The Right Way to Tackle Wardrobe Wars with Teens

You may have been overseeing your teen’s wardrobe for as long as you can remember, but don’t be surprised if she suddenly starts clamoring to get control of her clothing. According to Susan Stiffelman, a licensed psychologist, clothing is not just a way of establishing a unique identity for tweens and teens, it also makes them feel independent. Unfortunately, asserting autonomy in fashion choices does not end up well for most teens as they start to follow fashion blindly without realizing the consequences of their choices. This compels parents to intervene, giving rise to a hostile environment and frequent exchange of unpleasantries at home. If you want to avoid this situation, then you have to make some smart parenting moves. Let’s look at a few parenting tips that can help you maintain peace with your teen while keeping her away from questionable fashion choices.

Set Some Limits to Avoid Conflict

The first and foremost thing you must do is define decency. When it comes to wardrobe, your teen should know what is acceptable and what’s considered indecent. This will help you in avoiding conflicts. According to Kate Gustafson from Bingham Farms who is mother to a teenage daughter, setting rules like no see-through, nothing above the knee, no skirts, etc. is good as it gives teens a rough idea what is expected of them when it comes to dressing properly. She believes that creating limits allow teens to be modern without wearing dresses that are inappropriate for their age group. In addition to setting rules, parents should avoid getting stuck in modern day no-no’s of fashion. Let your teen wear anything she wants, whether it is in fashion or not, as long as it is appropriate and she looks good and feels comfortable in it.  

Give Advice, Not Orders

This is the important part. Teens do not like it when parents give orders as this bossy attitude makes them feel inferior. However, they feel inclined to listen to you if you change your tone. Replace anger and rudeness with love and care. That’s all you need to make teens listen to you. If they are wearing something inappropriate, then do not ask them to change the dress right away. Instead, start an informal conversation with a few words of praise and then come to the point. Statements like “this looks good, but I think the black shirt we bought last weekend will look better”, “this color suits you, but don’t you think it’s a bit short?”, “you are looking good in this dress, but I am afraid it is a bit inappropriate to wear it at night” can actually do wonders. The secret is to make teens feel that you are concerned about their looks and beauty and that you are just giving them a genuine advice while leaving the final decision in their hands. It is all about using human psychology to your advantage. It is in teens’ psyche that they resist anything that parents try to impose on them. It is only with love and care that you can avoid wardrobe conflicts.

Choose Your Battles Wisely

You must understand that what your teens wear is not something worth fighting over.  There are bigger issues you need to focus on such as drugs, alcohol, sex, and much more. In other words, you have to put your energies in what matters the most. For instance, you should make an extra effort to make sure your teen does not end up mixing with a bad company or becoming friends with someone who can harm them. In other words, choose your battles wisely.

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