As hard as it is sometimes, I accept my 4 y/o daughter’s sense of style. She has her own vision of what is beautiful, and who am I to tell her otherwise? I let her wear what she wants as long as it is weather-appropriate and safe to wear. Yesterday she chose to wear a very interesting head piece to her ballet class. She put it together from a blue glittery scarf, dark brown ethnic hat from my home country, and her pink head band with a huge bow. I asked her how she felt wearing it, and she said she felt beautiful. She definitely looked…interesting with a huge complicated nest-like structure on her head. I was a bit worried that other girls would make fun of her, but they didn’t, I don’t think they even paid much attention to it. Other parents asked me questions, and then proceeded to telling stories how their kids also put together crazy outfits, but then the parents always make them change into the clothes of parents’ choice before heading outside, and how it is always a fight and a constant struggle. Everyone was laughing. I felt sad.
I remember how my mom would always dress me, and how I hated her outfits, and those dresses that made me itch, and uncomfortable sweaters, and ugly tights, and shoes I couldn’t stand. And I cried, I clearly remember that.
Why do we force our own understanding of beautiful on our kids? Don’t we think they are capable of expressing themselves through their own style, and feeling comfortable in their choice, and happy for being trusted enough to make their own decisions? It is just clothes, after all. It is not OUR clothes, and not OUR personalities that are looking for ways to express themselves. They are humans, they want to be trusted and respected. How hard is it to let them be themselves? How hard is it to let them have a say in something as insignificant to us, and as important to them? Clothes are a big deal for little kids. Let’s respect that.
Photo: Kevin Dooley (Flickr)