Betsy Hart

Hello. We adults are supposed to be protecting our kids, not serving them up. But we are hyper-sexualizing them at ever younger ages in a way that does just that.

I have four children, a son and three daughters. And the oldest are bumping up against the teen years. Look, I love the Internet, and there's a lot I like about community Web sites, used rightly. I'm already encouraging my kids to find their own clothing style even when it's different than mine.

More to the point, I also encourage them to find value in who they are, and to enjoy their minds, and their accomplishments, and to appreciate and respect their bodies. So I hate the gratuitous sexualization of our kids. It's not because I'm a prude. Just the opposite. I hate it because that's not good enough for our kids in any sense. They were designed for so much more.

I'm actually all allowing kids to discover themselves. But that should come within our guidance and protection. And that means the adults in our children's lives need to behave like, well, grown-ups.

Betsy Hart

Betsy Hart is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service. Her column on cultural and family issues, “From the Hart,” is distributed each week to hundreds of newspapers cross the country. Betsy’s first book, "It Takes a Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parenting is Hurting out Kids – and What to do About It," was released in September, 2005, and was a top seller for its publisher, Putnam Books.