Dressing Your Kids to Enjoy Their Childhood and Become Mature Adults

Editor’s note: As an etiquette guide, this article is based on opinion. It’s goal is to create a standard.

Everyone has opinions on how children should be dressed. Some are ridiculous and some are reasonable so it can be hard to sort them out. I’m going to be throwing my hat into that ring and trying to guide you into dressing your children to ease them into the adult world without keeping them from playing.

Complement the Adults

You and your wife likely put a lot of thought into how you dress, but how do your kids fit into that? If they’re dressed better than you it’ll look like you’re trying to show them off, if they’re dressed worse it looks like they don’t really matter to you, and if they’re dressed as well as you but totally different it looks like their very presence was an afterthought. You’ll want to make sure you have at least one outfit to go with every outfit in your child’s wardrobe. You don’t have to coordinate like they’re an accessory, so long as you’re both dressed to the same standard. 

For girls that’s pretty easy, a cute dress goes from the playground to church, but boys are harder. If your son’s wearing a more juvenile version of what you would wear, then you’re probably good. 

Span Formality

Children’s clothes seem to rarely go beyond the realm of the casual, but they should. Don’t buy your kids any formalwear they won’t use soon, but they do need at least one church-ready outfit. By “church-ready” I don’t mean your church, but rather any church. Every girl needs at least one nice dress, and every boy needs at least one outfit with a tie. Kids clothes are flexible in terms of formality, so whatever they’d wear to a more formal church would probably work right through black-tie optional and maybe even beyond.

Keep It Modest

Children are not sexual beings, so they’re likely to internalise everything about their childhood as being non-sexual, so long as it doesn’t cross the line into molestation. If you dress your young daughter in skimpy outfits than she’ll likely dress even skimpier as an adult. Essentially, hold children to the same standards you would adults. 

Move Towards Adult Standards

The long term goal is obviously that your children dress appropriately as adults. To that end, every fashion decision you make for them needs to be a step in that direction. The only case in which it’s acceptable to dress a child significantly different than an adult is if that difference would later be abandoned entirely. If how you dress and how you dress and how you dress your child are sending them mixed messages, they’ll end up taking the path of least resistance and make sartorially apathetic choices as an adult. You will have created the type of person that wears pyjamas in public and t-shirts in church. 

Put Practicality First

This is where the enjoyment of childhood really comes in to view. Children will always want to play and you don’t want to quash that enthusiasm. So, be sure everything they wear allows for that. Don’t dress them in anything that appreciably restricts their movements, unless that’s the only way they can be dressed appropriately. Also, choose your daughters’ skirt length with that in mind. You don’t want it dragging on the ground and getting caught on things, but you don’t want her constantly flashing her playmates either. 

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The Rightful Successor to Children Being “Seen and Not Heard”

Drawing of children reading.Whether we’ve read Anne of Green Gables or we’ve been told about it by our parents or grandparents, we’ve all heard about the old parenting philosophy that children should be seen and not heard. It’s certainly a bit stifling but with the newer ideas we’ve kind of thrown the baby out instead of the bathwater. Like all traditional ideas, it has its merit, even if it’s not the optimal approach.

The Virtues of “Seen and Not Heard”

Whenever you’re considering whether an abandoned idea should be readopted, adapted, or forgotten, you must consider why it was created in the first place. Anyone who’s spent time with children know that they can be quite rambunctious and noisy, which would be very disruptive to the adults who are trying to have a conversation. It’s also easy to become unconcerned with children’s happiness when you have ten of them and there’s a good chance several of them won’t live to adulthood. However its best point is that it teaches boys the stoicism and girls the poise they should have as adults. 

Our Current Ideas

We seem to have adopted the belief that children are some sort of miniature master race. We cater to them and even use disciplinary philosophies that can never be replaced by something more mature, like an honour system. So often parents refuse to punish their children or even deny their wishes. We coddle our children and risk them growing up to believe the world revolves around them, literally and metaphorically. We’ll even reject academic standards to protect their self esteem, something I may have found a solution to. We teach them etiquette that either puts them first or denies them the right to agency, rarely anywhere in between.

The Rightful Successor

So if the old ideas are wrong and the new ideas are wrong, then what should we do? We need to find the balance. We need to adapt adult etiquette to children’s nature. We should teach children to respect the use of all spaces at all times. They can make plenty of noise wherever they’re expected to play but seen and not heard stands where the adults are having a conversation. Every time we’re considering a parenting decision we should ask ourselves “would a child need to reject this lesson to become a healthy adult?” If they will, then it’s the wrong decision. We should adapt but never contradict adult etiquette, and put reality ahead of identity or self esteem. 

Head of the Household as a Head of State 

John F. Kennedy relaxing with his wife and children.
Many people these days hate the idea of the head of the household. It’s one of those destructive feminist ideas, that being in leadership is the same as being superior. The hypocrisy in that is how they only object to this exact form of leadership. I’m going to explain why the existence of the head of the household is beneficial and how it should be like the head of state. 

Leadership is Service

Something that people often forget is that leadership is a form of service. A good leader doesn’t exercise his authority to get his way but rather for the good of those he leads. He may not always abide by their will,  but he never ignores it. We’ve all heard of army officers claim that “nothing’s too good for the men” and that’s the epitome of a good leadership attitude. Army officers don’t see those under them as their servants but rather people who need guidance to achieve a common goal. The head of a household should hold a similar philosophy. He should lead with the goal of creating a healthy family culture and protecting the well-being of his wife and children. 

