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  1. #1
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    Default Spinoff: letting your kids wear what they want

    The thread about the daughter who wouldn't wear a coat had me thinking.. I often see groups of young girls in shopping centres wearing clothing that I personally find extremely age-inappropriate (actually even adults wearing some of these things would be borderline offensive): picture a 12 year old girl in a crop top and short jeans, that actually look more like denim underwear because you can literally see their butt cheeks hanging out the back.. and I hate getting my judgey pants on, but I can't help thinking "how can parents let their children wear this"?
    But then reading the replies in the thread about the girl who won't wear a jacket, had me thinking about body autonomy and letting your pre-teens and teens wear what makes them feel comfortable, shape their identity etc..
    This gave me warm fuzzy feelings about how our children are individual humans with complex feelings and deep thoughts and a desire to find their place in the world and all of that.. but how much freedom is too much freedom? At what point do we have to step in and say, "ok, we are the parent and this is not appropriate"?

    For the record, I would be annoyed and worried about my child not wearing a coat on a cold day but I wouldn't force it.. but my oldest child is 5 and he doesn't generally argue about stuff like that.. and we live in sydney, which hardly gets colder than 17 degrees during the day, and my son wears a school uniform anyway..

  2. #2
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    My DS is 2.5. He goes through phases of only wanting to wear a certain pair of shoes - last year it was his gumboots, now it's sneakers, and when he's with DH on the farm he insists on wearing "boots like Daddy". I insist that he wears shoes outside but for the most part he can choose which ones.
    As far as everything else goes, he will usually wear whatever we get out for him but sometimes he wants this tshirt not that one. Or these jocks, not those ones. Again, as long as he's wearing them, I don't mind.
    I think there's a fine line between body autonomy and parental intervention sometimes.
    I don't want DS to grow up thinking that his clothing has to conform to others expectations of him, or that he has to worry about what others think of him.
    But I do think, especially while he's so young, I am responsible for making sure his clothing is weather and activity appropriate. And I do think it's important for him to grow up knowing there's certain events or destinations we dress up for.
    When I was growing up, the most rebellious thing I wore was black jeans - hated by my parents because they thought black jeans sent some kind of message.
    Like you Op, sometimes I feel my judgey pants creeping right up, when I see clothing that some kids wear. Sadly in my care, it's usually girls, and I have to check in with myself about why I'm judging that girl's clothing, and ask myself why I think it's inappropriate, and if I would be as bothered if it was a boy.
    I don't know how I would approach it with DS or any potential future kids I might have. Maybe ask why they want to wear that item, why it makes them feel good and try and understand. But I'm just as likely to hide the hideous denim underwear so they can't wear it!

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    I totally get my judgey pants on especially when I see the poor girl with her muffin top stuffed into a crop top and short shorts looking awful. Or the boy with his pants around his knees trying to look cool but he can't walk properly.
    I remember my mum saying to me dress for your body type, maybe the short shorts aren't the best for you but the crop top looks fine.
    Somehow she managed to encourage us to dress with a bit of decorum, but still be "trendy" and the same as our friends and not come off as controlling or judgey. I don't know how she did it and I can only hope I can do half as well with DD when she gets there.
    Right now she's almost 3 and happy to wear what I choose except wanting to wear gumboots everywhere even in the height of summer and sometimes a fairy dress to the supermarket. I just let her it's not worth having a fight over.

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    My boys are going on 12 and 10 and they still get me to pick out their clothes for them lol so so far so good there.

    DD is 8 this year and she is a whole different kettle of fish. O.M.G. We fight every day. I have let go of things a lot now but I draw the line at her wearing a crop too, mini denim skirt and knee high black boots past our front door! I'm dreading her teenage years.

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    I'm parent to 3 kids..One a nearly 14yo girl, so all this is very much on my radar. I strongly believe in autonomy and individuality and have mostly allowed my kids to choose their own clothing. Obviously when they are small the only choice they can make are from what's in their wardrobe. If they want to wear a Superman suit matched with gumboots, then go for it. I struggle with very strict uniform policies because I don't like the conformity, fortunately my kids school allowed some leniency and my DD in particular would wear stripy tights under her school dress or a giant flower in her hair. She liked to be a bit different. She now a teen and likes to conform a bit more to fashion trends, she buys some of her own clothes and chooses what I buy for her. Some of her choices I don't love, some are more revealing than I'd like. I state my opinion and reasons, but she makes her own choices and I'm ok with that. You are only young once and we have all made fashion mistakes! I love that young people have the confidence to wear what they do and I think it's fair to say it won't last forever! Soon enough they will find themselves frumpy adults who wish they still had the confidence to let it all hang out!

