Something happened when my daughter grew into a size 6. I stopped buying her clothes. The days where everything I saw was “soooo cute” were replaced with horror. Sweatpants with words on their bottom, padded bras, strapless dresses… it was all too much. Without really making a conscious decision, I just stopped buying her clothes. It took me a little time to realize what the problem was, it wasn’t that my baby had grown out of the toddler section into the little girls’ clothes, it was that for the most part, little girl’s clothes are completely inappropriate.
Think about it. Why is it ok to dress our little angels in miniskirts? What message are we giving our daughters by buying them padded bras? They are paying attention and if we allow them to dress scantily now, we are telling them that it’s perfectly acceptable to dress in a provocative manner. And in a few years, when they enter that tween and teen years, will it still be “funny” or “cute” when they want to wear a miniskirt?
This phenomenon of dressing children in our image isn’t just for girls. Most of the boy’s clothing is “street-style”, hoodies, skulls and crossbones, dickies and plaid shirts. Are we raising gentlemen or gangsters?
Parents, what examples are you setting? Are your clothes too tight? Did you brush your hair today as you ran out the door to run the kids to school? Do you dress like your kids friends? Are you kids embarrassed to be seen with you? It’s just as important the example we set as the clothes we choose for them.
All children have their own likes and dislikes. My daughter loves glitter, as I’m sure most 6yo’s do, but I’ve taught her that if everything has glitter on it – top, pants, shoes – you just look like a big piece of aluminum foil. No one can appreciate what you have on. When she told me she wanted pants with glitter on the bottom, it was that she wanted embellished clothing, not that she cared where it was, but unfortunately, this is what she sees on other kids, so this is what she asks for. As parents, our job is to guide them. Our children don’t know the perils of dressing provocatively, or of the endless choices out there, so talk to them, offer solutions and be frank. Not every child has the same rules that we do in our home, and that’s ok.
Cultivate your child’s individual style now, so that they are confident in their choices later on, and able to be proud of what they are wearing, whether at school or at abuela’s and you will save yourself a lot of heartache now as well as when they are older.