Article in Brief: The author writes about the risks of instilling superficiality in children by encouraging them to indulge in spa treats and designer outfits.
Back in the day, children would run around in the sand, play ball, and have tea parties with their dolls. For today’s children, this is apparently something outdated. We now have spas for children to get pampered and be “stress-free” and relaxed. Imagine my surprise when I was searching for children’s play areas in Dubai, and I came across a spa menu with massages, facials, and mani/pedis for them instead. I found a spa dedicated for children with options such as “Posh Pampering Package” for the “VIP”. You can now even throw a spa party for your child to enjoy with their friends on birthdays.
Another phenomenon is the increase in babies and children’s accounts or pages on social media by their parents or families. It is understandable if people do so to keep account of their children’s growth and share this with their friends and family. However, there are others who proudly post photos of their children dressed like adults, and girls carrying designer bags and being labelled as young divas. With this trend, it seems as though children are being used as an accessory to boost people’s superficial need for public attention. In today’s world of selfies and social acceptance, are people using their kids for self-gratification?
By placing so much importance on looks and designer outfits, these stylish children are being raised to be superficial and materialistic, while we should be teaching them the real values in life. The danger arises when such actions become so normal that others feel the need to choose between either following this trend or being left behind. My daughter turns two this month and I already have people around me telling me to buy her a purse, or asking why I don’t accessorize her outfit with jewelry. My answer is that she is just a toddler and doesn’t need a purse or jewelry hanging in her way as she runs around and climbs things, as she should be doing at this age.
Children learn through what they see, and it is natural that little girls would mimic their mothers as they dress up or wear make up to go out. They will be exposed to this and playing dress up at home is completely fine and can even encourage creativity. My daughter notices my lipstick or nail polish and likes wearing my shoes, but I still dress her at a befitting age, and try to focus on giving her space for creative play, story-telling, and other things that children should be doing instead.
An occasional salon visit with mom may not be so harmful, but placing too much focus on appearance and public display can bring about self-esteem issues in the future for these little children. Making spa rituals a part of their life at such a young age can only take away from their childhood. Children shouldn’t be thinking about being accepted on social media and worried about how many “likes” they can get.
Children should be allowed to let loose, run wild, and get dirty. Dubai’s summers may be too hot to go outside, but there are enough indoor play areas available that provide your children with creativity, fun, and free play, without having to resort to taking them to spas. These children will eventually grow up and will have to face the responsibilities of life, so in the meantime, why can’t we just let our kids be kids? There is no need to rush our children to become adults, when they can use this time in their lives to hop, skip, and make a mess of things, while they still can.
- Shuchita Kapur (February 4, 2013). “Dubai bling: Spa Parties For Little Girls “In” Thing”. Emirates 24/7. Retrieved 4 August 2015. http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/dubai-bling-spa-parties-for-little-girls-in-thing-2013-02-04-1.493639
- Kareem Shaheen (February 5, 2010). “ Beauty Spa for Tots Takes Off”. The National. Retrieved 4 August 2015. http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/beauty-spa-for-tots-takes-off#page1
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.