More and more young girls are being allowed to dress provocatively and wear make-up by parents who don’t know right from wrong, warns a leading headmistress.
Letting the youngsters dress up in ‘mini-me’ sexy clothing is a sign of our society’s eroded moral values, Dr Helen Wright will say today.
Treating girls in this way is ‘intensely wrong’, according to Dr Wright, head of the Girls’ Schools Association.
But she will point out that mothers and fathers are not solely to blame for the sexualisation of their daughters.
And, because they have been failed by a poor education, lacking in the teaching of moral standards, they are unable to see that it is wrong.
Furthermore she will say many parents, who themselves have no respect for their elders, have ‘no idea’ how to bring up their own children.
The comments come just weeks after Sir Michael Wilshaw, incoming head of Ofsted, warned that schools were being forced to act as ‘surrogate families’ to some children because mothers and fathers lacked parenting skills.
Ministers have announced parenting classes for around 50,000 next year as part of a trial scheme.
Families in Middlesbrough, Camden and the High Peak in Derbyshire will be given tuition in areas such as communication and listening skills, managing conflict, discipline and setting boundaries.
Dr Wright will tell delegates at the GSA conference in Bristol today: ‘There are all these images in magazines and TV – if you’re bombarded with that, you’re going to think it’s normal, and actually it’s not. It’s becoming twisted.
'Some parents have been so deprived in their own lives of education and values that they no longer know right from wrong, and that they are, as a result, unwittingly 'indulging' children in some parallel universe where it is acceptable to let young children wear make-up and provocative clothing.
'If parents can’t see anything wrong in dressing up their children in 'Future WAG' T-shirts and letting them wear make-up, high heels and 'mini-me' sexy clothing, then something is intensely wrong in our society.
'I have no doubt that these are the parents who have been failed by the education system themselves. They have grown up without any respect for their elders or any idea of how to bring up a child.’
Yesterday Dr Wright said she was not suggesting that mothers and fathers needed parenting classes but said schools had a key role to play in providing support.
The GSA launched its own website – My Daughter – to provide information and advice on all aspects of educating and raising girls.
'We need to take away the stigma for parents that they have to know everything,’ she said. ‘I think there’s lots of good advice out there, but people are afraid to be seen to be taking it.’
On Saturday, Dr Wright, head of private boarding school St Mary’s Calne in Wiltshire, warned that TV talent shows, such as The X Factor, damage children by glamorising bullying and arrogance.