Tag Archives: Clothing Wars

X-RATED DRESSING WARS

Battles over what one wears are common between generations.  Some are more serious than others.  This post offers parent advice about when to draw the line.

IMAGE BY: CAFE PRESS

As a foster parent dealing with kids in trouble with the law, major Gotcha War broke out when I confiscated because they advertised breaking the law.  I am referring to anything that  hawked beer or promoted drugs; mainly tee shirts, but also lots of marijuana leaf jewelry – naive parents thought these were palm trees. Once upon a time I was that naive.   Parents are people; teens have their  own ways of communicating often designed to keep parents on the outside.

My war against drinking and drugging clothing and jewelry ads almost always provoked a temper tantrum.  Moreover, almost the temper tantrum was almost always included outraged calls to parents, social workers, or probation officers. Often the adults supported me. Sadly some of the adults  vehemently protested my confiscations.

Such items are advertisements and adults who wear them are making a proclamation but not necessarily breaking the law.  Also some use such shirts to protest drug laws. Their right.

For teens, however,  such items announce to other youth that the wearers are willing to party hard.  All my kids were under sixteen so  partying hard was also breaking the law; any who partied with them were doing the same. A parent who does not protest is a parent colluding or agreeing that it is okay for teens to party hard.

I had fewer problems with provocative dress, but that was in the 70’s.  Today, te fashion industry and media stars have pushed the boundaries beyond most parent’s endurance.  So what follows are some quick tips about X-Rated dressing.

Parent advice about x-rated dressing wars

Tip one: Start early to teach rules for what can been worn where.  Different clothes are proper for different times, different places.

Tip two: Abide by those rules.

Tip three: Do not sexualize children.  I froth at the mouth when I think of stuff like Tiaras for Tots.

Tip four: If the teen years are upon you and you have not abided by the above rules above, apologize,  Next  remind the teen that you have only a few years left  to guide them into adulthood.  This means, you are going to straighten up and do the right thing.  You are going to get tougher about some things.  Then set one clothing rule – no clothes that advertise drinking, drugging, or  sexual availability.

Tip five: To aid in enforcing the rule, figure out what you spend on clothes and provide your child with a clothing allowance.  Anything bought that does not fit the rule is confiscated and no money given for a replacement.

STAY STRONG

Life with teens is rarely easy, but most parents and most teens make it through those years bridging in one piece.  Most all  look back and find much to be grateful for,  a few things to laugh about. and some things to forgive

To make it through the tougher times, start practicing my Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises.  You can get a free copy of those exercises by clicking here. For more details about staying strong as a parent buy any one of my E-books by going to my author’s page and scrolling down to the E-books.You don’t need a kindle to read ebooks from Amazon. You can download a free Kindle reader to your computer when you buy the book. If you buy one of my books, please review it.  Reviews matter.

Remember, all advice needs to be personally tailored.  My advice draws on my knowledge as a therapist and my personal experiences as a parent and foster parent.  I hope you find it helpful, but as with all advice, take what both your heart and your head agree will work for you.  Leave the rest.

As always thank you for following me. If you know someone else who will benefit from my thoughts, forward this to them. Liking, commenting, and sharing are other ways you can help me stay strong and spread some ideas others might find helpful.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, and give lots of love, be grateful, live now, have lots of luck.

Katherine

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA. If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.

Advertisements

GOOD KIDS AND THE CLOTHING WARS

Goth, saggy,  slutty, or grimy, teens dress to make a statement to parents, to self, to the world. Parents roar and war, but never win these battles.

IMAGE FROM  GOTHAM Resistance

When your teen begins to battle your dress code, you are to be congratulated and pitied. Congratulated as the battle announces that your child has become strong enough to flutter away from the nest and seek his or her place in  the real world.

Pitied, because for some leaving the nest means not just clothing wars but what feels like a never-ending Gotcha War in which no one wins.  To prove independence the child has to fight you and the crazier you can be made to feel, the more the child feels not obeying you is okay.

