When I was young and childless I remember seeing little kids with their parents and they looked like they picked their clothing out in the dark from a costume shop.
The combination of frilly pink tutus with tracksuit pants, knee high lime green and black polka dot socks over the pants, yellow gumboot teamed with a singlet, legwarmers for sleeves, furry wings and swimming goggles was always amusing but I remember thinking that when I had children I would NEVER let them pick their own clothes at such a young age.
Well now I do have children and I have arrived at that very moment I was so sure I would have complete control over. My 3 year old daughter Marley has a passion for fashion, accessories and all things pink. She also has an obsession with leggings, which are fine to wear when it’s not 32 degrees outside!
This has happened in the last few months and it started by her getting upset once I had picked out her outfit for the day. I would usually lay them out on her bed and she would come out into the lounge once she was dressed.
Lately she just wouldn’t come out and when I went in to see what was taking so long she would be sitting there with tears in her eyes, Ï don’t like my clothes mummy” it was heartbreaking the first couple of times.
Surely my fashion sense wasn’t so bad I was making my own daughter cry.
I would open her wardrobe and she wold start pulling out one thing while pointing to another. Most of the time the clothes she picked out didn’t make sense weather wise and I would try and explain that to her which then resulted in frustrating and challenging discussions over and over again.
I then discovered if I picked out two or three outfits for her she could the one she wanted to wear and feel like the entire situation was under her control. Adding a tutu to most outfits would also put a smile on her face so off I went to Spotlight, bought a heap of tulle and made her a tutu in every colour imaginable.
I can see she is starting to get her own sense of style and great to watch that side of her develop. Since she loves to accessorize I let her walk out of the house with whatever she wants and although less is more with Marley more is more. I’ve also started doing this when we go clothes shopping.
As long as she has felt like she has made her own choice she is happy.
As parents we have a huge responsibility to raise happy, healthy and well-adjusted children and most of the time we have control over what they eat, where they go and when they sleep. Sometimes in all that control has to be a bit of chaos – you know, to keep the balance of life!
We all want our children to be independent and start making their own decisions as they get older and during this whole process I’ve learned that no matter their age, our kids need to feel like their opinions matter, no matter how crazy!
Words Amardy Baucke
Originally published in Coast Kids