poproxy360 asks: I am scared of growing up and losing my childhood forever. I am not in puberty yet and I don’t have breasts yet either, but I am ten and scared of growing up. What should I do?
Hi poproxy360 –
What you’re asking is as normal as my wanting to chase squirrels! Almost all pre-teens have this fear, though few admit it. So good for you, for your honesty and openness!
You say that you’re scared of growing up. Yet I’ll bet that when you were three years old, you wanted nothing more than to do just that. And probably when you were six. And maybe even when you were nine.
What’s happened is that you’ve suddenly realized that the next stage of growing up isn’t just being a little bigger and stronger and faster, and being able to do a few more things at school. You’re looking straight at the biggest change to happen to your life since you learned to walk and talk! And, unlike walking and talking, this change is going to happen without your control! Your body is going to change shape – and you don’t know exactly what shape it’ll have. And you don’t know exactly when those changes will occur. And when your body does change, people will start to treat you differently – and sometimes you might like the way they treat you, and sometimes you might not. But again, you won’t be in control of it. And so, yes, that is downright SCARY!
And you know something else? It’s downright wonderful, too. Because you’ll find, over time, that all you’re about to gain is power.
Think about it – if today you decided you wanted to have a baby, you couldn’t do it, right? But a few years from now, your body will have the power to. If today you had a crush on a teenager, you wouldn’t have the looks to draw their attention to you. But a few years from now, you will.
And it’s way more than just those. In a few years you might be legal to drive, or to vote. You’ll be able to choose what classes you want to take if you stay in school, or what career to follow if you work. Your family, who today tell you when to go to bed, and what to eat, and who you can play with, will give all those rights over to you. This is all so exciting… and scary!
What’s great about the way you’re feeling is that, unlike lots of teenagers, you’re hesitant. So you’re very unlikely to jump into teenage-hood without thinking about what you’re doing. You’re going to let things take more time. Maybe next year, you’ll see a boy at school looking at you in a way you’ve never been looked at before. Well, if so, you could get all thrilled because you’re finding out you’re attractive, and go chase him and let him kiss you and all that… or you could see how he’s looking at you, enjoy the compliment, and go about your way, knowing you don’t have to do anything about it.
People (especially other teenagers) are always telling teenagers what they have to do. That if they don’t wear these clothes or go to that party, or smoke this or drink that, they’re not cool or real. These are all lies. You have the right to act as young as you wish, to dress as you wish, to play as you wish. And if you do, you’ll also find that, over time, you actually want to start enjoying the changes that have come upon you. And that’s great too.
I have what might sound like a funny recommendation for you. Have you ever seen the Disney cartoon movie The Jungle Book? It’s about a boy who’s grown up in one world and is being told he’s growing too old for it and has to move into another, where everyone says he “belongs.” It’s funny and bright (and has some GREAT songs!), and I think you’ll relate to it a lot.
So be like Mowgli. Hang out with Balloo, and don’t let Bagheera and the others tell you how you have to live. And, when the time is right, they will learn to trust you to make the right choices for yourself.
And meanwhile, while you’re still a kid, just know that we dogs find you FAR more interesting playmates than those teenagers out there! After all, you don’t care at all when we mess your clothes up!
All my best,