Avoiding The Apparel Wars

On any given school day a parent somewhere is asking, "You want to wear what?" As tempting as it is to reel your child in to your good taste and fashion sense, Ellen Hollon, director of the child life program at Children's Medical Center of Dallas, recommends picking your battles.

"Depending on your child's age, these clothing battles can create more friction than necessary," Hollon said. "If your three-year-old chooses a plaid shirt and floral pants, remind yourself that your child is expressing their independence. As long as the outfit is appropriate for the weather, let them mix and not match. Parents may even want to create a special button for their child that says 'I dressed all by myself today!' for those unique combinations. For parents who can't go that far, try to buy solid color separates within the same color scheme. This way, no matter what your young child chooses, it will be a close match."

Shopping together for clothes can help parents feel more comfortable with their child's wardrobe as well, especially with older children. "Establish a budget and go shopping with your child," she said. "Offer your opinion, but unless the selection is indecent or too expensive, let your child make the final decision on what they want. Both the parent and the child will feel more comfortable having provided input in the clothing selections. An added bonus is that your child will learn the value of money and how to work within a budget."