Clothes Hoarse

24 Apr

Letterbalm Circular Clothes RackDear LetterBalm: My 12-year-old daughter is asking for clothes I think are too suggestive and expensive. We’ve been fighting about this all the time. I don’t accept her argument that “all my friends wear them.” I’m not a prude, but I believe that girls have enough to deal with today without dressing like tramps and drawing unwanted attention. (And, I wish her school would enact a rule that students must wear uniforms.) What can I say to her so we can work this out?

–Tired of Yelling

You’re absolutely right to be concerned about your daughter’s wardrobe. Ms. L.B. believes that apparel selection and shopping is one of the best ways for a girl to develop confidence and self-esteem. Unfortunately, conformity to today’s highly sexualized environment is a risk that comes along with this. How to negotiate a good middle path with your daughter, who, after all, wants to conform? You need to give her power within proper bounds, with some mutually agreed upon limits. Sit down with your daughter, ask her to turn off her e-devices, and have a talk:

Riley, you and I have been going around the issue of buying clothes. I think that what you want is too expensive and revealing, and you want to be stylish and fit in with your friends. So, here’s what I suggest we might do. First, you and I work up a budget that I can afford. Then, I want you to make a list of the stores that you like that sell affordable clothes and that I agree you can shop at. I also want you to come up with some ideas of how you can earn extra money if you want to shop for anything that goes over our budget. But I want you to understand that you just can’t buy anything. You and I are going to work out guidelines – how tight your clothes can be and how much skin you can expose, for instance. I’ll be shopping with you, but sometimes you can go with your sister Amy. I know you like her style, and she can help you. But she’ll know the rules, too. Does this make sense to you?

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