12 January 2006

Dad-daughter shopping tips

In: 6+ Years

Dennis in Eugene, OR wrote us a lovely email full of tips he's collected as his daughter has grown. Here's one about clothes shopping during the middle kid years (7-11):

Whenever my daughter and I shopped I would point out something I liked and she would make a gagging sound or roll her eyes. It didn't seem to matter what I pointed out, the result was the same. Clothes shopping became a power struggle and was definitely not fun. One day I decided that we would go to a few stores AND NOT BUY ANYTHING. We would just show each other the kinds of clothes we liked and talk about why each of us liked or disliked them. It was so liberating! I learned a ton about her tastes and she learned something about my concerns about clothes being functional, easy to care for, etc. Ever since then all of our shopping trips have been fun. I think the secret was to eliminate the pressure so that we could both look at the selections objectively and learn each others tastes and considerations.

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I have two kids, a thirteen year-old boy and a ten year-old girl. Both have their own sense of fashion, their own wants and needs. I find that the best present I can give myself is to let go of my needs in favor of meeting theirs. I take them shopping, but they get to wear what they want. Very rarely will they pick something out that will lead to a headache, and when that happens, I tell them first that I respect them and their choices, and then I let them know of my concern. Lastly, I allow them to make the decision. They *always* act respectfully to me when this happens and they almost always see things my way. And when they don't, they take the time to explain it to me, and I take the time to be a respectful listener. And, invariably, they teach me a thing or two.

I just saw my future x2 (currently have 3 year old twin girls).

It's an excellent piece of advice. Even at three years old I find it much easier to deal with my kids when I can redirect problems away from a power struggle and towards a conversation.

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