Choosing their own outfit for the day is a huge developmental step both for children and for their parents. For the child, it is a matter of possessing autonomy and a chance for them to express themselves.
On the other hand, by relinquishing the authority to pick out their child’s attire, the parents are surrendering their ability to control not only what is being worn but also how that child is perceived based on their appearance. As with many of these moments in a parent-child relationship, there can be a struggle as the two sides discover what the new expectations are.
When it comes to allowing one’s child to choose their own daily outfit, disagreements usually revolve around what is deemed as “acceptable” wear in public by the parent and what may not be accepted as appropriate daily wear but rather what the child wants to wear. This struggle is frequently magnified on the infamous “Picture Day” at school.
Parents see it as a day for children to look their best because it will forever be in the yearbook to be looked back on for years to come. It’s a way of being remembered in school archives.
Children, however, look at it as a time to show off their favorite clothes…which may include costumes of their favorite superheroes!
This was exactly the scenario which occurred for three-year-old Kaylieann Steinbach and her father, Austin this fall. As her parents let her chose her outfit, they waited anxiously to see what she would pick out.
When she came walking down the stairs in her Supergirl costume complete with cape billowing behind, her parents saw how happy and proud she was to be donning the “S” symbol on her chest. All they could do was laugh.
Austin told The Huffington Post Kaylieann has severe hearing loss and cannot hear the letter “S” so she calls her favorite superheroes, Superman and Supergirl, “Pooterman” and “Pootergirl.”
They had their apprehensions at first about Kaylieann wearing the outfit because it was picture day but those dissipated quickly and they allowed their daughter to go to school dressed as Superwoman.
This is another excellent example of the purity and incorrupt nature of children. Children do not understand societal norms and therefore their decisions are not influenced by what others will think or what they are told to look like.
Rather, their choices come out of their own desires.
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