A while back, I posted about how by the time I’ve dropped my daughter off at preschool, she’d gotten about ten comments about how cute she is and how cute her dress is.
Not long after preschool started, the second someone would see her, my daughter, just like her two sisters before her, would immediately rip off her sweatshirt as if she were Wonder Woman, exposing her cuteness to be admired by all. Everyone wants to be admired, right? That’s human. What isn’t OK is for girls to funnel so much of that desire for attention and admiration, for success and achievement through their appearance. My God, the training starts young.
So this is my third daughter that I’ve been through this pre-school/ dress obsession metamorphosis with. I’ve tried so many things: not putting them in dresses which led to tantrums. (These kids are smart. They know what’s happening. No one is going to take away the spotlight.) I tried deflecting comments from grown ups which can lead to awkward silences and confusion. I tried having adult conversations with my daughter that there was no way she could understand.
Then, something amazing happened. My washing machine broke down. Unable to wash many clothes, I let my daughter pick her favorites and made sure to keep those clean. When my daughter wore the same three or four dresses, her VERY favorites, over and over for three weeks, her teachers, the other moms, everyone stopped telling her how cute her dress was all the time. People started thinking of other things to say when they saw her in the morning. Truly. And my kid is still thrilled to be in her favorite duds; she hasn’t figured out that she’s got to have variety to get the same people to ooh and aaah. Hee hee.
This is the first tactic that has ever worked for me. So here’s my suggestion: let your daughter pick out her absolute favorites and keep them in a tight rotation. People might feel sorry for your kid, wish she had more clothes, think you’re a bad mom, but this is all good. It further inspires them to come up with other ways to make your daughter feel good. People are not trying to hurt your daughter, their intentions are good; they just want to be nice. I think that may be why this strategy works so well.
Try it and let me know how it goes.