Recently, I had a conversation with an older child of mine about my choice to "thrift". You see, said older child of mine is growing up, and while she's enjoying the added bonuses of freedom, she's had a bit of a struggle lately. Confession: I BUY USED CLOTHES. Yeah, so it's out there whooptey doo. I don't see the hang up, and why it's so important that I buy a neatly hung, chemical filled garment, that will look just like the one down the street at the xxxx thrift shop in two washes. So, back to the struggle. It seems we have kiddos that are extremely fixated on "where" Ashley gets her clothes. Keep in mind, she goes to school each day looking just like everyone else, the name brands, the stylish outfits, the accessories, you name it. She's happy with her selection of some 60 shirts and countless pants, capris and shorts. The problem: she hates lying. When someone asks her where she gets a particular outfit, she gets uncomfortable. She doesn't want to lie, but she also doesn't want to confess. Sure there are ways around the questions, "my mom bought it", "it CAME from xxxx", whatever. But why oh why is it so imporant to these kids that she bought something at a particular overpriced store? What I would love is for her to respond truthfully and tell them to suck it if they don't like it, but that's not reality. Reality is that she's growing up in a time when stupid crap like this matters.
So how do you teach a child not care what everyone else thinks, and to do their own thing, without other little bratty children shafting their self esteem? I don't know. All I could do was tell her that what she's feeling is normal and that while she doesn't need to care what people might think, it's ok to feel the way she's feeling. And mind you, this is not a little girl that is struggling to make friends, in fact, I believe most of her friends look up to her. I also gently reminded her that I'd be happy to forego the used clothes if it mattered that much to her, but I did tell her to kiss the name brands goodbye. Get use to Wal Mart and Target, because this momma is not going to get sucked in paying top dollar for clothes, just so you can look like everyone else. She stopped me and said no, no, no, she doesn't want me to stop, she loves the things I buy, she's just torn between wanting to be that little girl with no worries, yet at the same time wanting to grow up...which brings on a whole new set of worries. She hates caring what everyone else thinks. And for that I am GLAD. I'm glad she's going through the process of sorting out what's really important to her and what's not. It sucks that she has to struggle, but really, if she wasn't uncomfortable caring what people think, I think we'd have a bigger problem.
My poor sweetie, how do you tell her that this is just the beginning, but that someday, all of this will seem so, so trivial. I hope it will, because that will mean she's grown in to a confident young woman whose comfortable in her own skin and take on anything that comes her way.
If anyone has any pre-teen words of wisdom on the subject, I'd love to hear it.
Adolescence is when girls experience social pressure to put aside their authentic selves and to display only a small portion of their gifts. -Mary Pipher