A long-running battle between parents and children since the dawn of civilization is clothing. For most of recorded human history, what is appropriate to wear has been a source of inter-generational tension (the dress code of the Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle, where my kids went, forbids clothing that exposes a “bare midriff”; were I to bare my midriff, an unsightly expanse of flab covered with swirling hair, panic in the streets might ensue). Parents object to their kids making fashion choices as a result of “peer pressure” as if this were somehow a bad thing. To understand this better, imagine a world in which kids were in charge of their parents, and consider the following hypothetical situation.

Kid: (Holding up a pair of denim bib overalls) I bought this for you to wear to work.

Parent: Are you out of your mind?

Kid:      What do you mean? What’s wrong with them? They’re comfortable. They don’t cost a lot, so it fits our budget. And they are easy to launder.

Parent: What’s wrong with them? Is this your idea of a sick joke? I work at a corporate law firm. If I come to the office wearing overalls, people will think I’ve either had a nervous breakdown or am a complete buffoon. Or maybe both.

Kid:      So what you are saying is that you just want to wear what the “cool lawyers” (kid waves his fingers in simulated quotation marks) are wearing? You think the point of clothing is to impress other people?

Parent: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. If I’m going to be a successful lawyer working downtown and meeting with clients, I can’t dress like a hayseed.

Kid:      Do you have any idea how much the clothes you want to wear actually cost?

Parent: Yes, of course. We’re business casual, so I wouldn’t have to wear a suit, but still a dress shirt, a good pair of slacks and decent looking shoes would probably cost about $300. And I’d need more than one outfit. So the total wardrobe would run about $2000, give or take.

Kid:      And you’d spend $2000 on clothing when a pair of sturdy overalls only costs thirty bucks? All because of stupid peer pressure? When are you going to grow up and learn to become an independent person? Is that all you are learning at the office? What about becoming a better lawyer by studying harder? No, you’d rather just throw away money on new clothes, even though you know our family is on a budget. That’s it buster – no golf for you this weekend. You’re grounded!

So, when you find yourself arguing with your kid about clothing, what you are really saying is, “In order for you to make your way in the world, you are going to have to learn how to get along with other people. The clothing you wear is just one small choice among many, but first impressions matter. I’m going to try to undermine your happiness and do what I can to make sure that you don’t have friends at school and are regarded as an oddball by making you wear clothes that help advance that goal.”

Is that really the message you want to send your kids? I didn’t think so. By middle school, if they can’t dress themselves, you are failing as a parent.


 


Comments

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05/26/2016 8:13pm

This post makes me laugh. I always wanted to become a lawyer. I find this delightful. What you wear is who you are. When wearing certain clothes, people act differently. Clothes are a way of expressing ourselves, our feelings and our identities. It tells a story about the person who wears it. It shows who you are, but it can also create stereotypes and rejection from another group of the society we live in.

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06/19/2017 11:15am

In a world of mass productions and cheap products, many products including baby clothes and baby accessories, are produced from synthetic materials that are made from toxic chemicals. These toxin ridden products pose health risks for everyone who uses them. Babies are not exempted from these risks when in contact with these synthetic products.

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02/10/2016 8:55am

When it comes to caring for your childrens clothes, any parent will quickly discover that caring for kid's clothing is much different than caring for adult clothing. This is because your little one's clothing is not only generally created from different materials than adult clothing is, but children are also far harder on their clothes than adults are. For more information on this, please see fashion in umaandleopold.com.

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03/19/2016 11:46pm

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03/25/2016 3:36am

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04/15/2016 3:48am

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04/17/2016 11:01pm

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04/26/2016 11:05pm

Do you have any idea how much the clothes you want to wear actually cost?

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07/23/2016 11:31am

I have a tough time finding jeans that may get past my thighs. Guys who do squats get screwed within the fashion department I suppose. I find yourself shopping for junk loose work jeans at the dreaded walmart.

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08/24/2016 11:37am

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11/29/2016 12:20pm


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