Comment from The Homeopathic College: In this article, we will highlight the obvious symptoms of the Cancer Diathesis, or Predisposition to Cancer. (See our comments in blue)
She’s got two tattoos, body piercings, drinks alcohol and sleeps with boys (and the middle-class mother who allows it all to happen)
By Rachel Porter
Last updated at 9:26 AM on 19th November 2010
From her rock-chick black hair, with its green and blonde streaks, to her Doc Marten boots, nine body-piercings, a faceful of permanent make-up and two tattoos, there is little about Sophie Watson’s appearance to suggest her true age.
But, aside from her disturbingly adult appearance, it is the conversation that really makes the jaw drop.
Ask Sophie about her social life and she’ll tell you that she drinks and parties with Mum’s blessing. Ask about her sex life and there are no mortified blushes. Instead, she’ll tell you — again, in the presence of her mother — that she’s slept with four boys in just six months.
‘But I was either seeing them or in a relationship with them. It wasn’t a case of a pick-up here and a pick-up there,’ she says, with utter nonchalance.
Indeed, her boyfriends have all been welcome to spend the night in her room, under her mother’s roof.
‘As long as I haven’t got anything to get up early for the next day,’ says Sophie.
So how old do you think Sophie might be? Eighteen, perhaps? A rebellious 17?
No, she is just 14 years old — an age at which she should still be gossiping with friends in the playground, not sleeping with boyfriends and spending pocket money on piercings and tattoos.
But then, unlike most ordinary 14-year-olds, Sophie doesn’t even have to go to school.
Since May, when she declared that she was ‘sick and tired’ of getting up for lessons every day, Sophie has been home-educated by her mum Joy, 39, who somehow squeezes in tutorials around Sophie’s regular evening gigs as a singer on the local pub circuit and her own full-time job, training beauty therapists in the art of hair, nails and massage.
It is, by Joy’s own admission, an unconventional way to raise a child. But, of course, in her eyes Sophie is not like other 14-year-olds. Joy believes that her daughter is an ‘exceptionally bright’ girl, who is going to take the music world by storm — and does not need the normal boundaries parents set for their children.[LACK OF BOUNDARIES BY MOM AND DAUGHTER]
‘Sophie just needs to get her education done, so she can focus on other things,’ explains Joy, who is a former a teacher. ‘Sophie wanted to fit more into her days, so she could learn faster and get her career on track. She’s not a drop-out. She’s the opposite, really.’
But, so far, there is little evidence to suggest that the new arrangement has given Sophie the freedom to streak ahead of her old school friends, as planned.
While they are now well on the way to GCSE level, Sophie and Joy haven’t yet decided whether Sophie will take any exams at all in the next two years.
Having the flexibility to let your ‘gifted’ child reach the age of 16 without a single qualification is apparently one of the freedoms of home-schooling.
So, what sort of mother would — and could — allow her child such a jaw-dropping lack of discipline? How does Joy possibly justify the way she is raising her daughter?
‘I know there are many people who may disagree with my parenting style, but I honestly believe I’m doing the best I can,’ says Joy, 39. [LACK OF DISCERNMENT, INABILITY TO SET BOUNDARIES AND ENFORCE RULES ON MOTHER’S PART. IT’S EASIER FOR HER TO NOT GIVE MORE GUIDANCE AND NOT PUT UP A FIGHT DUE TO HER OWN INHERENT WEAKNESS ]
‘Yes, I’m liberal with Sophie, but we’re also very honest. There are a lot of teenage girls going through similar things and, as far as I’m concerned, I’d rather know what my daughter was up to.
‘I may not like the fact she sleeps with boys, but I’d rather know she was doing it safely and under my roof rather than goodness knows where.’
But, spending time with Sophie, it’s hard not to see this little tattooed girl as a tragic consequence of modern parenting.
