Another job title to add to the long list of what you do as a mom: fashion stylist. Ever since you picked out those sweet baby sleepers, you've been overseeing your child's wardrobe. But don't be surprised if your 7- or 8-year-old is clamoring to take control of her own fashion choices. "At this age, kids are establishing their own identity and separating from you, and this is a safe, easy way to start asserting their autonomy," says Susan Stiffelman, a licensed psychotherapist and author of Parenting Without Power Struggles. Unfortunately, the results of that independence aren't always pretty -- nagging you to buy name-brand sneakers or insisting on tops with too much bling. Take a deep breath and check out expert tips designed to avoid a style showdown.
Clothing Conflict: When you go shopping, anything you think is cute gets an instant "no"
Chances are your kid has been choosing what to wear for a couple of years now but wasn't all that concerned about what you bought. Now tops with animal appliqu?s, shirts with collars, dresses with matching hair bows, or -- gasp -- Mary Janes may seem the nth degree of lame to your child, who is likely to be increasingly influenced by what peers are wearing at school. While you don't want your son or daughter to cave in to peer pressure, you should give her some freedom in choosing what to buy and, ultimately, wear.
Before the two of you hit the mall, agree on what clothes your kid needs and settle on a store or two to check out. For instance, if either of you dislike most of the clothes at a particular shop, it's best to just avoid it. Instead, stick with neutral places -- and, even better, go somewhere your child has never bought clothes before. "It may satisfy her desire for change without giving her a radical new look you'd like to avoid," says Stiffelman. In the store, be as hands-off as you can handle -- letting her cruise the racks while you provide occasional guidance, like pointing out the shirts that are in her size. Figure out ways to admire what she's chosen herself, like a sparkly tee or a denim skirt. She'll be happy to have your approval after the fact.