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Little Girls and Heels

Many mothers wish for a baby girl to dress up pretty. Many little girls want to be a princess. Being a princess entails dressing up and wearing a tiara, a pretty dress and high heel shoes. Each one of us has secretly or otherwise modelled in our mom’s high heel shoes although sometimes a number of sizes bigger than our actual feet.

Do you recall when you got your first pair of heels? I couldn’t wait to own my first pair of heels. It didn’t come as quickly as I wanted it though, because my mom refused to allow me to “grow up” before my time. Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, who I’m sure are crazy about their precious daughter Suri, may be unaware of the unintended consequences of their footwear choices for her. She’s known at only 3 to already play dress up on an almost permanent basis! She is often seen in photos with her heels, looking quite comfortable but is it really appropriate…it may even pose health issues down the road. Not to be forgotten are the little divas of TLC reality show, Toddlers and Tiaras; these little beauty contestants strut their stuff in high heels complete with make-up, weave and fake lashes.

Who’s Responsible?

Definitely not the tiny tots, tweens or teens! Clearly they don’t work anywhere, so it can only be the parents. Why set such a dangerous precedent from such a tender age? We are creatures of our environment, and once (as I did), we grew up seeing our moms’ constantly in heels, we became socialised that it was the only way to look professional or sexy as the case might be.

There are many young teenagers walking around in heels. Now I’m not talking about them wearing it on an occasion like being a bridesmaid at a wedding or such. I’m talking about at church every Sunday or to the average social outing with parents or friends. Why is this trend being encouraged? Let girls be girls! Unassuming/innocent girls, allow them to have the best possible opportunity to be childlike. Placing them in these heels and make-up is like placing them in the hands of predators. Too many young girls have fallen prey, and it would be in a number of cases the type of wear and footwear worn.

Possible Outcomes

It’s important to note that the child’s foot at this point is in its developmental stage, meaning that their muscles, ligaments and tendons are not yet fully developed. Hence, heels can lead to serious bio-mechanical problems as they get older. The “dress-up” concept can lead to potentially dangerous health problems in the long run, possibly having negative effects on their posture and weight bearing. With heels, the weight is generally unevenly distributed, sometimes leading to a number of problems such as metatarsalgia (ball of the foot pains), heel pains or in extreme cases plantar fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis is an inflamed condition of the thick connective tissue (a ligament) called the “plantar fascia” that supports the arch of your foot. Strain and stress to this band of fibrous tissue can be caused by sudden changes in weight bearing motions.

What are the Alternatives?

Get me, there isn’t anything wrong with a little girl wanting to be a diva. I’ve got three 2-year old cousins who all are; but it can be done with pretty flat sandals, slippers, sneakers or shoes without heels.

Extremely high heels look positively ridiculous on a girl under the age of 17. If your teen wants a taller heel, consider a chunky wedge in a style fitting for a younger girl, and not a 6 inch stiletto that is now the rage among celebs. You can find a cool shoe meant for a young girl without resorting to adult footwear.

Teens often succumb to peer pressure when it comes to dressing; so start to instil in her early that what matters, is what looks good and appropriate on her. It’s not about particular brands, the latest trends, or what everyone else is doing. As a parent, you want to help your daughter to fit in and develop a strong sense of confidence. And you can certainly do this without turning her into a granny (unstylish look). Find a happy medium and allow your daughter to develop her own sense of style with some boundaries you can all live with.

Your daughter doesn’t need to dress like you do, and her own fashion sense should be encouraged. If she’s into bright colours or prints, by all means let her wear it. Even if you don’t particularly care for the look, don’t stifle her fun as long as she’s being respectful / dressing appropriately. Let her know that plunging necklines, heavy make-up and spiky heels are a no-no; but give her some leeway to be creative with a look of her own.

Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!

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