In reflecting on my mothering, one thing (among several) I would change – and I am still working on this one – is sharing my unsolicited opinion regarding my daughter’s choices in hair, clothes, styles, and other things that don’t really matter. Deep down, I want my daughters to become uniquely who God created them to be, and self expression is not a negative thing if it doesn’t cross certain lines. The lines for me would be: wrong motives (to fit in, to rebel, to make an obnoxious statement) or immodesty/inappropriate dress. And yes, I do realize that “inappropriate” dress could be very broad for some and for a legalist, much too rigid. But as a mom, I do feel part of my job is to help my daughters (and sons, for that matter) to think through the event they are attending. So I may make a suggestion to them. On this issue, if a disagreement arises, maybe letting them go to a function and learn for themselves what is best to wear is ok too.
Girls are different than boys. 🙂
At some point, and it seems to happen overnight, daughters start caring about how they look much earlier than boys do. Although both parents should participate in dialog about what their daughters wear, I think we have different roles in this area. I have thoughts about how dads should respond/parent in this area, but I am going to stick with moms for now.
So, here is what I have learned. I spoke too often about how something looked that was simply a matter of taste or trend. If the trend doesn’t cross the line (I stated above), let it go. If the taste in dress, hair color and nail polish doesn’t cross the line(s), embrace their expression. Every now and then my daughters would ask for my thoughts. Even then, I think I would have better served them to say something positive and not negative.
Moms develop habits of criticizing their daughters. And it grows into their adulthood. Comments on choices of hair color, hair length, hair style, clothing, accessories, weight . . . are most often unnecessary and insensitive.
I don’t think we have to be dishonest to find something positive to say to our daughters, even if what they choose to look like isn’t our favorite. If I was to share my conclusion as of today: this one is not a hill to die on. 🙂