Teen Wardrobe

There comes a time when our teenagers stop letting us pick out their clothing. For many parents, it’s a sad day, but we must carry on and allow them to become their own people. Our young girls and boys are growing up, and clothing makes a huge statement in their everyday lives. This article is all about stepping back and giving them the reins without losing total control of their image.

Set a Budget

Part of letting them choose their own wardrobe is teaching fiscal responsibility. If you set a budget and make them stick to it, they suddenly become aware of how much that designer set of jeans costs. True, this might result in less clothing than you expected them to purchase, but they will learn to use the money responsibly before they are adults. There’s no recommended budget for shopping. Just give them what you’ve set aside and ask to see the receipts.

Outline Your Expectations

While it doesn’t matter much in the summer, during the school year, they need to meet the dress code. This means you need to let them know what you are willing to pay for. Read up in the school handbook about what’s allowed and what isn’t, and make a list for them when they go shopping. Don’t be scared to walk them inside and help them return an unacceptable item. You will only have to do this once or twice before they get the point. If you think I’m referring to girls only, I’m not. Boys can be just as guilty of choosing clothing that goes against the dress code.

Set Up An Allowance

If they want to purchase items outside of school or things you won’t necessarily agree with or deem too expensive, have them do some chores and save up for those purchases. Yes, this might mean they are running around in shorts a bit too short or pants a bit too baggy, but they are people, too, and they need to have some control of their lives.

Be Fair and Firm

It can be hard to let go. You have been choosing their clothing for years. Part of giving them a choice is compromising. It’s still your money, even if they are spending it. If you are fair and firm, you will feel better about giving them their freedom, and they will know what you expect from them before they walk out the door.

Don’t Shame Their Choices

Before you judge your teenager for the way they dress, spend a few hours strolling through Instagram. It can be difficult to see your child growing into an adult, wearing tighter clothing than you’re used to, but this is today’s normal. I’m not telling you to let them wear whatever they want if it’s highly problematic. I’m simply saying you can strike a good compromise and recognize that you might be struggling with their changing body just as much as they are. If you shame them, it can have lasting effects on their self-image.