When your kids are little, it might seem like older adults are always telling us how quickly they’re going to grow up, a pretty frustrating statement to someone who is knee-deep in building blocks, princess dolls, and laundry. “Are you kidding?” you might think, smiling politely, “This day was a thousand hours long!” The truth is, though, that one day we all wake up to look at the tweens and teens in our home and wonder where our toddlers have disappeared to. Wasn’t it only yesterday that we were potty-training and packing lunch-boxes full of carrot sticks and goldfish crackers? Who are these giants?
If you’re among the recently inducted into the world of adolescent parenthood, you may have noticed that your kids are also acquiring new tastes and opinions. Strong opinions. And one of the realms in which they tend to have a lot of concrete ideas is the world of fashion and style. We’ve all been adolescents ourselves, of course, and can probably recall wanting a certain outfit, hair style, or pair of shoes. Is your tween scrolling the fashion-focused sections of Tik Tok? Are they cutting up their t-shirts, begging to dye their hair, and chronically borrowing clothing from siblings or friends? That’s great! It means they’re coming into their own style and learning what makes them feel great. Our job, as parents, is to uplift our adolescents, to help them pursue their passions. If your kid has a passion for fashion, here are a few ways to do just that.
Recognize that fashion is everywhere.
Far from being the domain of runways and the Met Gala, your teens or tweens have probably noticed that fashion is everywhere. On social media, in local shops, on TV shows, in movies; it’s everywhere you look. This is great news, because it means that you can make fashion an opportunity for family time! Watch shows like Making the Cut together and talk about which outfits you prefer and why. Ask them to show you Fashion Tik Toks that they find especially cool. You’ll be taking part in their journey to honing a sense of self expression, and you might just learn a few things along the way!
Set fashion parameters with your tween.
Even as you strive to support your tween’s newfound love of all things style and fashion, you’re still the parent and there have to be some rules. Most of us can’t afford to buy new Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent pieces on a regular basis; even to be a daily thrift shopper is an investment. Plus, there are almost certainly items you’d prefer your kids not wear until they were a bit older. To avoid butting heads with a strong-willed teen or tween, consider making it a conversation. Explain why you’re putting budgetary or other restrictions on their fashion purchases, and set expectations together. Maybe they can buy more if they do more chores, or you decide that any hair styling has to be done by a professional. Whatever the parameters, you’ll find them easier to enforce if they’re decided upon together.
Help them learn about their passion for fashion.
What better way to support a tween’s love for clothing than to sign them up for a fashion design course? This kind of extracurricular activity is great in myriad ways. Your kid will learn the basics of fashion design, allowing them more avenues for self expression. Plus, they’ll be spending time with others who have a similar set of interests. For an added bonus, they’ll know you’re serious about encouraging them to pursue what they love. At fashion class they’ll learn how to design and make garments. Seeing their ideas come to life is a truly special experience.
Entering this new phase of parenthood can be unnerving. Don’t fret! Having older kiddos is just an opportunity to learn more about the wonderful people they’re becoming. In some cases, uplifting your fashion-forward tweens can be a beautiful way to get even closer.