Parent Guide to Middle School Clothing

Be an open door for your child, and act as a guide to help them choose clothing to wear during middle school years.

Middle school can be a trying time for parents. For many kids, middle school is the time where they start to separate from their parents and test their limits, express themselves in new ways, and seek out a little bit of independence. 

This can create some power struggles between middle school-age kids and their parents. One particular area of issue is the clothing you allow your middle schooler to wear. 

Empathizing With Your Middle Schooler 

To start, try to remember what it was like to be your child’s age. They are not yet a teen, but they are quickly growing out of childhood. It can be an incredibly awkward and confusing time for them. They are likely going through puberty and trying to navigate all the new feelings they are developing. 

Empathizing with them is a great way to keep your relationship with your child positive during this growth period.  

It’s also important to remember that what your child wears is not that big of a deal. Your focus should be on making sure your child is wearing appropriate clothing for their age. The style of the clothing doesn’t matter as much. (We all made some questionable fashion choices at their age). 

Giving Freedom and Setting Boundaries 

At this age, your child will naturally start to want more freedom than they have had up to this point in their lives. A big way you can give them more freedom is by allowing them a little more flexibility with their style

If your child is wearing mis-matched clothing or following some weird new trend wearing dispatched knee socks with flip flops, don’t throw them down for it. Your child is likely just trying to fit in, and they are probably wearing what they’re wearing because thirty other kids are, too. 

Creating an open dialogue with your child at this age will be helpful in more ways than just with clothing choices. You want to let your child know that you are aware they are growing up and desire more freedom, but with that freedom comes more responsibility. 

Talking to Your Child and Being Open 

You can start by having a conversation with your middle school-aged child about appropriately expressing themselves. 

It’s not uncommon that middle-school-age boys will want to wear their pants a little lower than you deem appropriate or want to wear a t-shirt with an inappropriate message on it. 

It’s also not uncommon that a middle-school-age girl will want to wear a shirt that may show off her newly developed chest or shorts that you deem too short. 

It’s okay to encourage your children to express themselves but to do so in a way that shows off their personality and character rather than their body or a false tough-guy persona they think they need to have to prove something to people. 

Even if your child’s fashion choices aren’t what you would consider fashionable, be supportive. Criticizing them or putting their choices down is only going to make them want to rebel more and will also make them less likely to feel they can trust you to fully express themselves. 

Self-Expression for Middle Schoolers  

Kids begin paying closer attention to their body image as young as elementary school age, and this awareness and importance carry on into middle school. 

The importance of your child feeling comfortable in the clothes they’re wearing outweighs your feelings about their choices to express themselves. 

If your child starts experimenting with styles traditionally worn by the opposite gender, you should not tear them down. There isn’t any harm in allowing your child to appropriately dress themselves the way they feel most comfortable. 

Closing Thoughts 

Be an open door for your child, and act as a guide to help them choose clothing to wear during middle school years. 

Focus more on creating positive and open communication and curating a relationship of trust with your middle-school-age child. They will feel like they can confide in you and will be more likely to take your advice more seriously. 

The important thing is that they wear clothes that will keep them warm or cool enough, and that they wear clothes that protect their body. 


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