They have so little choice, really. In their early days we decorate our children as we choose. Eventually it starts to matter to them – a lot. Favorite colors. T-shirts. Boots with ducks on them. Some prefer no clothes at all. We can help our young learners, still unaware of the pressure that will soon follow, understand the basic elements of clothing. Expose the wizard before he can take control.
When kids start school, they are in a demanding life skills lab. In the safety of family, they are loved and celebrated, whatever they do. But now, in the school environment, there are new rules. Looks take center stage. It becomes clear to them that, if they want to be liked and to belong, they need to pay attention to what the other children are doing. Being different has its costs.
As parents we can help our children understand the elements of physical appearance and help them balance utility with uniqueness. As kids continue to grow, we help them weather the challenges of wearing who they are – when who they are is ever-evolving. So, welcome to the high-pressure world of appearance in our children’s lives. Let’s help them understand, celebrate and leverage what their “outsides” – and their friends’ “outsides” really say.