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Andrea’s friend had the best jeans: dark blue with purple stitching, enhanced by sparkles. Oh, Andrea wanted a pair just like her friend. They were way more than her parents had ever spent on a pair of jeans, yet, she really, really wanted them.

Today, the pressure to have the right clothes has only grown stronger. How do you, parent, deal with expense and the style? Dr. Leman gives parents ideas on how to deal with this.


Why is clothing such a big issue?

As we see it, there are two basic issues here: budgeting and modesty.

The clothing that our kids are pressured to wear is not only expensive, but often very immodest. Just about everything around them is sensual–the singers, actors, TV shows, and advertisements. Kids act like lemmings, following the cultural example in order to be accepted by their peers.

Is their a way to work around this without angering or alienating your kid?  Yes there is!

Basic Advice

  1. Set a budget for clothes.
  2. Give cash in hand to each kid. This is all the cash they will get for that time.
  3. Let them figure out how to get the most out of the money.
  4. Start at age 8 or 9.
  5. Kids will not make great decisions at first. That is okay. They will learn quickly.
  6. Focus on the worth of that child when talking about modesty.
  7. If there is a conflict over modesty, ask them, “Is this what you want to portray about yourself? Is this who you are?”

How do you talk to your teenagers about this?

If you are establishing a new course in regards to clothing, sit down with your teenager to discuss it. First off, apologize that you have not set the right precedent with regards to clothes shopping and are establishing a new routine. Tell your daughter how you value her, how beautiful she is, how you enjoy her and how bad choices have been made in the past about clothes. The new routine is going to be a set amount of cash in her hand, plus mom, or mom and dad, going with her to shop for clothes. If the clothing is immodest, then it will have to be bypassed or returned.

When she gets upset about this new routine, stay the course and stay calm. Tell her that she only has a few more years of living with you and then she can spend her own money however she wants to. Explain to her why modesty is important and what it says to others, especially boys. Remind her that she is spending your money and you have this right as a parent.

If you want to hear super duper great example of how to talk to your teenager, listen to Dr. Leman role play at the episode’s end!


The next session is on Ask Dr Leman. If you have a question or thought regarding this topic, please leave us a voicemail for the next session. It must be under 30 seconds for the podcast. We reserve the right to use your question on the podcast. (This is NOT a private voicemail for personal counseling.)

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Podcast by: Dr. Kevin Leman with Doug & Andrea Terpening Blog: Doug Terpening