Does your child wear bright colors and stripes with checks or polka dots? Does your child add funny accessories to every outfit they put on? Does your child’s appearance often garner some stares or at least interest? Most parents will experience having a child who is a wacky dresser at one point in their life or another. Their child may insist on wearing big poofy princess dresses everywhere they go, or maybe they want to wear bright purple pants, green socks, a red shirt and a yellow scarf. The fact is, having a child who, when dressing themselves, comes up with a fairly wacky outfit is quite common. Most kids have favorite clothes and want to wear them whether or not they go together. So, as a parent what can you do when your child is a wacky dresser?
Most experts would say there is nothing to be done about your wacky dresser and, in fact, they would likely encourage you to let your child express themselves through their clothing, especially if it is not hurting anyone. If your child is wearing clothes that are inappropriate, or that express an inappropriate message such as a tee-shirt with a hand flipping someone off on it, then stepping in is fine. However, if their clothes are simply different, or not what you would have chosen for them, let it go. Your child is expressing themselves through their outfits, and you should be happy that they are not self-conscious, or that they are secure enough in who they are not to care about the stares and whispers.
If you try to force your child into dressing your way, or if you try to curb their self-expression, you are setting yourself up for a strained relationship. Children hate to disappoint their parents; if you show great disapproval in their outfit choice, they will likely try to please you, which, in turn, likely means giving up their unique sense of style, and they may end up feeling like they can’t please you. This can cause anxiety, stress and resentment. You do not want your child to feel that way, especially over something as trivial as an outfit. So, take appearance out of the equation and simply love your child for who they are, in spite of their wacky choice of clothing. Your kid will figure out mainstream style soon enough, and will either start dressing in a way that will make you happy or they will embrace their individuality and choose a style that works for them. Either way, you can be proud that your child is strong enough to choose for themselves.
If you are overly concerned, or simply can’t handle the crazy outfits your child is putting on, then strike a deal with them where they can dress anyway they want for their events, but when accompanying you to grandma and grandpa’s house, your church or some other function, you get to select their clothing. Most kids can handle this and will not feel like you are forcing them to dress a certain way or discouraging their individuality.
Another thing you can do when your child is a wacky dresser is to put a few natural restrictions on how wacky their outfits can get. You do this by purchasing their clothing. If you buy it, you can select items that will go together with everything else they have, thus there is a natural limit to how crazy the outfit can be. If you buy checkered pants and striped shirts, and your child chooses to wear them, you have no one to blame but yourself.