Helping your Pre Teen Make Good Clothing Choices

Pre-teens may have very different ideas about clothing choices. Some pre-teens will be very clothes conscious whereas other pre-teens will wear anything. A pre-teen child may have his own innate sense of style that conflicts with the parents’ choices, or not think about clothes or style at all. The pre-teen may also feel pressure to conform either from parents or their peers or both, which can create conflict if not handled well by the parent.

Generally, however, parents will try to guide their children into good clothing choices, by purchasing their idea of what is the right thing to wear for their child. When going shopping they will be very active in helping the child pick out what the child likes, but also making sure that what the child likes is appropriate.

It is very important that the parent give the pre-teen child some input into choosing what they like, since a pre-teen child is beginning to notice what their peers are wearing. However, the parent should be very subtle in guiding their pre-teen to the right choice.

Appropriate clothing style

Parents can discuss with their pre-teen, clothing styles the pre-teen might like and also discuss clothing styles that make the pre-teen look attractive but also respectable. Pre-teens should not be wearing sexually provocative clothes that would tend to entice the opposite sex, since the pre-teen is not ready for this type of interaction.

Also the pre-teen should be made aware of styles that are appropriate for the pre-teen’s figure. Short and petite pre-teens will need to wear a different style than the tall and slender pre-teen or the stocky and robust pre-teen. Also price must be considered when purchasing clothes and this needs to be discussed very thoroughly with the pre-teen, since the pre-teen may have no conception whatever of how price matters when buying clothes. This matter may rest solely on the economic status of the family.

Economic considerations

A low-income family may only be able to buy a few new clothes each year and might depend on hand-me-downs from family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors; or hand-me-downs within the immediate family such as if there are three sisters all two years apart. Pre-teens may balk at this idea, but then financial considerations will have to be discussed. However this can get sticky, because no matter how poor a family is, children may still not understand why they can’t have what they see their peers wearing. They might not understand your buying clothes at the best sales you can find, or buying clothes at the thrift shop, or wearing hand-me-downs.

This can unfortunately be a difficult situation for the parent of a pre-teen, but persevere. Try choosing the best items you can find when going to sales and thrift shops. Instill early on values in your child about going to sales and thrift shops; and that way when the child goes into pre-teen mode he won’t feel so let down.

The higher income family will not be worried as much about paying lower prices for clothes but even higher income families purchase clothes from thrift shops and on sale in order to save money. So with the higher income family there might be more of an emphasis on style, and the parent of a pre-teen who has the income to afford the best should also make sure to guide the pre-teen into good clothing choices. Higher income families may have a value system that supports buying clothes at lower prices or even wearing hand-me-downs. Depending on the pre-teen’s idea of clothing and the value system they have inherited from their family, the pre-teen will either indulge the values of the parent or rebel against them.

Rebellion may dictate clothing choice

Rebellion in pre-teens can often reflect itself in the clothing the pre-teen is willing to wear. The parent might have to do battle with the will of the child who as a pre-teen is beginning to assert his independence. This is where the parent must be very subtle and not be too demanding about preference, allowing the pre-teen to pick their own clothes with their allowance but with subtle guidance.

Pre-teens will be influenced by what their peers are wearing, what is advertised in the media, and fads. It is important to steer the pre-teen away from fads since fads will only be popular for a very short time.

Different cultures such as the hip hop crowd, the rock crowd, and punks will wear different styles of clothing. And the designers and stores cater to these groups, but parents are wise if they can steer their pre-teen toward a style that fits in everywhere with just a change of jewelry or other accessories to indicate the group preference. This way the pre-teen has room to change their opinions as they grow and mature into adulthood, and begin to more fully assert their style and personality in the clothes they wear.  

In conclusion, parents should guide their pre-teen with as much finesse and candor as possible into the right clothing choices, based on their own values of what is right to wear and based also on what the pre-teen would like to wear, while also making socially acceptable and presentable clothing choices. Both the parent and pre-teen should feel equally successful in their final clothing choice.