Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,
I am a dad and as a man I just don’t get it. My 13 year old daughter has more clothing than anyone I ever knew. The other day she gathered up about 70% of it and said. I have never worn it. I will never wear it. I want to get rid of it. So, to good will it went. The next day she looks into her closet and says I have nothing to wear. I need clothes. Please take me shopping. I got mad. That was all perfectly good clothing she got rid of. Much looked new. I told her the next time we go shopping is when she can contribute to buying the clothes, so do more chores. She gets not an allowance but money for non-routine chores like mowing the lawn. We don’t pay her for routine things like picking up her room or putting away her laundry.
I hear from my friends her behavior isn’t unusual for a girl. I just don’t get it. I still have much of the same clothes I owned at 13! I don’t want to teach her to be frivolous and wasteful. I don’t want to pay for more clothes! Am I wrong?
Buy more Dad.
You are not wrong. Many children of privilege have no idea what it is to be of want. They throw out more than many ever own. So, I am backing you in her contributing to her clothing budget so she appreciates more of what she has and that there is some connection that money really means time plus effort.
There is only one caveat. At 13 girls might be developing a style. If she is examining her belongings to match a personality style she is trying to develop and it is one you approve of for instance, Travel sheik? I believe she not only has a right to do this but that if it is one you approve of, it should be encouraged.
The reason I say this is it is impossible for a 13-year-old to really obtain what she needs for this on her own and if it is a nice style, as styles come with personality and in packages, I think if you have the means you should encourage it. Default American styles might be less expensive but not as healthy in total packaging for instance Emo or grunge. The people places and things associated in each style can have lasting impact on her personality, your relation with her, who she befriends, and how well she does and is treated at school.
If she is throwing out good clothes to replace them with ripped black cleavage clothing I wouldn’t encourage it by making it to easy. She can work more chores, baby sit, and pay for those silly expensive ripped Jeans and antidisestablishmentarian statement clothing. The expense might change her mind? The effort might influence her style.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
The Granny Dr. Comments:
I think you hit the nail on the head in the 2nd sentence: Many children of privilege have no idea what it is to be of want.
Your friends may say her behavior isn’t unusual,
but I suspect you have friends who have money.
But honestly, the first mistake was letting her direct you to give her clothes away.
If a 13 year old is allowed to run the show,
she has to be made to accept the consequences of her actions.
Otherwise, make her think twice before tossing.
A Dad wrote in with a different strategy:
He says don’t buy back to school clothes in September. Wait instead to October so this way the girl will see what’s her friends are wearing and she won’t have to throw out the September purchases’ like what happened in the vignette described.
A wife commented:
Her trying out different clothing styles is her developing her own style and personality and that her wanting to fit in and match everyone else is a style in itself.
Dr. Brilliant Cliche replies:
I say encourage the style you agree with. I don’t agree with the Mall Rat! This style I would require her contribute financially.