Teenagers and Fashion: Balancing Boundaries And Freedom of Expression
You expect your teenager to find creative ways to express themselves and push boundaries as they learn more about who they are as individuals. Although a natural part of the course, it’s the parent’s responsibility to ensure that things don’t get out of hand. Take clothing, for example. While you may not have a problem with your teen keeping up with the latest trends, you don’t want them wearing anything too provocative.
Unfortunately, this age-old battle gets more complicated with time as modern-day media, trending fashions, and the vast majority of teenagers shine a light on clothing that’s revealing and often not age-appropriate. If you’ve found yourself stuck between allowing your teen to express themselves and setting realistic boundaries, consider these suggestions below.
Determine What’s Off Limits
Sit down and decide what’s off-limits when it comes to style and fashion for your teenager. For example, you may decide that anything revealing your teenaged daughter’s breasts or thighs is out of the question. Another suggestion is to ban any form of clothing with foul language or inappropriate images on it. Once you’ve decided which fashions won’t be tolerated, discuss them with your teen so that they’re aware.
While you don’t want to come off like a warden or someone that doesn’t allow freedom of expression, you do want to ensure they comply with the boundaries you’ve set. If they have issues, hear them out, so you get a clear understanding of where your child is coming from. If they wear or purchase things that go beyond the boundaries you’ve set, give them a gentle reminder. However, if they persist and what they’re wearing is over the top, violates school dress codes, or goes well-beyond what you believe to be appropriate, there need to be consequences.
Give Them Some Wiggle Room
Expecting your teenager to wear turtlenecks and overalls every day isn’t ideal in today’s world. Unfortunately, it can lead to significant ridicule from others and a lowered self-esteem in your children. Too many restrictions can also result in your teenager rebelling. Therefore, give your kids some wiggle room. Go shopping with them so you can see what types of styles and fashions are out there. You should also allow them to select their own outfits (as long as it’s within your boundaries).
As style and fashion go beyond clothes, you can also let your teenager choose their own hairstyles or accessories. For instance, if your teenager wants a low cut, take them to the salon and ensure they have things like hair styling wax for daily maintenance. If they wanted to pierce their belly button, you could compromise with a second ear piercing instead.
Consider A Stylist
If you and your teen are having issues with fashion boundaries, perhaps working with a stylist is ideal. These are industry experts that can provide a third-party opinion. Bring up your list of limitations to the stylist. Then allow them to work with your teen to find a combination of clothes, shoes, and accessories that reflect their personal style.
They can expose your teen to different types of fashions they love that don’t break the boundaries you’ve set. Having an unbias third-party opinion with experience in the fashion industry can often help you and your teen compromise without conflict. If you can’t afford a professional stylist, consider asking a friend or relative that your teen looks up to for assistance.
Lead By Example
As an adult, you have the right to wear whatever you’d like. However, if you’re trying to teach your teenagers how to be expressive yet presentable, you must lead by example. Evaluate your wardrobe to ensure you don’t own clothes that are negative or provocative. If your teen sees you dressing appropriately without compromising your style, they’re more inclined to follow suit.
Parenting a teenager comes with many challenges and awkward moments that you and your child will have to overcome. When it comes to fashion and style, parents must find a balance between setting boundaries and allowing their teens to express themselves. Though it won’t be easy, you can use tips like those provided above to help you come to a compromise that you’ll both be pleased with.