Baby Hints & Tips

Children’s self esteem when it comes to clothes

children's self esteem fashion victim kid girl at backstage wardrobeAdvice for raising girls…I have an almost 5 year little girl who is sweet and very innocent. She has 2 girl cousins slightly older (4/5 months older) who always wear trendy and expensive but very pretty clothes and very fancy hair do’s. I dress my little one comfortable and let her chose what to wear but I rarely buy expensive outfits (as id rather take them to nice places instead). My girl is starting to say I always look ugly and everyone is always beautiful and it breaks my heart to hear this. We always tell her she’s beautiful inside and out and assure her it doesn’t matter what people look like it’s how kind and nice they are that matters the most. How do I handle this? I don’t want her to have low self esteem and I feel awful that she is saying this and she’s not even 5

  •  You can buy “trendy” stuff that is comfortable an cheap k mart do have some stuff that is really nice. Id let her start picking some outfits she is her own person an clearly ready to she has to wear it let her choose her style you both will have fun.  Lauren
  • This is a tricky one if you just buy ‘trendy’ clothes even just from KMart are you not saying that she will only be beautiful if she wears these types of clothes? I have a daughter slightly younger but I think as parents we need to build up confidence and tell them it is perfectly fine to be different. We are very focused on the virtues in our house and my children get plenty I praises for being virtues which to me is far more important than the clothes they wear? Mine are always in comfortable washable clothes I think kids clothes today is a joke considering how long they wear it for. I think you keep telling her she is an important and special person and highlight her qualities ie kindness helpfulness then she will see that is more important. I feel sorry for you it would be tricky with cousin’s similar age. Good luck she sounds like a great kid x     Natalee
  • Her cousins and their parents may have a different set of financial circumstances. If better off, you need to explain that different families can afford different things, doesnt make them better, just different. 5 year olds can start to understand money. Self esteem should not be based on clothes anyway. That said, how about one or two more expensive items each season? Or a cool pair of shoes/boots. Pumpkin Patch often have quite nice clothes on sale, that arent much more expensive than Target or Big W. Button up shirts, instead of tees, jeans/cords instead of trackies.   Sam
  • Unfortunately fitting in & being like your friends is really important to young girls – and I think girls are worrying about it much earlier now than when we were young! Maybe you could ask her what she wants, what kind of things would she like then meet her half way. If she says she would love a pair of trendy/ expensive jeans & a cool jacket she saw you could explain to her that while you would love to get her everything it would mean not having much fun so how about we just get the jeans & we can still go somewhere fun. I’ve found kids like to feel like they have a say & are part of the decision so perhaps this could be the answer. The other answer could be to get her some special accessories she can dress up her outfits with. A cool watch or scarfe can be worn over & over she won’t grow out of it like jeans. That way she can feel trendy without as much of a price tag.   Aster
  • Anonymous response from poster: Thanks for your advice mums. It’s not that I can’t afford expensive outfits and she always dresses lovely from clothes from most of the stores listed but I guess her cousins just get away with wearing more ‘out there things’ as they are both very slim and tiny and my little girls a little bit bigger (still normal for her age) but they are tiny. She has lots of accessories etc also. I do know her cousins can be mean to her and they do judge her which or course I don’t agree with and discourage. They are treated much older then they actually are which I don’t do with my little girl. She’s only 5 so I treat her as still little. I guess I don’t agree with how they are being brought up thinking what they look like and wear is important. I have different values and I am just trying to teach my kids that it’s what’s insides that’s important. Thanks for the help everyone just wasn’t sure what to say to her when she says she looks ugly.   Anon response
  • Even at that age girls can feel that way – and even if we feel they need to know they are beautiful no matter what, its great for us to show them that we hear them I’d do a little splurge of basic pieces that will make her feel great – a nice skirt and top and dress – they don’t even have to be pricey – Charlie and me (Pumpkin Patch’s sister store) has some cute pieces for under $20 – even target or Big W have some cheap nice pieces! At this time of year the ‘trendy’ brands have good sales too so you can even pick up a great dress for a small price, alternately check out ebay for some great brands at very cheap prices if you are happy to buy used pieces. Round it out with a few special hair accessories – again online you can buy some accessories for only a couple of $$ from China and spend some Mummy Daughter time trying out some hair styles. If you don’t put the focus on shopping for the items but put the effort into the time spent with her she will still hold the values you want her to, but feel extra special all the same.   Renee
