Children & Clothing Battles

“MOM!!! I have nothing to wear!”

“MOM!!! I’m only going to wear pink, twirly dresses from now on!”

“MOM!!! The only pants I like are sweatpants with elastic waists!”

“MOM!!! I know it’s snowing, but I have to wear shorts today!”

Have you every heard any of these – or similar – statements?  Ever have battles over clothing in your house?  Does each morning bring fights between you and your child about what they can (and cannot) wear to school?  Clothes are a big deal in my house.  With two young girls particular about what they wear, I frequently hear comments like the above.   So what’s a parent to do when their child begins asserting their own style and no longer wears the cute outfits you bought without complaint?

Set some ground rules. I pretty much have one in my house: I don’t care what you wear as long as it’s clean.  You may have some others: no skirts above a certain length, no low-cut tops, no underwear showing…you’ll have to pick a rule or two that suits your family.  Keep the list short though, the longer it is, the tougher it will be to enforce.

Is the fight really worth it? Often times it isn’t.  Does it really do anyone harm if your preschooler wears her princess dress to school?  Your 3rd grader only wears Broncos gear? Your high-schooler wears shorts all year ’round (in Michigan).  Probably not.  Identify times when you insist on “appropriate attire” i.e. church, visiting Grandma, family pictures, airplane rides (that was my mom’s rule – still don’t know why).  If it isn’t one of those special times – let it go.

Give them the responsibility. Older kids want certain clothes? Tell them to save up their money and buy them on their own.  Are they frustrated when their favorite top is dirty? Let them do their own laundry.  Are they irritated with the way their clothes look or fit?  Teach them how to iron and make simple alterations.

Get creative. If your child is really passionate about their attire – harness that creativity!  Embrace their enthusiasm and engage your budding fashionista.  Sewing classes, drawing lessons, books on fashion design – try checking out these resources instead of spending your energy fighting your kid.  Who knows, you might have the next Vera Wang on your hands!  As someone who spent part of high school wearing nothing but flower-child dresses, Birkenstocks, and crystal necklaces, I can appreciate that clothing preferences can be an ever-changing expression of a child’s personality.  Do we really want to squash it?

My solution to preschooler’s must-have item of the moment (simple black dress): design it & make it ourselves!

Top photo by: rlcasey


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