Like most parents, Flea and I hit the shops each Spring to update the wardrobe – replacing things she’s grown out of, ready for summer.
This year was no different. A couple of weeks ago, we headed to the Trafford Centre in Manchester and did the rounds of Gap and John Lewis, buying everything Flea needs for summer – two pairs of Birkenstocks, half a dozen pairs of shorts, a pile of t-shirts, two hats and some sunglasses.
Until this weekend. I handed Flea one of her pairs of shorts and she gasped in horror. She asked to wear something else. When I pointed out that they were perfectly nice denim jeans, she looked at me as though I was trying to kill her. The problem?
She's now able to read the label. They are GIRLS' jeans. Completely unacceptable.
I told Flea that I wouldn’t have minded if she’d asked me not to buy the shorts but having bought them, she’s going to wear them. But in my heart of hearts, I know that I’m bluffing – she’s never going to wear the shorts. It’s just not worth spending the whole day watching her bottom lip quiver.
Of course, I’ve made a rod for my own back by always allowing Flea to choose her own clothes. I always felt that if you give kids areas of their life where they get to make the decisions, they’re more willing to accept rules in other areas where you make the rules – like going to bed on time and having good manners.
I do sometimes make helpful suggestions, like “Lots of people only wear one stripy thing at a time, you know” or “Maybe short socks would look better with those shorts and sandals” but these are ignored at least 90% of the time. Flea likes to make her own fashion choices, as these outfits from the past month reveal.
She has a natural flair, I think you'll agree.
So, here’s the question : how much do you try to control or influence what your kids wear, or are you one of those parents who lets them out in their own creations? And more to the point, how the hell do I get her to wear the wretched shorts?