It was bound to happen at some stage. For most children, the transition to being a little more fashion conscious is when they’re going back to school. Sometimes it’s tied to puberty and the mess of self-image issues that can come with that whole transformation, but you should never underestimate how early certain girls can start picking up on the ways that fashion influences how they’re perceived.
If your child is starting to become more fashion conscious, then they might need a little help navigating their options and feel confident in their clothing. So, what can you do to help the?
Avoid pressuring them in any direction
An appreciation of and even a fondness of fashion is no terrible thing. It can, in fact, be pretty empowering. However, it’s easy for that appreciation to turn into something a little stronger and something with plenty of potential to become toxic. Make sure that you’re not trying to force your kid to see themselves or dress themselves in any way in particular. You can guide them towards options but let them make their own choices. If you push too hard on how they “should” look, you can end up creating complexes that majorly affect their self-confidence.
Know what’s inappropriate
Kids, especially adolescents and teenagers, will start pushing boundaries and they’re likely to start doing it earlier than you’re comfortable. Our mass media is full of images of people who are dressed provocatively. Set some ground rules between you, your child, and any parenting partner about what is and is not appropriate clothing. This isn’t just about obscene imagery or revealing clothes, either, it’s also about making sure that they’re dressed appropriately for the weather and event. Jeans are great for casual birthdays, but not for more formal events as they get older. Help your child understand the context and better fit in with their clothes and they will appreciate it.
Let them try out stuff themselves
Helping your child with style does not mean that you’re dressing them up like a doll. It’s important that they’re able to feel the boost in confidence that comes with selecting their own outfit. Of course, you might have a more discerning eye about what works well with what. If they choose a good staple or piece of an outfit, for instance, you can make recommendations on what goes well with the piece that they have chosen. If they want to try dressing up entirely by themselves, then give them the freedom to. A lot of children have a love of dressing up that can translate fairly naturally into a love of fashion.
Give them plenty of inspiration
Where do kids get their sense of fashion? The same place as their parents, of course. They absorb it by coming into contact with as many different kinds of tastes, styles, and looks as possible. You can help teach them about fashion, but you should also consider giving them exposure to other sources of inspiration, as well. Youth fashion magazines can help open their eyes to the possibilities much better than you might be able to do, alone. However, you should do a little recon ahead of time to make sure than any magazines you buy for them or fashion shows you take them to fit your personal rules of what is age-appropriate for your child, first and foremost.
Mind the glasses
Many of the tips above are suited for more general clothing for all kids. However, there are some kids that require a little extra attention in helping to nail the right look. In particular, children who wear glasses are going to have to at least partially incorporate them into almost every look that they wear. Helping them choose outfits that go well with their glasses is a great start, but you should also help them make a smart choice and choose new glasses, as well. Now that they’re a little more style-conscious, they may want to pick something different than what they are used to wearing and they might find that their old glasses don’t do the trick and don’t make them feel confident any more.
Don’t be too afraid of them making mistakes
You want your child to improve their sense of confidence and self-image, but that doesn’t mean that you should fear the results of a bad fashion day here and there. If you try to coddle them and protect them too much, then what you’re really doing is sheltering an ego that can end up proving pretty fragile. If they make a fashion mistake when they’re too coddled, it can end up affecting them much more than you might expect. Instead, what you want to do is let them make little fashion faux-pas here and there, getting a sense of what works and what doesn’t for themselves, while also learning that a wrong choice is not going to be the end of the world.
Follow trends responsibility
Keeping up with the latest fashion trends can help your child get a good sense of the ever-shifting nature of fashion and teach them to be willing to explore new things rather than simply sticking what works. However, it’s important to make sure they’re aware of the pressure that trends can cause and how it doesn’t always make sense to chase them too closely. Peer pressure doesn’t just come from their friends, but celebrity culture, media, and magazines contribute to it as well. Body image issues can be especially powerful in girls who are influenced by the figures they see in media. Try to manage their expectations early, helping them build a wardrobe that is versatile and incorporates trends but isn’t dominated by them.
Finding out that your child is becoming a lot more aware of public perceptions of them and what they do to change them is a bittersweet moment for all parents. However, while we might like them to stay innocent and ignorant, it’s better to arm them with the knowledge of how to dress and be confident. Hopefully, the tips above do that.