Playing Dress Up

Miniskirt, tube top, kitten heels, and oversized sunglasses. Sounds like a flirty outfit for a night on the town. What about for a six-year-old? Astonishingly, an ensemble similar to this can be seen these days on children under the age of 10 everywhere. While playing dress up with mommy can be harmless, bringing it into everyday fashion can not only be dangerous but damaging down the line to a young girl's self-esteem.

What contributes to the increasing trend of girls dressing sexy at younger ages? Undoubtedly, the media plays an integral part in promoting a particular image or fad thus influencing this fabricated ideal. There is a boundary between classy and fun as opposed to tacky and inappropriate. It seems that line has been blurred more with each generation. Young icons such as Suri,  the daughter of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, have come under scrutiny for their clothes. But being in the public eye does demand a certain level of understanding that you will be viewed and judged by various people for countless reasons, particularly aesthetics.

Television programs like Toddlers & Tiaras are examples of placing importance on external appearance and the perception of beauty rather than focusing on inner beauty and the value of what one already possesses. Flaunting a child who is barely able to speak in attire meant for women in their 20s or older, persuading them to spray tan, and covering their features with an unhealthy amount of makeup is not sending the right message to today�s youth.

Parents can likewise be a key contributor in the way a child dresses. They decide for the first portion of their lives what they will wear and send the message to their children what type of garb is suitable. It’s important to consider how you dress your child today and even how they see you dress since it does make an impact. The short skirts and cut-off tops may be playful in your eyes, but when they hit puberty and are still wearing the same size outfits, you may have a dangerous situation on hand in terms of predators and promiscuity.

What can a parent do to promote a positive mindset about image and self-esteem? The answer is multifaceted, but it always goes back to inner beauty. Even at a young age, stress that no matter what you wear or how you style your hair, your external physical appearance is trivial compared to being beautiful on the inside and loving yourself first. Support being true to oneself and not giving into peer pressure or media perception. Encourage a sense of personal style and do not disregard what your child says about their appearance because it could reveal confidence issues or other underlying topics. Allow them to share what they like about themselves from a personality and character perspective.

Remember, clothes don’t define a person but they can help represent personality and really let your child shine!Images courtesy of,

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