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    I have a teenager and a pre teen...I am not fighting my kids about clothes beyond appropriateness for school or what they're doing (eg not wearing expensive clothes if they are doing something they are bound to get dirty in and possibly destroy their new clothes). They have enough to deal with. I don't always like what my kids pick, but it's not about me...it's about them and what they feel comfortable in. Currently I have a pre teen who loves to tie knots in the middle of her shirts to create a crop top...I smile because I adored crop tops at the same age and lived in them. I definitely wasn't doing it to attract attention from boys etc. I just really liked the look of them.
    Also, kids at that age prefer to go out with their friends to go shopping...so when they come home with clothes are a bit too tight, but they're soooo excited about what they bought and show it off proudly I'm certainly not going to bust their confidence by telling them the clothes don't suit their body type, or give them a muffin top or whatever other criticism I could come out with. I'm going to engage in their enthusiasm with them, discuss what their plans are for the week and where they are going to wear that outfit etc; and quite frankly; to h3ll with parents who choose to judge the clothing choices of a teen or pre-teen.

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    My children (12, 9, 7 and 3) wear anything they want.

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    Confidence is something I hadn't considered before. When I was 12 I had very low body confidence and my clothing choices reflected that. Consequently, I didn't get a lot of attention from boys and it was quite depressing.

    I wouldn't dream of criticising my kids on how they looked. I try to always give positive feedback, and I don't have any girls, and with 3 boys, I'm absolutely done in the baby making department, so that's a minefield I will not have to navigate. But I appreciate hearing from parents with young teenage girls, it's definitely given me a different perspective!

    I still don't think I would be comfortable with my daughters (if I had any) wearing such revealing things, but I'm starting to see how it's something that they should be allowed to choose for themselves.

    Sorry for the disjointed response.. just thinking out loud here

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    Quote Originally Posted by witherwings View Post
    Confidence is something I hadn't considered before. When I was 12 I had very low body confidence and my clothing choices reflected that. Consequently, I didn't get a lot of attention from boys and it was quite depressing.

    I wouldn't dream of criticising my kids on how they looked. I try to always give positive feedback, and I don't have any girls, and with 3 boys, I'm absolutely done in the baby making department, so that's a minefield I will not have to navigate. But I appreciate hearing from parents with young teenage girls, it's definitely given me a different perspective!

    I still don't think I would be comfortable with my daughters (if I had any) wearing such revealing things, but I'm starting to see how it's something that they should be allowed to choose for themselves.

    Sorry for the disjointed response.. just thinking out loud here
    See, I just don't have an issue with what my kids wear in terms of it being too revealing. They wear short shorts loose shirts where the crop top can be seen underneath as the shirt doesn't sit up above the breasts etc....but it's exactly what I wear! I don't do it attention...I find wearing t shirts and knee length shorts so super uncomfortable and hot. I can't stand it. I don't even own a tshirt....I hate the feel of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGooch View Post
    Like you Op, sometimes I feel my judgey pants creeping right up, when I see clothing that some kids wear. Sadly in my care, it's usually girls, and I have to check in with myself about why I'm judging that girl's clothing, and ask myself why I think it's inappropriate, and if I would be as bothered if it was a boy.
    I think that certain clothing is inappropriate because of the way it sexualises children: this is a whole other topic of discussion, and something that I'm dreading having to deal with.

    And I know this is a massive generalisation, but it's usually young girls that dress in sexually provocative ways (as opposed to young boys) and it's young girls that are more prone to sexual assault. So this is why it makes me feel uncomfortable.

    Im trying to think of a similar scenario for a boy and I can't really come up with anything.. maybe because I'm not all that fashion savvy, and maybe because groups of boys don't hang out in shopping centres together? The low crotches pants look awful in my opinion but aren't exactly the same thing as semi-naked get up..

    Trying to consider a different kind of fashion faux pas, what if your child decided they wanted to wear a swastika on their shirt because swastikas were the new cool thing? How would you feel about it? Would you say anything to them?


 

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