Having children can often be a daunting experience but at the end of the day, after all the tears and dirty nappies, it is all worth it. One of the reasons why it is such a rewarding experience is perhaps not openly acknowledged, but we are all guilty of it: the joy of dressing up our children! Whether it is adorable little baby-grows, dressing the little boys in the exact same outfit as their dad, or dressing them in teddy bear costumes, there is something so heartwarming about the whole experience. However, a new school of thought is changing this experience and begging the question; should we let our children decide what they want to wear?
Obviously this isn’t such an issue when they are very young, but you reach a point at a surprisingly early age, where your child is keen to make the wardrobe decisions. Do you leave it up to them and risk the awful choices and whiny outbursts later in the day when they are too hot or too cold, or do you maintain control until they are teenagers? The world is changing every day and discipline has had a complete makeover in the last 100 years. There are no maids picking out suitable outfits for the day’s events, and our children are expected to grow up knowing who they are. Part of that identity is created through what they wear, so when should we let them exercise their ability to create this identity through clothing?
The idea behind this practice of letting the children choose their outfits is that it creates the strength of independence from a young age. It is thought that the old method of strict discipline and complete parental control until adulthood restricts individuality and creativity in children and can therefore affect them later in life. While this makes sense in theory, is it a practical option? Leave a young child in a room with a wardrobe full of choice and you will quickly end up in a fancy dress party. So how old should your child be before you allow them complete control of the wardrobe?
Give your little girl or boy free reign over their outfit for the day at too young an age and it will result in long delays and stressful mornings. Not to mention, it will also rob you of the joy of buying all those adorable outfits. The best thing to do is to find a compromise. Offer your child an option of suitable dresses or trousers for the day and let them make the final decision. This way you won’t be left carrying around sensible clothes all day, waiting for them to realise they are too cold, but you will be able to tell when they are old enough to make the decision all on their own.
If you've been through it all, what has your experience been?
Any tips you can share for other parents?
Susie and Toto Ltd
10 Childers Street, SE8 5PT, London
Tel: +44 (0) 203 239 1185 // email: email@example.com
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