Never has a store seen so many demonstrations of strong will as when a mom takes her children clothing shopping. You might love the fact that your child has a mind of her own, and you may very well be happy to know that your child is a leader, not a follower. You'll be happy, all right - until it comes time to go shopping for clothes.
Clothing shopping with my children ranks right up there with a root canal - and the older the children get, the less enjoyable it becomes. I often want to just give them their money and let them go shopping without me - but the few times I've done this have ended, shall we say, less than optimally. Apparently clothing can be either an appropriate length OR not too tight - but not both at the same time. Silly me to expect that my kids would have the same standards as I do.
So what is a family to do, when you've got to purchase some clothes for your children and you'd like your relationship to stay intact?
- Ask their opinions - Having an opinion on what she wants to wear is a sign of her burgeoning independence. Don't squash that. Instead, ask your child what she thinks of different outfits. Don't become inordinately irritated when she dismisses your ideas; instead, ask what she doesn't like about them You may find that your taste and hers are not quite as far off as you'd imagined.
- Look at samples - Peruse magazines and online catalogs. Discuss the styles that you see and how you think they might or might not work for your family. Keep the lines of communication open and listen to what he admires about a certain look and see if there are ways you can help him emulate it in a way that makes you both happy.
- Talk it out - Talk and talk and talk some more. When you think you've said all you can say, listen. In fact, I'd venture to say you should listen twice as much as you talk. Discuss the times that you need your child to toe the fashion line - church or temple, grandparent visits, special occasions - and times that you can look the other way.
- Let her shop for herself (within reason) - Growing up means cutting those apron strings, and you won't always get to pick out the perfect sweater set for your baby girl. Give her a small amount of money and a set of parameters to follow, and see what she comes up with - you may very well have a stylish fashion diva waiting to blossom!
- Compromise when you can - I remember wearing some outfits that I'm certain my own mother didn't care for - but she let me wear them anyway. If it doesn't hurt anyone, and it's one of those negotiable times mentioned above - it might be a time for compromise.
- Learn to look the other way - This may be the very most difficult part of children and their fashions. You don't always have to like what your daughter is wearing, but you may need to learn to make your peace with it.
Children are developing a sense of style and independence, and it will go through many, many changes as they grow and mature. Today's treasured ripped jeans will be tomorrow's jeggings, and the boy who went to school every day looking as if he'd slept in his clothes may very well turn in to the boy currently ironing this week's chinos and polo shirts.
It happened to me, it can happen to you. Take heart, moms everywhere.
Have you, or your child, ever worn an outfit that you thought was just too much? Share it with us!