A question that many parents have is “should a 14-year-old wear a crop top?
The parents of most young girls know that one day she will be a teenager and that there will be a battle over what she wears out of the house. The question is – is the battle necessary? Before you yell at your 14-year-old daughter for wearing a crop top that you deem inappropriate, take a minute and reflect on why this issue matters to you and how you can talk to her about it.
One of the keys to a productive conversation is trying to figure out why she is wearing this kind of clothing. Is she doing it for attention or is she doing it to express herself? Maybe the weather is just hot or humid and she is trying to stay cool during times of heat.
The point is to have a meaningful productive conversation with her rather than just saying no. This is the part that many parents lack because they think that flat out saying no without explaining why is the best decision when in reality, it is not. A clear and decisive explanation will have a longer-lasting effect on a rule that you have placed in a household.
Many parents are quick to get frustrated and angry when their teen daughter comes out wearing something that they might deem inappropriate. Some might even be quick to label their daughters with demeaning words like ‘slut’. Even if they don’t intend to call their daughter these names, labeling their clothing as ‘slutty’ sends a message to their daughter that they think of her this way. Be careful not to send your daughter the message that her body is shameful or something to be afraid of.
Today many young girls wear revealing clothing as a symbol of empowerment and to move beyond symbols of misogyny and oppression. It’s a powerful reminder that teenagers are a new wave of feminists and that they use their thoughts and opinions about their bodies as a way to navigate the world. Before you decide what your daughter should wear and how she should wear it, consider the message you want to send to your daughter about how she dresses.
To keep their teens safe, some parents have been quick to point out that their clothing will attract them negative attention. However, as we’ve collectively found out as a society over the years of the #metoo movement, it doesn’t matter what your daughter wears. She is just as likely to be predated upon in a shirt and jeans as she is in a crop top. What’s far more important is that you arm your daughter with knowledge about how to defend herself and remove the misogynistic idea that she’s responsible for others’ actions.
If your daughter is commented on, approached by, or harassed by someone because of what she wears, encourage her to talk openly with you, a trusted adult, or a school counselor about how that made her feel. Don’t shame her because she was treated poorly, however, empower her to speak up about it so that appropriate action can be taken.
Dress Codes And Appropriate Dress
A factor to consider when asking “should a 14-year-old wear a crop top” is the dress code. This is especially important because there are places where this type of clothing would not be accepted and it is important for the 14-year-old to understand that.
In an attempt to teach your child what type of clothing is appropriate in a given situation, you can use this opportunity as a teaching moment about what types of clothing are appropriate when. For example, you wouldn’t likely go to the office in yoga pants or the beach in a suit. You can encourage your teenager to follow school dress codes and to consider what types of clothing she should wear depending on the circumstances.
Consider what types of boundaries you’d like to set about what your daughter can wear when. For example, you might be okay with her wearing a crop top over her swimsuit at the beach, but it would be inappropriate at church or a funeral. You can then discuss these boundaries with your teen when the time is right.
Compromising with Crop Tops
If in the end you just can’t stomach your 14-year-old daughter wearing a crop top, you might come to her with a compromise. Teenagers will be more likely to listen to what their parents say when they get some of what they want. Think creatively about how you can compromise on this issue.
Crop tops can be worn in several fashionable ways that don’t show as much midsection. Perhaps you could compromise by allowing her to wear a version of a crop top. Decide how long the crop top must be to satisfy the compromise. Perhaps you’d like her to wear a long sleeve shirt or jacket over the top or a tank underneath it. Alternatively, she could wear high-waisted skirts or shorts so that less of her midsection is showing.
It can be difficult to compromise when you feel so strongly about an issue. Consider what is most important to you in the long run and make that your sticking point. For example, perhaps you want her to dress modestly at school, but you don’t mind her wearing what she wants at home or you could allow her to wear a crop top at the mall, but maybe not at grandma’s house. Keep the sticking point in mind when creating the compromise.
Having A Discussion About Crop Tops
Once you have considered what you want your daughter to take away from the conversation, you can approach your daughter at a time when she’s not on her way out the door and have an open dialogue. Make sure that you listen to her and give her time to speak, and consider what she has to say.
You can discuss the reasons she wants to wear crop tops with you. They might be well-reasoned decisions, such as liking the way she looks, feeling confident or empowered, etc. If the reasons she gives you are based on sexualizing herself or peer pressure, this might be a good time to discuss these issues with her. Encourage positive reasons for the way she dresses.
If religious reasons for dressing a certain way are a part of your reservations about how your teen dresses, this might be a good time to open that dialogue, as well. Be careful to be respectful of her feelings on the subject and give her room to open up to you.
You may not see eye to eye with your child when you are talking to her, but giving her room to talk to you about how she feels will help in the long run. Your daughter will be more open to your point of view if she believes she’s been heard. The two of you can come to a compromise about what she’s allowed to wear and when.
Resist the urge to shut down your daughter’s thoughts and opinions, because this could result in her rebelling and wearing what she wants anyway. She might decide it best to sneak the clothes out of the house or to borrow a friends’ clothes. It’s much easier to be open with your teenager and come to a compromise than it is to gain their trust if you refuse to listen.
So should a 14-year-old wear a crop top? It all comes down to the factors that are mentioned above.
Recognize that your daughter is growing up and she’s starting to experiment with her independence. This might come in many forms, but often battles about clothing come to the forefront. It’s only natural that as a parent you’d want to protect your child, but forcing her to wear a turtleneck isn’t going to protect her. Instead, you can protect her by empowering her, encouraging her to be self-confident, and teaching her how to defend herself.
Be open about your concerns with your 14-year-old wearing a crop top and truly listen when she opens up to you. You might look back and remember when you were 14 and wanted to express yourself. Be open-minded, and don’t forget to compromise when you can.
This is a powerful teaching moment and how you treat this situation will inform your teen about how you will react in the future if she has something that she wants to talk to you about. The way you handle this situation shows how much you are willing to debate about things in the future. As your children become older and experience new things, you will want to know what they are getting into and if you are not an easy person to talk to, they will definitely not come talk to you which is the last thing a parent wants when it comes to raising their children.