It is only natural to want to give your child freedom and allow them to wear the clothes they choose, but when you see your child in clothing that sexualizes their body, a line has to be drawn.
Research has shown that when adults look at girls dressed in sexualized clothing, they don’t take them as seriously. This is a huge issue, because you want the adults interacting with your child to take them seriously.
It can become even more discouraging when these same reports say that it isn’t the parent’s fault, but the media’s fault.
So, are the media or the parents to blame?
Allowing your child to learn how to dress is an important step in their development process. However, it must be taken into consideration that we are constantly battered with images of hyper-sexualized celebrities and that our society has some deeply rooted preconceptions focused on how a person dresses.
You know that these battles are inevitable, but you might not expect them to happen at such a young age. Parents face much greater challenges today in handling the issue of how their child dresses.
As a parent, faced with these decisions and knowing these facts, it is hard to feel like it isn’t your fault. Taking action and trying to direct your child into a more conservative and appropriate style of dress can be difficult and may spark major conflicts between you and your child.
It is a fine line to walk, you want to do what is best for your child, but you don’t want them to be bullied and ostracized because of the clothing they choose. However, it is ultimately the parents’ responsibility to enforce these rules.
Is your child really treated differently?
During a college research project, one girl dressed in a variety of different styles including: Goth, ‘manic pixie dream girl’, and a classic vintage style. She interviewed everyone she met during her day, to determine what they thought about her in each outfit.
People viewed her in a more positive light when she was dressed in the classic vintage style and in a distinctly negative light when she was dressing in the gothic style.
The results of this project were very informative. People do judge you and formulate their perceptions of you based on what you wear.
The desire to dictate what your child wears is tempting, but educating your child on social etiquette and expectations while developing their own personal style isn’t an impossible feat and may end up being more beneficial to your child’s overall well being.
Forcing a child to do anything against their will only results in resentment and teaches the child ‘might makes right’. This is the source of much future conflict during their later years, and will not convey the lesson on social expectations that they must learn.
Take time to teach your child why respectable clothing is so important to their own future.