I have this sweet and sassy small girl. She is beautiful and funny, intelligent and witty. And all-together stubborn. When she was this itty-bitty thing, all 7 pounds 13 ounces of her, I dressed her in pink (so no one would assume she was a boy…. I’m still scarred by stories from MY childhood) and brought her home.
I will admit it, I have at least a small love of fashion. I love dresses and skirts, getting all gussied up and fixing my hair. Pink isn’t my favorite color, but I certainly wear it on occasion. I rarely wear tennis shoes, wear jeans with boots and only wear sweats at home.
My small girl on the other hand is, well… my opposite on most every level. She detests pink, prefers mismatched socks, soccer shorts, tennis shoes and her un-brushed hair in a pony tail. But I love everything about it.
In the beginning, I dressed her. And then I realized, she has this beautiful mind of her own and it includes thoughts and opinions that determine HER comfort level in her own skin. So, I have backed off — most of the time. I will share my exceptions in a minute.
But first, the 5 Reasons I let my daughter choose her own style….
She is not me: Just because I like a color, a style, a certain fashion, doesn’t mean that she is going to like it as well. Though I might encourage her to try something new, I will never force her to wear something that makes her uncomfortable.
We are building her self-esteem: For every ‘thumbs up’ I give to an outfit, I build her confidence. For every headband, pair of boots and fitness ensemble she chooses, she decides how she feels about it. The power to make that decision makes her stronger and more confident.
She is learning: Fads, fashions and friends. These all play a part in her decision making and they all influence what she WANTS to wear — from bracelets to the latest D*Signed by Disney craze at Target — she is drawn to the things that catch her eye and to what her friends recommend.
I am learning: Whew — am I ever! I truly thought I would have a little girl who WANTED me to dress her. WRONG! That stopped when she was about 3. (You should have seen the outfits then!) I’m learning what it is like to witness a mind unfold and a personality develop. That is an honor I can’t refuse — even though we don’t see eye to eye.
Compromise is crucial: Since I do allow her to dress as she wishes 360 of 365 days a year, we have determined this gives me ‘veto’ power and the ‘power of suggestion’ when it comes to a few special events: Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, school pictures and family pictures. Now, that doesn’t mean I force her to wear pink (I told you she detests it), turtlenecks (she’d rather eat glass), or frilly spring dresses (oh the horror!), It does mean I can require clean and pressed clothing that fits. It does mean I can choose colors for family pictures. It does mean she will occasionally wear a dress or skirt. We discuss. We shop together. We compromise.
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