How to discourage a fashion style without bruising your child’s ego

Children are creatures of imagination and creativity.  They are also easily insulted and do not know how to appropriately take criticism.  If you are less than thrilled with the way your child has been dressing or trying to dress, it is best to address the matter very carefully, keeping your child’s feelings in mind.

The first thing to consider is whether your child really is dressing inappropriately or are your tastes just out of touch with modern fashion.  This is particularly relevant to older children and teenagers, you do need to respect their choices, to some degree.  Use your friends with similarly aged children, as a reference point, for a better understanding of the issue.  Only after educating yourself should you speak to your child, if you feel it’s still necessary.

Do not use harsh words when explaining your perceived, child’s fashion disaster.  Children tend to feel emotions more often than adults and do not have the know-how to suppress any of them, nor will they even attempt to.  Using harsh words only shows your child that you disapprove of their choices, not that you are trying to help them.  Avoid using words such as “ridiculous,” “silly” or “stupid” as it is a reflection on your child and they will take it to heart.

Rather than insult your child’s fashion sense, gear them towards more appropriate wear.  If your child likes bold colours such as hot pink or cobalt blue, teach them that one bold item is enough to make a statement.  A great way to teach your child about fashion is to take them shopping with you.  Allow them to assist in picking out their clothes and show them what coordinates with the items that they choose.  This will instill the matching principle and teach that not all items will match and clothing is about matching or coordinating.

When your child successfully puts an outfit together that looks good, compliment him or her.  Praise is considered spoken gold coming from your mouth.  Children live for praise and they like to know that they have done something pleasing.  Do not go overboard on the praise, but definitely show your child that they have done well.  Continue to instill fashion sense into your children.  Let them experiment with different colours and patterns and allow them to choose their wardrobe and express individuality.

Think of your children as drawing boards with a blank slate. Teach them the basics on fashion and coordinating fashion items, but be prepared to listen to their views and be flexible in your approach.

Most of all have patience as your child learns the basics.  There will always be some fashion disasters, but take them in your stride and simply reinforce previous lessons.

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