  • Mb a little shopping spree with a budget of $50 u can buy a few trendy outfits at either kmart or target for that then let her choose a pretty necklace or bangle to match and a nail polish for her toes.. As a mum of 2 girls 10 and 2 i know how hard it is to enstill self esteem ur doing a great job by telling her its what is inside that counts. Good luck and hopefully the cousins aren’t making her feel bad n picking in her mb that’s were it started by them showing off…kuds can b cruel xo   Rhiannon
  • Sounds like her cousins might be teasing her. She needs to understand not everyone can afford fancy clothes and its not all about what u look like on the outside and people shouldn’t judge u for what u are wearing and to just ignore them. I would be limiting time spent with people like that!   Bethany
  • I think you’re doing a great job. I also think that although looks shouldn’t define how beautiful someone is, it’s also important to teach how to present yourself well. If money is tight maybe you could do her hair up differently every now and again. I’m hopeless at this but youtube has some pretty easy tutorials and maybe if the budget allows, buy a few nice clothing staples. I buy my daughter clothes from Kmart and Target and she always gets compliments on what she wears and as mentioned accessories are a cheap way to dress up an outfit. Kmart have a range of girls headbands that are ridiculously cheap. Good luck x   Michelle
  • I used to feel like that as a kid.. I have a son but same goes ask her why she feels this way, find out if its because her cousins have “fancy” things or maybe see if she feels pressure to dress like they do or if they are teasing her…… My cousin came over and showed me how to do the girly things when I was 15….. Remember being a girl these days is way harder then when we were kids….. The girly day is a fantastic idea and it means she gets to learn from you good luck she’s lucky to have a mum who cares about her self esteem and well being. X   Skye
  • Kmart and big w are great for affordable trendy looking closes and there are also plenty of discount websites that sell name brands for a fraction of the cost and also I find heaps of trendy stuff on eBay cheap. When I buy clothes for my kids I think to myself I have nice things to wear so they should as well as I wouldn’t go somewhere nice just being comfortable I also like to feel good and kids are no different but clothes don’t have to cost a fortune. Good luck.   Raylene
  • You could do a “girls day” obve a wrek where you do hair, makeup (kid friendly if course), nails, and play dress up. Maybe budget in one “expensive” outfit a month as a gift. After all gifts aren’t only for special occassions. Maybe invite her cousins over wvry so often to have girls night with them so they can bobd more and that jealousy won’t come out as much. Bonding time is important for self esteem I would think good luck with your little girl!!   Brittany
  • Could you take her shopping and let her pick out a couple of nice pieces? Maybe somewhere like target that won’t break the bank? She might feel better if she’s picked the clothes?   Samantha
  • Take her shopping and let her chose what you but. That’s really letter her chose. There are some great things in discount department stores that won’t cost you more then you already spend. Let her express herself.   Rita
  • Take her out to get her nails done, and get a cute hairdo every once and awhile. I know it sounds strange, but my daughter loves doing it, and always says that she’s more beautiful than before. Buy her chapsticks and tell her it’s lip gloss (or actually buy her lipgloss) I know that appearance isn’t everything (and by that I mean beauty comes from the inside), but sometimes it helps to do little things to make her feel beautiful.     Melissa
  • Start shopping online – you can pick up cheap designed clothes at OzSale.com, pumpkin patch is always on this site. Let her start picking some of her own clothes…   Cindy
  • Go buy brand label clothes from an op shop. You can get her heaps and heaps of cool clothes , shoes and accessories for a 1/4 the price and no one needs to know. Maybe a new hair cut. The best thing you can do for your daughter is to show her how much you love your own body image and how happy you are with your own dressing styles. Your little girl is going to cop this from so many people while she is growing up not just her cousins, but friends and other children from school and then there is high school OMG what a self esteem nightmare especially around the age of 13. Love and respect yourself always but especially when your daughter can see and hear you. You will be her biggest role model as far as her own self esteem goes. Good luck beautiful mumma.   Vix
