them wearing around grown men then make them change, because grown men will be walking the same streets they do. I understand that influencing children is way harder in the age of the iPhone 7 but it is so important to let them live and learn through their years as children and not allow them throw themselves into adulthood.