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Part 7 - Outer Limits: Addressing The Issue Of Proocative Dressing

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

As a parent it’s not only your job to know about and monitor your child’s where abouts, but to also know about and monitor your child’s wear abouts.

Your teen’s fashion statement is sending his/her peers a very loud subliminal message, on they may not fully be aware of or want, and most probably one YOU don’t approve of.

Being cool and trendy may be a way of expressing their individuality but it’s your job to make sure that their fashion sense is not void of good, wholesome, practical common sense.

· Understand your child’s motive behind their apparel choices. Some kids merely want to emulate their idols and peers, without necessarily wanting to express the underlying perception or sentiment. Other kids may latch on to a particular style because it represents a belief or value system or group they identify with. Take note of your child’s predisposition, familiarize yourself with his/her motive, and explain the intensity of the impression they are making.

· Stop covering up for your child. Instead demand that she/he cover up. Playing “dress up” may be “cute” for infants, toddlers and very young children, but provocative dressing is NOT cute at any age and for any reason, especially when children are old enough to identify with their sexuality and are blatantly giving off the wrong signals. Be strong in your convictions and honest about your concerns.

· In home training. The best place for your child to learn about appropriate “outside” behavior is in the house. Make sure YOU are always dressed appropriately and that there are certain home guidelines to follow. Do Not allow (except for extenuating circumstances) inappropriate attire in the house, at the dinner table etc., and explain why. This will give your child of what is (socially) acceptable and expected and what is not. Remember to stick by your convictions no matter what your friends or their friends and their families are doing (unless you note it as a marked improvement). Make sure to also establish consequences for breaking and not following the rules.

· Improve YOUR fashion sense. Besides choosing styles that are appropriate for YOU, you may want to learn more about what your child is wearing and why. Certain logos, brands, symbols have specific meanings and affiliations and may signal “danger” for your child. Talk about your child’s wardrobe and set acceptable guidelines and limits that satisfy his/her need for “fitting in” and your desire for an appropriate fit.

· Explain the difference between “attractive”, “alluring” and “sexy”….and identify the boundaries for each. Also, if you don’t want your child behaving or dressing “badly,” don’t give him/her permission to. Refrain from buying her/him fad fashions, and if you offer you child the privilege of shopping on his/her own at the mall with friends, don’t be afraid to set parameters or request that “unacceptable” merchandise be returned (even if he/she is earning an allowance or income).

· Remind your kids that EFFECTIVELY expressing their individuality DOES NOT involve looking like everyone else, especially those with poor judgment or a lack or appropriate fashion sense. Instead encourage your teen to show individuality by daring to be true to themselves and your family values, morals and mores and to be a leader rather than a follower. Remind them that trends weren’t trends or cool, until someone had the guts to “go public” and they caught on.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Part 7 - Outer Limits: Addressing The Issue Of Proocative Dressing

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