You Can’t Have a Democracy of Two

Nobody ever argues that children should have equal say, they are children after all, but that only leaves the two parents to make all the decisions. That works fine when they can come to an agreement, but what about the times they can’t. You can’t vote to settle a disagreement when there are only two voters, you’ll only ever get a tie. When a decision must be made but a consensus can’t be reached, it falls to a leader. 

A Leader Must be Chosen in Advance

If you try to choose a leader when a decision needs to be made then you’re actually still trying to make that decision. You always need to choose a leader when there’s no other decisions to be made. Governments schedule elections to try to avoid that very problem. For that concern, it doesn’t matter who the leader is, so long as the choice is made beforehand. It works well to assume the man will be this leader, but that’s not the important point. 

Head of Household, Head of State

A head of state has two primary roles; be the final authority and be the face of the government. It has never been common practice for a head of state to act entirely unilaterally. They always at least tried to get input, to fill in the gaps in their own knowledge of the situation. The head of a household should do the same, consulting with his wife and children when there’s a decision to be made. 

The identity of a family comes from two places; the family as a collective unit and the head of the household. When a family needs to choose a representative or ceremonial leader, the duty tends to fall to the husband and father. Whenever there’s a need to attach a single name or face to a family, it’s the husband and father. 

Conclusion

You can either be marginalised in your own home or the “king of your castle” and your family’s “head of state.” If you forego your place as the head of the household you lose your place in it, and simply become hanger on. 

Don’t Be Equal, Be Fair

Early twentieth century pamphlet opposed to women's suffrage.
To many people equality and fairness are the same thing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Equality is treating everyone the same regardless of differences, fairness is treating everyone how they deserve in light of differences. 

Much of the social change of the last couple centuries has pursued equality without regard for fairness, like the women’s suffrage movement. Since those days we’ve come to oversimplify the matter and demonise the men in power at the time. In reality there were a lot of women, as well as men, that opposed women getting the right to vote. Most of the women who opposed getting the vote were already politically active and didn’t see voting as a gaining a right but rather being saddled with an added responsibility, or the influence of the ignorant and stupid would increase. Another argument against women voting was that the potential benefits couldn’t possibly justify the complexity and expense it would add to elections. Even the most compelling argument for giving someone a vote didn’t apply because women were already represented in the public sphere through their husbands and charity work. The only reason to give women the right to vote was that men already could. Who was right? At the time, the people who thought it would just be a waste.1 If women hadn’t gotten the vote, feminism may have died there and maybe the liberty movement would never have happened. Should women lose the vote now? I don’t know, the world has changed so it’s a totally different argument. 

Parents often fall into this same trap. They do the same things for their younger children as they did for their older children. They forget that they’re totally different people. 

Usually when people try to treat people equally they end up treating everyone unfairly. Some people get treated better than they deserve and others are treated worse. Think of affirmative action. Minorities get jobs even if they aren’t qualified for them and white people don’t get jobs despite being the most qualified applicant. 

In conclusion, don’t worry about treating people equally, just try to be fair. 


1. Morton, Ella. “Why Women Led Anti-Suffrage Campaigns Against Themselves.” Atlas Obscura, 11 July 2016,http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/why-women-led-antisuffrage-campaigns-against-themselves.


Finding Your Easter Traditions


Today is Good Friday so there’s no better time to talk about Easter traditions. I’m a very strong proponent of traditions, be they old or new. If you’re a father there’s no better way to build a family identity and pass on your legacy to future generations. I’ve come up with a few ideas to spark your imagination and find your Easter traditions. 

Attend Services

Since Easter was born out of Christian teachings, its religious observances certainly deserve consideration. Most churches hold at least two services over the Easter weekend, my church has three and I usually attend them all. 

Look at Wildflowers

I know, this one doesn’t spin all that manly but want your traditions to include the fairer sex members of your family as well. Easter is about new life and rebirth and the wildflower is the perfect symbol of this, going from nonexistence or looking like death itself to some of the most beautiful things in nature. Not to mention, it takes you into the ruggedness of nature. 

Local Easter Event

If your community has the same event every Easter it would be worth considering making it an Easter tradition. The men of my family attend the Draggins Rod & Custom Car Show every Easter weekend. It’s good male bonding and all the proceeds go to charity. 

Easter Basket

This one’s more for the little ones but everyone can have some fun with it. Fill some baskets or other containers with candy and some decorative filler and give them to the kids. If you want it to be more fun, hide them and make a game out of looking for them. 

Egg Dying

If you want something more artistic, egg dying is the way to go. You can do some pretty elaborate dying or just keep it simple. 

Easter Egg Hunt

If you’re wondering what to do with those dyed eggs, here’s an option. Hide them around your home and make a game out of the kids looking for them. If you’d prefer you can use plastic eggs and fill them with candy for even more fun. 

Local Traditions

If you live in a culture with some more unconventional Easter traditions you should consider indulging in them, or even traditions from your own heritage. After all, what’s the point of traditions if they don’t carry on a legacy?


There you have it, Easter tradition ideas. If you have tradition ideas of your own, then join in down in the comments. 

Just for fun, a bunny I saw outside while I was writing this.