These days you will not see baby girls in pink and baby boys in blue in hospitals as there is a strong wave of non bias behaviour which basically means that there is no bias in how we treat a girl or a boy right from the start when we decide the colour of their clothes and which toys they can play with.
Are children fashion conscious?
Yes they are. Naturally they would be, if they are playing with Barbie dolls and all of her fashion paraphernalia then it is natural that they would want to imitate Barbie’s fashion sense and also want their mothers to be dressed accordingly.
But what about boys? Are they brand conscious? Yes, boys have ‘heroes’ and depending on who their present ‘hero’ is (their heroes keep changing) they would want to emulate the fashion sense of the hero and perhaps also want their fathers to be dressed accordingly.
What impact does dressing up if any have on kids? Their dressing style can impact their confidence, their independence and their comfort level with their body.
In the toddler years, children are very fussy dressers, they take long to dress up, they can be cranky, want to dress up rather slowly whilst being very picky and choosy. Why is that so? According to Maria Monterssori children go through many sensitive periods in the first five years and at age 2 and 3 they go through the sensitive period of order which means they want things in the same manner every day, so if you were making the child wear his left sleeve first and then his right sleeve then it better be the same every day, otherwise you are setting yourself up for an expected tantrum from your child. This sense of order makes them select the same kinds of clothes and sometimes even makes them insist on the same clothes every day, which can be quite frustrating for the adult.
Sensitivity to independence is yet another stage kids go through, where it is all about ‘I will do it myself’ and when they cannot, it results in low self esteem, self doubt and low confidence. At such a stage, the selection of clothes becomes very important, because if a child cannot buckle his/her belt, or cannot button his/her shirt, this will end up frustrating the child to the extent of negatively impacting his/her emotional development.
As kids approach age 6 to 10 years it’s all about socialising and friends become more important and the need to belong overrides all other needs, and it is in this stage that girls especially become very fussy and picky dressers and even insist that their mothers and fathers dress well. “After all all my friends will notice!” So mom’s are told by little girls, ‘I hope you are not coming like that to drop me to school?’ and the mom feels that well, I am not getting down from the car, so I guess it is o.k. but not for your little fashion princess, it matters to her how you dress. Preening in front of a mirror becomes a large part of the activities of the day. Girls especially start noticing models in advertisements and films and want to imitate their fashion sense.
Never force your child to wear something that he or she is uncomfortable in, as it will negatively impact their self esteem. Clothes that are ill fitting, or too stiff, or prick can all make your child uncomfortable, cranky and irritable or just make them feel like crying, either way the occasion is ruined and it leaves a negative impact on the child’s mind. They do not relate it to the clothes, but end up hating similar events. So whether it’s a birthday party, a wedding or an annual program, let your child wear the dress some days prior to the event, at least for an hour to understand whether he/she is comfortable in those particular clothes.
Teenagers have their own fashion sense, and it borders more on attracting or detracting attention based on the emotional state of the adolescent. Some want to blend in with the crowd and will wear exactly what the group wears and others want to be rebels and will wear something that shocks others. Tattoos, belts, body piercing and hair color all become a part of the fashion statement but at this stage they don’t appreciate the same style in their parents. Don’t think that the best way to get close to your teenager is by dying your hair pink and showing up with new tattoos, they may just be the ones to disown you!
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