Letting Our Kids Dress Themselves: Tips and Politics

Letting our kids dress themselves is an important step in their development. It’s also a complicated national conversation about girls, stereotypes, and sexist policies.

Among the endless parenting battles we have to choose from at the Battle Buffet is a little one I like to call: OMG GO CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES with a side of DO YOU REALIZE IT’S WINTER?

Of course, choosing what to wear is an important stage in human development.

Honestly, if we didn’t individuate in this particular manner, my mother would have happily continued to provide me with turtlenecks in a rainbow assortment, complete with seasonal adornments – snowmen, stars, whales, anchors, etc.

Meanwhile, my son only wears tee-shirts, and refuses to wear any of the warmer long-sleeved, button-down shirts I continue to hopefully purchase.

(In related news: I have a box of long-sleeved, button-up shirts for sale.)

While girls and boys can be equally stubborn on this front, the national conversation about what girls are wearing complicates this battle for parents of daughters.

Author and blogger over at Rudey’s Room offers a great list of tips for guiding our girls through this developmental stage:

10 Tips For My Daughters on How to Dress Themselves.

Speaking of the national conversation about what girls should — and should not –wear. Rudey calls attention to the fascinating documentary, Shame: A Documentary on School Dress Code, made by 16 year old filmmaker, Maggie Sunseri.

Sunseri made the documentary after being told by the male principal of her school that she was not appropriately dressed. His reasoning?

[su_quote]Certain outfits that [female students] wore created this situation where guys would make inappropriate statements, and there was a distraction to the learning environment based on what some of the folks were wearing at school[/su_quote]

Oh, ok. Cool.


Hang on a quick sec? I’m gonna go smash some things.

Meanwhile, to learn more about Sunseri’s courageous fight, and to understand more about the systemic sexism in our national dress code, read this article from The Atlantic.

Source: Rudey’s Room, The Atlantic