Even as I type this I think really, I sound like an old person wanting to discuss how the "kids of today dress"...yawn. But, as moms we see girls wearing less and less everywhere we go. You cannot deny that there is more skin showing now than ever before. Living in Arizona where the weather is great most of the time I see plenty, of well, everything. But the thing is I have high school girls at my house all of the time between the ages of 15 and 18 and they dress absolutely fashion forward and cute, but they never(almost never) seem to cross that invisible line . You know the invisible line. It goes from you can see a "little" to here "it is" you don't even have to imagine what it looks like. Girls can dress cute and wear the short shorts and the spaghetti strap tank tops, but buy the right size. Don't squeeze into something that doesn't fit and then let it all pour out. Please keep your bra and underwear under the clothing, hence the term "underwear."
I would like to ask moms a question about how the young girls get the clothing they wear. Moms are giving their daughters the money to shop and the ride to the mall so they should have some input as to what their daughters buy, right? I know I can hear it now. The moms are yelling at the screen saying, "I try to give my input, my daughter won't listen, and she changes outfits in the morning after she gets on the bus. I know, I know its hard. However, just because it's hard and there is some yelling, tantrums, and tears that doesn't mean the daughters should get their way does it?
As a middle school principal my husband deals with inappropriately dressed 7th and 8th grade girls everyday. The school has a dress code but inevitably there are still girls in his office everyday having to call their moms so she can bring them appropriate clothes to finish out the school day.
Here's the challenge: teaching young girls from the beginning that the way she decides to present herself goes much deeper than fashion. As parents our message about a young girl's self worth has to begin early and often if we are going to combat the negative, and influential messages from society. The home is where a girl learns to feel loved, confident, smart, empowered, talented, hopeful, and valued. She has to believe she is above the thin and flimsy messages that are being sent to her about her body and how she dresses it up.Her beliefs about how special and unique she is have to run deep.Her foundation must be strong and until it is parents have to continually guide them back to the right choices and discuss why it is so important. Simply telling a girl not to dress a certain way is not going to cut it. The reasons have to be discussed over and over.
As you shop with your young daughter or look through magazines use some of these ideas to lead her in the right direction:
- Discuss her likes and dislikes.
- Have open conversations about what image she wants to send to people about what she stands for.
- Have her explain why she is choosing the clothes she likes.
- Explain to her what is appropriate dress for certain occasions i.e...senior photos, job interview, church
- Show her cute outfits that make her feel confident not sexy (should little girls even want to feel sexy)
Can we overcome society's messages and change the way young girls dress? Or are they dressing just fine? In what ways do you empower your daughter to dress appropriately?