First and foremost, don’t dress them funny, particularly as they get older.
Growing up, I knew a girl who, in hindsight, probably had other issues, causing her to be awkward. But her parents also apparently had issues … with her growing up. Far into high school, while the rest of us wore the tightest jeans we could slither into and concert t-shirts, they dressed her in Toughskins, the children’s jeans from Sears.
That didn’t help.
There is a nice-looking, sweet boy who has had a crush on my high-school-age daughter since middle school. She has no interest in him. “Ma, it looks like his mother dresses him,” she says.
I happen to know that his mother does dress him. She says she’s saving money. Perhaps she thinks she is teaching him to dress “properly.” She sends him to school in pants hiked up to his armpits, held in place with a grandpa belt.
She is doing him no favors.
I’m not saying you have to let your daughter dress like a pole dancer or that there’s no room to point out that sweatpants are not appropriate for a wedding. But you have to give your child some freedom in their clothing choices. And sometimes, you even have to nudge them to start paying attention.
If they wear ridiculous designer jeans (as I did in the 80s) or way-too-big jeans (as my daughter’s male classmates do now), it’s doesn’t mean civilization is about to end.
That said, years from now, when your children are looking at pictures of themselves wearing the fashions of the day, they are going to turn to you and wail, “How could you let me wear that?”
Sorry. That just goes with the territory.