05 June 2012
On getting dressed.. Or not.
Ever since Sophie was old enough to talk (and maybe even before then) she has had very strong opinions about how she is going to dress.
The problem is that every morning has become an absolute struggle.. multiple outfit changes, tantrums, the entire contents of her wardrobe emptied across her bedroom floor and sometimes even after an hour of trying to get her dressed we are still no closer to getting her out the door.
While I am happy than my little girl has a strong sense of what she likes and does not like, I have no idea where this behaviour originated from.. I like nice clothes as much as the rest of us, but I usually throw on the first clean thing I find (which is usually jeans, a stripy top and my converse) and don't give it a second thought. I have no idea how she became so obsessed with clothes and how she looks and it does worry me a little.
A few nights ago she had a tantrum because her "pyjamas looked silly". I explained to her that it did not matter what her pyjamas looked like as she would be tucked up in her bed all night and the most important thing is that they are warm and cosy.. no-one cares what your pyjamas look like! But she was not convinced and that is what worries me.. how did this little girl learn to place so much value on how she looks? Is this something she will grow out of or is it the beginning of lifelong belief that our physical looks define our worth as a person (my gosh I hope not!)
I should add here that while we often tell Sophie that she looks lovely or how gorgeous she is (if you have a little girl it's impossible not too), but we have always been very careful not to emphasise it too much and we are always trying to encourage self-worth based on non-physical attributes, such as "we were very proud of how well you played with your friends today at the park, Well done!" or "I really love this painting you did at school today, Can you tell me more about it?" (I'm reading a book at the moment about adding open ended questions onto the end of a statement when praising children.. but that's a post for another time).
Aside from what ever worries I have about my daughter's sense of self-worth, it's really the stress of each morning that is becoming a problem. We have tried choosing an outfit together the night before, we have tried laying out 3 possible (weather appropriate) choices and asking her to choose one, we have tried everything short of putting locks on her wardrobe!
And on the days when she manages to choose an outfit and get dressed without any complaining, you can be assured that an hour later she will be found up in her room.. getting changed again! (And again at lunch time, and again before going to the park, and again before dinner.. No wonder Tom feels like he spends his whole life doing laundry!)