Media Monday – So..You Want Your Kids To Be Cool…

The recent article Cool kids: no price is too high suggests that parents should take more interest in their child’s image.

”There’s been a dramatic shift in parents seeing the value in investing more money into their children’s images,” says Dean Nixon, celebrity makeup artist

What ever happened to a parents role being about building and shaping good character and values?  Have we forgotten that we’re raising human beings not just kids who get compliments on how they’re dressed or how pretty they are?

Okay. Kids fashion IS cute. But we shouldn’t swell with pride if another parent comments that our child has cute jeans or pretty hair. It’s meaningless and superficial. I want other people to notice that my kids are polite, that they share their food or play nicely with other kids not that they have a funky haircut.

This is another example of celebrity culture trying to infiltrate our lives. One minute we’re all reading articles like this outraged – the next minute we’re making an appointment at a fancy hairdresser because everyone is doing it and we don’t want our child to be left out or bullied for being different.

But….I only dress my kids up because I enjoy it!

Marketing targets our fears and insecurities. We worry that our kids won’t be popular or cool because that’s what we believe defines success.  But really, this isn’t about our kids is it? Let’s face it, we don’t dress our children up for our own benefit.  We either do it because we want other people to notice, be impressed or think we’re a great mother because our kids look so awesome. In return, we feel good about ourselves. Another reason may be because we worry what other people may think if our child looks a bit grotty. We worry what other people might assume about us despite the fact that most the time these OTHER people are strangers – so who cares.

But..I only want to give my kids the things I didn’t have growing up

I hear ya. I got my first pair of brand name sneakers when I was 10. It was a momentous occasion. No really, it was.  I remember feeling inferior to my peers because I always had cheap sneakers so I was  overjoyed when my mum relented and gave me a pair of purple Nike’s for my 10th birthday. So, you know what I did to compensate for the fact my childhood was so deprived and traumatic? I bought my son his first pair of Nikes before he was even born.

I hear so many people say they were teased for wearing second hand clothes or not wearing brand names which is why they spend so much money on their child’s image. I understand the logic – I’ve been there. Sadly however,  it reflects a flaw in our own character which needs to be addressed. It means we’ve learnt to judge and value ourselves based on what other people think  rather than what is true.  In the same way, we are teaching our children these values.

Having said this, we still don’t want our kids with bowl hair cuts and woolen jumpers being ostracised because we were making a political statement.  I don’t want my kids to be bullied any more than you do.

I think the answer is more parents being educated on this subject and realising that the idea of ‘cool’ is rooted in industry seeking new ways to make us spend (waste) money.

It takes a parent to deliberately create a counter-culture in their home to teach kids about their true value and help them develop confidence in themselves as a person.

We need to tell our kids daily that they are loved, valued and are special and unique. They need to know they are okay just the way God made them. Over emphasising the importance of clothes, haircuts, neatness, style and image only leaves kids believing there is something wrong with them that needs to be fixed.

We need to make sure they know they are amazing just the way they are.

What is ‘cool’ anyway?

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