A problem we encounter very often is a girl who absolutely WILL NOT wear a dress. She completely detests every dress in existence, past, present, or future. The dresses in our shop (of which we are so proud) are no exception.
A related challenge is modern parenting teaches us that bribes and coercion are not the way to good behavior. And, truly, that good behavior from a child and getting a child to do what we want of them, are not always one and the same. So, what to do when it really is an important dressy event and your dress loathing daughter refuses any dresses for girls?
We do not have the answer for every family. In our experience, the first thing to do is discuss the event with the little girl. Usually, the event in question is a wedding where the girl is asked to wear a flower girl dress or it is a performance where the girl is asked to wear any type of dresses for girls. In both these possibilities, as well as for a number of others not mentioned, we suggest you find the most positive element of why the child is participating in the event. If she is asked to be a flower girl, the bride must love and admire her dearly to want her to be a part of this most special day. If the event is a musical performance, then the child must enjoy her instrument and the lessons that have led up to a performance. This is a chance to share talent and demonstrate the beauty of her growing abilities. Discuss the importance of these very significant precursors to the actual event and perhaps the displeasure of having to wear a dress will seem small in comparison.
There may still be protests over having to wear a dress, remind her that not all dresses are frilly, flowery, or full of lace. A simple A-line dress is often an accepted compromise for the girl who detests dresses. We have also found that a simple A-line dress in the girl’s favorite color may be readily accepted. We also witness that darker jewel tones opposed to pastels and whites, appeal to girls striking against traditional frill. In the case of a flower girl dress, you will need to be upfront with the bride and groom who ask your little girl to be a flower girl. It is only fair that you warn them an overly romantic or feminine flower girl dress probably will not work and may result in unhappiness for everyone.
If there is no way, short of force, to have your dress detesting child wear a dress, then it is probably time to respect her opinion. We can never tell why certain things are so important to a child. It can sincerely be a matter of anxiety over appearance, and this is a sacred concern for young girls we wish to blossom into independent self-thinkers. Here is where you may have to search for dressy pant outfits and out-of-the-box solutions. Here is also where she may not be able to be a flower girl in your sister’s wedding. Be sure to discuss clearly, and without guilt, the results of not participating in the wedding or event. Then she has a choice to make on her own.
Remember, too, to find a retail outlet that specializes in children’s special event clothing, you are more likely to encounter helpful and friendly assistance, as well as advice and suggestions on selections. If the girl is not too young, she can perhaps be given the quest to find the dress she will actually wear. Allow her to browse online and share possible candidates with you. Again, if the event is a wedding and she is to be the flower girl, find out if you have the choice of the dress. If not, show her a picture of the dress and let her decide if it is acceptable after discussing the importance of a wedding.
Remaining calm, helpful, and full of respect for the child has rendered the best results in our 10 years of experience. Good luck!