You have probably seen posts making fun of African mothers for their tendency to buy oversized clothes for their children and arguing that the kids will grow into them. The stereotypical African mother values functionality over visual appeal. Therefore, she will go for the outfit that is likely to keep the child warm, even if the colours don't match.
Needless to say, this kind of styling becomes a nightmare for style-conscious teens and pre-teens.
How then can you avoid becoming the stereotypical African mum and help your child develop a sense of style?
Know the difference between style and fashion
Most people tend to confuse fashion and style. Fashion is the latest trend in a certain area. It could be the latest style of clothing or hair among others. Style on the other hand is personal and refers to the way an individual chooses to express themselves through choices like the clothes they wear, the hairstyle they choose and how they put an outfit together.
Famous 21st-century designer, Yves Saint Lauren put it best by saying that fashion fades but style is eternal. When you understand that style is a form of self-expression for your child, you will have no problem helping them develop a personal style.
Give them options
While your child may be yearning to have some style of her own, she may be limited in terms of choices. Go out of your way to find inspirations from fashion magazines and blogs. This will help you understand what is popular and suitable for people of your child's age. Share these options with your child and let them pick what they like.
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Help your child put a few pieces together
Once you know what is in style for your child's age group, you can help them put a few outfits together then let them pick the rest on their own.
Remember the style is supposed to be personal for your child. Therefore, do not force them to live your fashion choices. If your child picks an outfit that you think doesn't work, keep your thoughts to yourself. After all, part of developing style is breaking some rules here and there. A few years ago, no one thought mixing prints was a good idea.
Allow them to explore
While it is important to set some rules for your child's dressing, for example on what is decent and what is not, resist the urge to be controlling. If you take your child shopping, which you should, step aside and let them chose what appeals to them. Only offer advice when requested or when necessary.
Giving compliments to your child is one of the superpowers that you should possess as a parent. When your child finally starts putting their outfits together, give some praise, it encourages them to keep trying unless the outfit is completely hideous in which case you correct with love and gentleness instead of levelling criticism.
Letting your child make their own choices increases their confidence levels. It also lets them know that you trust them to let them make their choices and to have their back while at it.