Let Them Wear Tutus

image credit: Robert Mahar

Before my daughter was born, I used to laugh, and at times, be appalled at what parents let their kids wear. I saw a little girl in a princess costume at Target, a little boy in a Spider Man mask and tights at the book store and a child with winter boots, a hat and shorts walking down the street in July. I could not figure out why parents would allow this.

Tonight, we went to the local ice cream parlor and my daughter had on a tutu and a crown (just like Fancy Nancy). You know what? I couldn’t have been more proud of her.

Think of how little control children, particularly preschoolers/toddlers have over their own lives. We tell them what to do, when to do it, how to do it, what not to do. Often times we offer no explanation as to what we’re asking of them. These little people have very few choices and probably not enough explanation. Do we give them enough credit?

Would you want to be told in the middle of your favorite television show to shut it off and get in the car to go to the grocery store?  What if you just don’t feel like taking a bath on a given night and want a quick shower?  So what if your shirt isn’t in fashion, you love it, right?

Now, I AM NOT endorsing letting children get their way all the time. But what if we offered them more simple choices and embraced their desire for creativity and self expression?  Instead of eat your beans, what if we asked “would you like beans or broccoli for dinner?”  Instead of demanding your daughter change what if you said, “If you wear your tutu to school, how about putting some leggings underneath?”  My daughter hates having her hair done so what if I offered “Would you like a pony tail today, or two pig tails?” Everyone, regardless of age, wants to feel they have some control.

So what if your child is wearing Easter Bunny ears in February, if she’s happy, does it really matter? Our little ones aren’t getting tattoos, piercings and other things we’ll have to worry about when they are teenagers, they simply want to express themselves and are learning how to do this. Try offering choices. You may find yourself less frustrated, engaging in fewer arguments and getting a lot of compliments on a sparkly crown.

–Sara Locricchio, Parenting Program Volunteer

1 Response to “Let Them Wear Tutus”

  1. 1 Nikki Andriani June 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Well said!

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