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I Have Nothing to Wear to School

by Tania Cowling | April 10th, 2014 | School, Tweens

clothes shoppingHow many times have you heard this statement from your Tween? It’s been an issue too many times in my home, mostly with my daughter. The boys were happy with a few special shirts and jeans, but my daughter kept moaning that she was a total outcast because she didn’t have the “in” clothes like the other girls had. What’s a parent to do? The first, and maybe most important step in dealing with this situation, is to acknowledge your Tween’s feelings. Yes, I know as a parent that we sometimes view these feelings as trivial or over dramatic. For Tweens, being the same as their peers is very important.

As a mother, you may want to teach your daughter that her inner beauty shines brighter than what she wears, or, how to resist the bombardment from advertisers, but in the end, this isn’t realistic at this age. Being “cool” is up at the top of importance. And, I also don’t want to imply that a good parent will go out and buy everything her Tween wants to see a smile on her face. There must be a way to show love and understanding without spoiling the child.

Think of this issue as being an opportunity to help your Tween develop some skills in problem solving, planning, and money management. Give her some independence in her dressing; however you can still have the veto power when it comes to sexually suggestive clothing. Try some of these ideas below as you capitalize on this teachable moment.

  • Sit down with the family for a lesson in finances. Decide what is acceptable as a clothing allowance, whether monthly or quarterly. If you have more than one child, factor this into the budget. Support your Tween in learning to get the most product for her money. Why not pick up a book on how to stretch your clothing budget, showing how to mix and match outfits?
  • Help your Tween prioritize what she needs most to be in style. Explain that this new wardrobe will not happen at once, but she can build her clothing line piece by piece. She can put extra items on a wish list for birthdays or holidays, or even find ways to earn more clothing allowance by doing extra chores or little jobs like babysitting. Teaching children to work for something they want teaches them a lesson in delaying gratification and earning money — something we all need to learn in life.
  • Then, teach her how to do comparison shopping to show her where to find the same product at the best price. Make a plan to visit  several stores or look in catalogs or on the Internet. Compare price and quality before making a purchase. Remember, impulse shopping can put any shopper in the red!

And the bottom line is to stick with your plans. These lessons in economics, planning, and responsibility go down the drain if you give into dramatic pleading. Yes, it’s hard as a parent to disappoint your Tween, but stay strong. These lessons will be appreciated later down the road of life.

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