For, while allowing your teenage child a little freedom is one thing, most mothers would shudder to think of a world in which their 14-year-old daughter’s every whim was unquestioningly indulged, for the sake of allowing her to ‘explore, experiment and follow her pop star dreams’, as Joy permits Sophie to do — at the cost of any parental boundaries whatsoever.
I first met Sophie and Joy nearly a year ago. Back then, aged 13, Sophie was a straight-A student who’d won a music scholarship to a top private girls’ school in County Durham, a part-time model, an aspiring singer and a veteran of the UK teen beauty pageant circuit.
For our meeting she wore a low-cut purple satin evening gown and several hundred pounds worth of faux diamonds, as she explained how her many pageant victories were, in fact, her first step on the road to worldwide pop stardom.
Joy couldn’t see the harm. She laughed at my suggestion that Sophie might be growing up too fast and even told me how she posted signed photographs of her little Lolita to any Tom, Dick or Harry who asked for one. [AGAIN, MOTHER’S LACK OF DISCERNMENT AND DENIAL]
Eleven months on and Sophie has bid farewell to the world of beauty pageants — and school, too — to concentrate on her dream of becoming a pop star.
And, on a cold winter’s night in their terrace home in South Shields on Tyneside, all Sophie and her mum can see are the bright lights of potential stardom — a testimony, perhaps, to the toxic effect of the X Factor dream.
‘In the past year, I’ve got a manager and she has a lot of connections in London. I’ll be releasing my first single with her in the next year,’ says Sophie confidently — though she is not yet signed to a recording label.
Certainly, she bears remarkably little resemblance to the glossy little poppet in a tiara that she was just a few months ago. Proudly, she shows off the four piercings in her right ear, an 8mm stud and inner-ear piercing in her left, a ring in her nose and two in her belly button.
Then there are the tattoos — on Sophie’s tummy and wrist, performed by a professional artist operating well outside the law (you must be over 18 to have one, with or without a parent or guardian’s consent).
Surely, when Sophie returned home with these on display, Joy had cause to wonder who was really in charge? Apparently not.
‘I wasn’t awfully impressed,’ admits Joy. ‘But what can you do? When it’s done it’s done, isn’t it. It’s hard to lay down the law. On the plus side, she hasn’t had any more tattoos since May, so that’s good,’ says Joy, cheerfully. [PROOF THAT MOM HAS TROUBLE LAYING DOWN LAW – SHE IS VULNERABLE, AMORPHOUS, EASILY MANIPULATED BY THE STRONGER DAUGHTER]
‘Yet!’ adds Sophie, with a grin.
At times, it is hard to know who is more reckless — Sophie or her mother.
It is difficult not to wonder whether things would have been different if Sophie had grown up as a daddy’s girl.
After all, it is often fathers who feel most keenly the urge to preserve their daughters’ innocence.
But Sophie has had no contact with her father for more than ten years. Nor has there been a male influence in her life since Joy separated from her second husband at the end of last year.
According to the World Health Organisation, 40pc of girls in England have under-age sex – more than any other European country
For this past tumultuous year, mother and daughter have been on their own — living, as Sophie says, ‘more like sisters or friends than mother and daughter’. [LACK OF BOUNDARIES]
Perhaps this is why Joy is remarkably relaxed in the knowledge that Sophie is sexually active, well below the age of consent — even allowing her to bring boys home for the night. When Sophie requested to go on the Pill, did Joy not wonder whether she could or should have done anything to preserve Sophie’s innocence for longer?
‘No, I didn’t,’ she says. ‘Parents who try to do that are just kidding themselves. Sophie is growing up no faster than any other 14-year-old. The only difference is, I know what she’s up to, whereas other parents prefer to be blinkered and naïve about it.
‘I have a realistic view on life. I’m not saying that every 14-year-old out there is doing what Sophie does, but there are a lot of 14-year-olds — and younger — who are doing an awful lot more and their parents have no idea because they never talk to them.’
