My 11-year-old girl wears adult-sized clothes and it's almost impossible to find clothes suitable for her age.
When I try to shop in the teen section the skirts are tiny, the shorts are way too short, the jeans are super tight and the tops barely cover her belly-button. I also refuse to put my primary school child in a t-shirt that says 'Juicy' or 'Ripe'.
And when I attempt to get her clothes from the adult section – she complains they are 'too senior' which is fair enough. Nobody wants to wear the same clothes their mum wears.
Even finding shoes is tricky and super expensive, as she no longer fits kid's sizes and the thought of her teetering around in heeled boots and platform sneakers is ridiculous.
How is she expected to run and climb and be a kid, if she's dressed in a mini and heels?
The problem lies with the department stores and chain outlets as they have neatly characterised girls into baby, kid, pre-teen, teen and women.
Then they've sized everything very small, effectively ensuring girls get thrust from one group to the other before they're ready.
She can barely squeeze into a kid's size 16 as she is way too tall and has hips, so now she's expected to dress like a teenager, before her time.
It's assumed that if you are a larger size you are immediately older and should wear skimpier clothes. Clothes retailers have decided that if you are a girl you don't run around, you pose.
Girls' bodies are changing. They are developing earlier and the clothes industry isn't catching up.
It also isn't evolving with the times and understanding that women come in all different shapes and sizes and perhaps not all of them want to be 'on display' regardless of their age. The days of over sexualising girls is over.
In the meantime, I trawl online sites and shops for affordable, age appropriate clothes for my child. Leggings, tracksuits, boyfriend jeans, long jumpers, baggy t-shirts and long dresses, are on high rotation.
I'm not a prude, but I'm also acutely aware that young girls should not be forced to dress like women. They should not be seen as sexy. An 11-year-old should not be wearing a mini skirt and crop top.
She also doesn't want to look like a sack potato without any of her own style. She still wants to wear whimsical tops with cats and unicorns on them. She still wants to wear cute skirts and pants with stars and lollipop stripes, but they don't exist for kids who have outgrown the kid's sizes.
It's just another way our girls are being forced to grow up earlier than they should.
Hopefully, clothes retailers will start to take note and provide a wider size selection for kids so they can still be young at heart, regardless of their body shape.