Dressing to Impress – Herself


I was a bit nervous sending my daughter off to school this morning. Not for the reasons you might think given the latest school tragedy, I’ll be addressing that in due course once I’ve had time to process it a bit more, but because I was afraid of what my wife was going to say when she saw how I had allowed her to leave the house.


dressed to impress
short sleeve over a long sleeve, why not?


She’s always been fiercely independent, her first complex sentence uttered being “I’ll do it myself!” It’s a quality that is equal parts impressive and frustrating. It’s encouraged as much as is reasonable but the fact is, there is actually very little that she is able to choose for herself. The amount of autonomy enjoyed at six years old is pretty much limited to what brand of cereal you want for breakfast and what crafts you want to make a mess of while daddy is watching sports.

So I try and let her pick her own outfits and hairstyles, offering suggestions and trusting that there really isn’t a lot in her wardrobe that is going to be too cringe worthy of a combination. She really didn’t need one but we went for a haircut this past weekend, sent her with a ponytail sticking straight up on her head one day, red spray dye staining her scalp on Valentine’s Day.


Dressed to impress
not sure what she wanted cut, but whatever


Her teacher thinks she’s cute, refers to her as a “modern day Punky Brewster”, a character from a mid-80’s sitcom that I was somewhat surprised she was old enough to reference. For those of you not familiar, the titular child is a clever, spunky foster child with a penchant for very brightly colored clothing and vibrant self expression.

It’s also that self expression that I want to encourage, that confidence. It won’t be that many years before outside influences are going to start to challenge the way that she looks at herself, pressures to dress and and to look a certain way. The time to build a wall against the potential impact of these is now, to make sure that she continues to feel like the only person that she needs to impress, the only opinion that matters regarding her appearance is her own.

Imagine how liberating it must be to always think that you look good, to never have it cross your mind to worry about or even consider the judgments of others.

She won’t be hearing any different from me.




28 thoughts on “Dressing to Impress – Herself”

  1. When my kids were growing up I use to think that as long as it was not permanent, like a tattoo, it was okay. My kids are in their 30’s now and still no tattoos.
    My daughter loved to dye her hair wild colors. That all stopped right after she dyed her hair Ronald MacDonald red and we went the said restaurant where she found herself standing beside a life sized statue of the clown. Her with short red hair and a yellow t-shirt. She looked at me and said, “Don’t even say a word.”

  2. I love it when your kids start deciding for themselves the girls are doing this more and more great read mate Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

  3. I too have an independent daughter, but mine is now 17!! I’ll tell you it keeps being impressive and frustrating in equal measures, but being less than a year from her being out on her own…I’m so glad she’s independent and has her own thoughts and ideas about life! #TriumphantTales

    1. Thats an interesting point. We also have an 18 year old that has been on and off on her own over the past few years. I sometimes feel like we didn’t prepare her as well as we could have

  4. Well done mum and dad! I love that you’re encouraging self expression! I’ll definitely be doing this with my boys when they get older!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

    1. There are limits but for the most part, I’ve been letting her go. Its kinda fun to see what she’s going to come up with next

    1. This was actually a fairly sensible looking day but I wanted to get this post out. Thanks for reading Malin

  5. I love it. That youth and innocence is really amazing and long may it continue I say. You and she will miss it when it’s gone. Keep dressing for yourself I say. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

  6. It’s so funny how outside influences tend to take over our children’s minds isn’t it? Yet, I think it’s completely doable to help them build that wall you talk about. While my youngest does sometimes think he’s fat (this still both bugs me and surprises me at the same time) he no longer lets others’ opinions of what he likes dictate his life. For example, in the third grade he was still into Angry Birds and I bought him an angry birds hat that he asked me for. He only wore it one day at school. After that he wouldn’t wear it and when I asked him he told me it was because his friends made fun of him for liking Angry Birds.
    Then last year he got bullied for liking Dragon Ball Z but I kept telling him over and over again that it’s completely okay to like what you like. No one else lives your life or is control of your mind. It has taken some time but he is finally in that space where he doesn’t worry about what anyone else thinks of his likes. I think we all go through that at one point or another but most of us find our way through it.
    Your daughter is a very spirited and independent individual. She might struggle a little when she gets older but you’re doing a great job guiding her. Oh and I loved Punky Brewster back in the day. Brings back memories πŸ™‚ #FamilyFunLinky

    1. Thanks Michelle. I thought that everybody was into Angry Birds? I think another part of this is that there are always going to be people that will find something to be jerks about, even if they have to make something up. Instead of trying to please these people, we need to teach our kids how to deal with them and be happy with who they are. None of its easy

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