Sophie adds: ‘Yeah, I know a girl who is 13 and she has been having sex with a 26-year-old. And that’s way more extreme than anything I’ve ever done.’
Extreme is one way of putting it. Criminal is another. ‘I also know a girl who sneaks out every weekend and does it in bushes and stuff. Gross!’ she says.
Psychologist Linda Papadopoulos, who last year conducted a government fact-finding review into the sexualisation of teenage girls, says: ‘I can’t comment on Sophie’s case directly, but the sexualisation of young girls is an enormously worrying trend. Not only is it feeding a rise in body image issues, eating disorders and early sexual activity, but it’s teaching them that their validity lies in attracting male attention. [KEY THEMES]
Psychologist Linda Papadopoulos says the sexualisation of young girls is an enormously worrying trend
‘Sexualised imagery and language is so pervasive now that children are constantly confronted by concepts that they are unable to deal with, cognitively and emotionally [THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM IN OUR SOCIETY]
‘Many parents have started to see that as a normal feature of life and to see their own children as little adults.[LACK OF DISCERNMENT IN SOCIETY AT LARGE, SHOWING HOW THE CANCER DIATHESIS HAS BECOME A CULTURAL PROBLEM]
‘When a child assumes the appearance of an adult, it’s easy for parents and others to assume they don’t need protection and guidance. That is when they are most at risk.’
But Joy seems unworried and extends her laidback rules to Sophie’s drinking, too.
‘If I’m going to do it, Mum would rather I did it at home with her or at a house party with friends, than go down the park like some chav,’ says Sophie.
‘Safety is all I care about,’ says Joy.[THIS IS A KEY CONCEPT. “AS LONG AS IT’S SAFE”, EVEN IF IT HAS OTHER MORE DIRE CONSEQUENCES. MOM CAN ONLY BE CONCERNED WITH SAFETY ON A MORE PRIMITIVE LEVEL. I THINK ANOTHER FEATURE HERE IS DENIAL]
And, as far as Sophie is concerned, that boils down to two things: no drugs and no lying.
‘Mum has to know where I am and who I’m with all the time and that’ll change as I get older,’ says Sophie.
Everything else is sanctioned, on the condition that Joy knows about it first. Even, it seems, if it involves taking part in a photoshoot for her ‘modelling portfolio’ which was, by anyone’s standards, shockingly inappropriate for a girl of her age.
In one set of pictures, posted on Sophie’s public Facebook fan page, she wears nothing but heavy make-up, a black lace teddy and bondage-style spike heels. In others, she tugs provocatively at her tiny unzipped hotpants, like a seasoned glamour model. [AGAIN, MOM’S WEAKNESS/ILLNESS IS FEEDING DAUGHTER’S INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR]
The mind boggles at how a mother could happily allow her child to pose like that for any photographer. But Joy is lost for answers.
‘It was just a new look she was experimenting with,’ she says, defensively. ‘She used to model. They were for her portfolio. I don’t see what the big deal is really. Her friends go out wearing next to nothing and you see girls of her age in bikinis on the beach.
‘What’s the difference?’
The difference, of course, is context.
Yet it turns out that Joy, who was there when the pictures were taken, had no idea that they had made their way onto the internet until I pointed it out during our interview.
‘Only a couple of them are on there, Mum,’ Sophie immediately pipes up. ‘Not the really bad ones.’
But the fact that Sophie is even dimly aware that some of her photos are inappropriate says a lot — and the fact her mother allowed them to be taken says even more.
‘I am being the best mum I can be,’ Joy insists. [THE FACT IS, JOY PROBABLY IS DOING THE BEST SHE CAN. SHE PROBABLY ISN’T CAPABLE OF BEING MORE DISCERNING, STRONGER OR PUTTING HER FOOT DOWN. THIS IS JOY’S PATHOLOGY – STILL BLAZING CANCER PREDISPOSITION, JUST AS THE DAUGHTER’S IS]
But how many other mothers would agree?