As a parent, there are certain things that we think we can have the final say on. Ultimately, we all think that we’ve got to provide some sort of moral compass for our kids. While they may have the opportunity to make certain decisions for the sake of the household, even down to where to go on vacation, we can certainly feel that when it comes to sartorial choices, we may have to step in for a multitude of reasons. But we have to remember that fashion choices are such a key part of personal expression.
As fathers, navigating this with our daughters can be rewarding and challenging. We need to strike the right balance. So, let’s shed some light on a few things to consider.
Understanding the Importance of Autonomy
Think back to when you were a teenager; what were the things that absolutely drove you insane about your parents? Probably, it was the fact that they wouldn’t let you do anything without seeking their permission.
We have to encourage individuality, especially when it comes to assisting our daughters with fashion choices. We’ve got to recognize that they are unique individuals with distinct preferences, tastes, and styles. For example, some like custom spirit wear from places like Branded Originals to show their support for their school, while others may choose to wear belly shirts or baggy jeans.
So rather than imposing personal preferences, whether it’s ensuring they have blonde straight hair rather than blonde hair with highlights or skirts that go a bit too far above the knee, it’s essential to foster an environment where our daughters can feel empowered to explore and express themselves through their clothing.
We have to ensure that they can do so with our support. If we can give as much support as possible, then there will be much fewer clashes (that tend to be commonplace when your daughter hits her teenage years).
Removing Our Parental Biases When it Comes to Fashion Choices
As fathers, there can be that feeling that they are our little girl. We must remember that we all have those preconceived notions about what is acceptable or appropriate. We have to be progressive as parents; sometimes this means challenging traditional stereotypes and embracing the fact that life does evolve.
Your daughter is going to have transgender friends, lesbian and gay friends, friends with ASD, and so many things that most of us had no concept of as a child or even as a young adult. It’s so important that we remove our biases; that doesn’t just help our children to define their own sense of style but also when we recognize that the world is made up of unique things beyond our comprehension, we are inevitably fostering a more tolerant world.
No doubt, there are many people you encounter who have no concept of anything beyond their psychological remit. Do yourself a favor and start to embrace a wider range of mindsets beyond what you think you understand, especially when it comes to fashion.
Deliberating the Debate of Age-Appropriate Attire
It could be easy for us to have the final say and just put our foot down when something doesn’t look right. There are times when we are within our rights to make this decision. Age-appropriateness is one of those key factors when it comes to guiding fashion choices. Fathers need to be attuned to current trends, but they also need to have a better understanding of societal norms and appropriateness based on different age groups.
The biggest battle you will have is when your daughter’s friends wear things that aren’t age-appropriate, but we must balance style with modesty. This becomes increasingly important as daughters navigate through different life stages. As our children become more confident and discover romance in whatever form, they soon start dressing in a way you may not be able to comprehend.
Style is one thing, and modesty is something else; we must combine the two. If we can encourage modesty and dressing appropriately, this also can give them a better understanding of what message they are sending out to the world.
Many people dress revealingly for a simple reason: to attract people, but we have to nurture that sense of self-confidence from within. It’s not just about how they look that will dictate whether they can get a romantic suitor or not.
If we encourage that sense of confidence from within combined with that age appropriateness that is so important. In that case, it will hopefully bring about the best of both worlds, making them feel more confident in themselves and also ensuring that you don’t start an argument with your child because of a skirt being too short.
Fashion is about confidence more than clothing. Instilling a sense of self-assurance will help our daughter make fashion choices that align with their comfort levels and personality.
If, as fathers, we actually spend time understanding how our daughters feel and addressing senses of inadequacy or what they think is appropriate, we’re not just helping them make more informed choices about their fashion and encourage confidence, but it’s going to build that relationship between both father and daughter.
This is something that we have to remember is so important because there is that special bond between father and daughter. The father can be overly protective, and it’s easy to see why because it taps into our innate sense of wanting to provide and protect.
Our daughters are their own people, and therefore we must remember that confidence is the one thing that’s going to carry them throughout life because we won’t be there to protect them every step of the way. Trust me, confidence is everything.
Balancing the Notion of Independence and Protection
While fathers want to shield daughters from judgment or criticism, we’ve got to foster that sense of independence. We had a very simple goal as parents: to make our children ready to navigate the world fully rounded.
The goal is simple, but getting there is incredibly complex. We’ve got to think about how to help them assert their independence, and partly, this is about providing a supportive foundation.
If our children can come home feeling like they need to rest and recover from the conflicts of the world, by the time the next day rolls around, they will be able to go back out there again. We have done a good job of creating a stable family environment.
Of course, it’s not always as cut and dry as that, but if we ensure we give them as much support as possible and help them remember that we are there for them, this will get that balance between protecting them and encouraging independence.
It can be so easy to be a helicopter parent, but this doesn’t achieve the results we’re after in any way. Being overprotective of your children at such a young age means that they won’t have an understanding of what the world is like, and this means that when they encounter those inevitable conflicts, it’s going to knock them for six. Take a step back before you think you need to take a step in.
Don’t Forget Communication
One of the cornerstones of a healthy father-daughter relationship in any way is communication. This is particularly important concerning fashion.
As parents, it can be tempting to feel disconnected from our children’s fashion choices and trends. We may perceive ourselves as uncool or out of touch, but we must accept this and not let it bother us too much. Our kids will often argue that we don’t comprehend their experiences, but we must remember that we had similar conflicts with our own parents in the past.
This is why, beyond fashion, we need to create a safe space where our daughters can feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. We need to promote understanding and help ourselves be a moral compass.
Helping our daughters to understand the bigger picture with regard to a fashion choice like a short skirt can ultimately help them to determine if it’s the right thing.
It is very easy for us to step in and say “no,” but one of the most important lessons is to not talk down to our children, but rather encourage them to see every single permutation of a decision. The final choice is theirs.
As parents, we may sometimes feel that we struggle to express ourselves clearly and connect with our teenage daughters. Despite this, it is never too late to work on building a better relationship with them. We can start with small but meaningful steps, such as engaging in age-appropriate conversations and showing our willingness to listen. By doing so, we can remind our daughters that we are always there for them and strengthen our bond with them over time.
The Importance of Boundaries
We have to establish some form of guidelines that line up with our family values. Fashion is, ultimately, a balance between personal expression and respectable boundaries. There is a reason why your daughter will do something behind your back, and it’s because they know you’re not going to like it.
Therefore, if you help them to develop their own moral compass as well, but also when you are setting boundaries explaining why they’re not allowed to wear a certain item, this can hopefully create a more productive approach.
Ultimately, fashion is diverse, and tastes can vary, so we need to embrace and support these versatile fashion choices, show some empathy, but also remember that there will be conflicts along the way.