The clothing wars are often the first step to independence.  Like a fledgling bird must exchange the downy feathers for the adult coloring and feathers, so the teen has to flout new ways of appearing. Unfortunately, nature gives human children choice, baby birds have to dress as their parents dress.

Clothes are uniforms and announce your place in the world. Look across the pages of history and know that the crowns and jewels of kings and queens, and announced their place to the all around them. Only royals were allowed to wear certain colors or use certain fabrics.

It goes on today. Doctors don white lab coats and stethoscopes to announce their place within hospital walls. Business men get called suits because in many cases a business require employees to wear suits. The saggers–depicted above — are announcing their allegiance to a culture of rebellion against authority.

The uniforms your kid picks announce one of three possibilities:

  1. the group s/he actually belongs to;
  2. the group s/he aspires to belong to;  or
  3. that s/he is going along to get along.

Adults usually dress in accordance with the third possibility and that is how most parents want their child to dress, but with a bit of judgement about context and who s/he is trying to get along with.

The shooters at Columbine announced who they were with their long black coats.  Their rage was the rage of outsiders against those who had rejected them.  They were good kids doing evil. Fortunately, most good kids do not kill in their efforts to establish an identity.

When parents take the dress issue too seriously, however, the parents end up prisoners of their own needs.  So this is the first of two posts about how to deal with the Clothing Wars.  Today’s post is about adopting the right attitude. Wednesday’s post will deal with specific advice about clothing rules and how to enforce them.

PARENT ADVICE ABOUT THE DRESS WARS

Tip one: Benign amusement is the most effective attitude to adopt when your child begins brokering for a particular uniform. Attitude means facial expression, tone of voice, word choice. Depending on your attitude, the following can be mortal wounds, or irritating mosquito bits.

“Joining the saggers, huh? Tell me why they appeal to you.”
“Ahhh, jock wear. Tell me why wearing your sweats all the time works for you.”
“Going goth, I see. Tell me how that appeals to you.”
“Moving a bit to the slutty side with that. Tell me how you think that will win you love.”
“Not showering or wearing deodorant? Tell me who you are trying to chase away?”

You want the mosquito bite effect because you want your child to think, but you don’t want mortal wounds because the leave lasting scars, build resentment and harden your child’s will to fight.

Tip two: Learn soft face; it is key in projecting a benign caring. Soft face means  forehead relaxed, eyebrows not pulled together, eyes open, chin and jaw relaxed, mouth almost smiling.

Tip three: find a slogan or snatch of a song that reminds you this is your child,  who is moving through a phase and your love will strengthen her or him to make the right choices.

  • “Testing wings.”
  • “Just a phase.”
  • “Now is not forever.”

Tip four: Practice attitude messages in the mirror and with another adult, until you actually feel mostly loving and benign when thinking about the clothes you hate to see on your precious child.

Tip five: Use minimal response (see my various writing on the Gotcha Wars. These include using gentle non-verbal clue of concern. Raised eyebrows are useful. A brief painful “Are you kidding me” look is useful when clothes are reaching the “Can’t wear that” point.

Tip six: Figure out where your bottom line is and read Wednesday’s post about how to go about gaining cooperation for compliance.

STAY STRONG

I assume if you are reading this, you are somewhat concerned and may already be involved in a Gotcha War over clothes. I hope this post has been helpful.

Here is my thank you or welcome to the my blog gift – a quick introduction to The Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises. Learning them will help you stay calmer so your can keep up a caring attitude.

For more details about staying strong as a parent buy any one of my E-books.

If you buy any of my books, please review it either where you bought it or on this through the comments on this blog.

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA. If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.

As always thank you for following me. If you know someone else who will benefit from my thoughts, forward this to them. Liking, commenting, and sharing are other ways you can help me stay strong and spread some ideas others might find helpful.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, and give lots of love, be grateful, live now, have lots of luck.