Kids & Quirks: Embracing Your Kid’s Unique Style
Both of my daughters have style. What can I say, they were always cool kids even when they were teensy! This may be due to the fact that I let them pick out their own outfits as soon as they could dress themselves. To be honest, I didn’t always like their choice in couture. Sometimes (okay, most of the time) I was seriously cringing on the inside while showing approval on the outside.
Picture this, if you will: A timid-looking little girl in a perfectly-matched outfit walks into a store hand-in-hand with her equally color-coordinated parent. Then picture another little girl confidently marching into the same store with a striped shirt, polka-dotted skirt, and red-and-white cowboy boots, next to a parent sporting the I-have-two-children-under-four-and-I-just-don’t-give-a-damn look. And yes, that is an actual style.
Thankfully, by the time my oldest went off to kindergarten, she had become infinitely more coordinated in her approach to fashion. (If she hadn’t, I would have intervened at some point to spare her from being laughed at by her peers.) In turn, her ability to find a happy balance between self-expression and sensibility inspired her sister to follow suit (no pun intended) thus sparing her as well from social alienation.
Style and Individuality
Fashion might arguably be one of the first steps toward our little people discovering who they are as separate and unique individuals. When we step back and let them choose what resonates with them, we are sending out the message that we appreciate their individuality and respect their right of self-expression.
I don’t doubt for a moment that people probably stared and smirked at my children’s questionable ensembles. When they blatantly did, I was successful at tuning it out. Letting my kids go out in public looking quite ridiculous wasn’t about me. It was about my kids and their right to discover who they are.
Demanding vs. Suggesting
There were rare occasions when my daughters would come up with an outfit for school that the other kids could quite conceivably laugh at… But I never demanded them to change. I would simply suggest that an adjustment was in order, and everyone was happy.
Some may argue that my method was too liberal, but I’m only passing down what I had learned from my own mother. When I was a little girl, I was oblivious to the stares of other parents as I boldly sported ensembles that no one in their right mind would let their kids wear.
I wasn’t affected by the criticism. My mother believed that I had the right to express myself, and that is just what I did. When it was time for me to start school, I instinctively knew how to honor my unique style while coloring in the lines—the same way my kids do today!
Tell us, do you embrace your kids’ unique style? Share your thoughts (and some descriptions of questionable outfits) in the comments below!
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