You can’t believe a lie, build your parenting strategy on that lie and expect to get successful results. It’s important that you think deeply and creatively about any philosophy an “expert” tries to push on your family.
I have a problem with the current psychological instruction that parents should keep quiet and allow their children to “follow” every nonsense their peers dream up – especially if it’s related to clothes or their social imprint. Their logic is that clothes or following the crowd isn’t who they really are. It doesn’t make any difference what they look like, how they talk or even who they strive to be like. So…why not follow the crowd?
Until a person is 18 they are building a “framework” of thoughts that will follow them the rest of their lives. If you don’t teach them to be who they are, to be strong individuals and to be leaders – when they are young….they probably won’t develop it.
A person’s clothing is a statement of “who they are”. That doesn’t change when you are an adult. When I choose the color blue because it matches my eyes, it’s a statement to others that I like blue. Wearing colors or styles that represent “me” is an embedded response that becomes a habit and will follow me throughout my life.
When you don’t ask your child to think deeply about his clothing, you are essentially saying:
“I approve of you being one of the crowd. Even though this style doesn’t say anything about your wants, it certainly doesn’t represent who you are, and it doesn’t compliment your body….I approve of you being a follower. I also approve of your choice to blend, keep quiet and never be a leader. It’s much more important for you to act with blind mob mentality than to stand strong, have a voice and make a difference.”
“Oh Debbie…..get serious…..I’m not saying that.”
When a first grader can’t go to school with a certain backpack or an overweight teen girl puts on a tube top because it’s what everyone else is wearing…..that’s exactly what you are saying. When a nerdy guy wears droopy pants because he wants to be part of the crowd – he’s denying his own ability to out think the bozo’s in that crowd.
We need strong leaders in this country. We need adult men and women that are willing to go against the mob, against the current train of thought and say – “No!” We need pioneers like Edison, Ford and even Columbus who are willing to say, “I don’t care how many people think the earth is flat – I know it’s round and I’ll prove it!”
When you allow your child to fade into the sea of group mentality, you lose the chance to help your child become the leader our country so desperately needs. Most children like to scream and fuss about fads saying, “You can’t make me stand out. I’ll be a laughing stock. If I don’t wear the current fad, no one will like me. I’ll look like a freak.”
So…you let them wear it. And by doing so, you embed a subconscious thought. “I need the approval of other people. I have to accept every opinion they have even if it’s about my own preferences or looks. It doesn’t matter if their demands makes me look bad, I can’t go against the crowd. My looks, the way I dress and group approval is far more important than my mind, my abilities or my own likes.”
So why as parents are we shocked when that same child can’t buck the crowd mentality to say no to drugs or alcohol? Why are we frustrated when that child becomes an adult and can’t “find” himself. We’ve allowed him to hide in the crowd since the beginning of his social life. Of course he’s going to fail the first time he tries to assert his individuality. Choosing to fight against parents is not a sign of individuality. When teen rebellion is selective and only against parents, it’s usually group mentality that’s been allowed to invade your home.
Yes, you have to allow some blending to build proper social self-esteem. Be careful! That blending must fit within the context of talents and true beauty. When your child becomes too worried about what others think or say – you may be parenting a follower – not a leader.
- Begin as early as possible.
- Be verbal about style and what it says about the person wearing it.
- Take the time to get expert advice for your child. Provide good books or take them to a fashion consultant that can help them find their own beauty.
- Be a leader yourself.
- If your clothes don’t reflect who you are and give your world the best impression of you – change.
- Encourage your child to find his/her path to individuality by developing a God given talent. The best way to have “real” popularity is to be the best at your talent. It will bring success in childhood and in your adult life.
- Teach your child to not be afraid of other people. The mob mentality will always try to bring you down. While avoiding bullies – it’s also important to refuse to allow friends to keep you from being who you really are.
- Teach your child that being who you are is always the most important fight for justice that he/she will ever have.