  • It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job, so don’t behaved on yourself. All you can do is talk to her about it and maybe next time you need to purchase clothing, take her with you. She might be a little fashion guru in the making!! I tried for years to get my daughter (7) to wear girly things, but she just isn’t into it, she likes leggings, pants etc and I wanted her in skirts, dresses!! Especially because I have 3 boys lol!! So I adjusted to her style and bought her some really trendy clothes with a girly twist! She is now happy and always looks great always check out myer during sales, because their clothes can be as cheap as Kmart! Best of luck. I’m sure you will find the solution.   Peta
  • Just take her shoping my 4 yr old and 6 yr old love to go to the shops I say ok pick same off this rack and that rack that way I know the price is not going to be crazy and it samething they want to waer.   Kirsty
  • Are you sure the cousins arent being critical of her? If so maybe spend less time with them.   Calire
  • I buy alot of my daughters clothing from cotton on in the sale section u can get so much pretty stuff for cheap! but even target have very pretty things and even better on sale!     Danae
  • When Cotton on kids have sales their clothes are extremely cheap! Sometimes cheaper then places like Kmart target etc… And I think their clothes are super trendy n cute and if u choose tights and dresses etc then they wld be comfortable too:-) Perhaps for bdays Xmas etc if ppl ask wat to buy her mayb say a small toy and a peice of clothing?   Dominique
  • Is it possible for you to learn how to do some of those fancy hair dos? youtube tutorials are great for this! my girls went thru a stage where they wanted side braids that went from one side of their head to the other, watched a couple tutorials and a bit of practice and now I can do them also id take her to the shops you buy her clothes at and let her pick a few outfits she feels are ‘trendy’ then she wont be so worried about it! I do it with my 4 girls, they know no short dresses/skirts but will happily chose longer ones if they know their limitations.   Amy
  • Kmart and Target have gorgeous clothes and they are cheap as.   Katrina
  • My kids are quite little still (16 mths and 3.5 yrs) and I dress them for comfort and practicality too … but they have 1 or 2 “good” outfits each. I don’t spend a fortune on these outfits but find something dressy from Target or Cotton on etc. that I think will be nice for the season. We are on a tight budget but I find that for less than $50 I can get a really nice few pieces that can be mixed and matched and are fancier than normal. Also check out pinterest for hair styles. I am by no means a girly girl and was terrified by the prospect of doing my little girl’s hair but there are some really cute and simple styles on there that even I can manage.   Lynne
  • Could you take her where you would normally buy her clothes from, and let her pick a ‘trendy’ outfit?   Karen
  • Perhaps buy a few cheap clothes from kmart etc, or wait till they’re on sale. Perhaps a dress and tights would make her feel more dressy, and they’re still comfy to wear. Maybe let her pick something out too? Also, how about a few cheap and colourful necklaces/ bangles etc? They will ‘dress up’ any outfit, and kids love play jewellery!   Brooke
  • Find some books at the library. Lots of kids stories out there that are relevant to these sorts of issues, my daughter loves to hear a story about things she can relate to – kids will generally believe a story told right. Good luck.   Michelle
  • If you have other children setup a hopshopgo account and if you don’t already have one a paypal account. Then look at target.com Kmart.com and Walmart.com. These are the American ones and the clothes are a lot cheaper. Most of the Aussie “Labels” are in these stores so much cheaper than you will find here.   Jillie
  • We have 2 nice going out outfits and shoes that we spend that little more on. The general clothes are comfortable affordable clothes. Hair accessories are pretty cheap. Taking a couple of minutes to do a braid or bun before going out. With three girls I find I need to keep jewellery and going out hair stuff separate. Glitter in a pot if gel is cheap but glamorous.   Michelle
  • I’d take her to kmart, let her choose a cpl nice outfits ( it’s very affordable there) and they always have bargains with clearance items!! Ur doing a great job. Keep telling her what u have been : ) Kmart also has some great cheap accessory stuff she can make her own bracelets etc!!   Annika
  • Maybe introduce her to the world of accessories and start teaching her how to do basic hairstyles like different braids and that. Every girl is going to go through a phase of this no matter what you do. It’s just our society. But you can show her how a plain white tee and some tights can be dressed up or down with different shoes, bracelets/necklace and a head band/a plait. If you look at most kids advertising clothing that’s what really makes the outfit and she can have some fun with different beads and that making her own accessories too.   Kai
  • Find her some beautiful handmade clothes, they’re not all expensive, I find magnolia house and buttons & bows children’s boutique quite cheap and absolutely gorgeous, she can pick the style and fabric and it’ll be made especially for her.   Bec

How would you manage this and help boost your child’s self esteem?

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