Positive Pareneting:  Keeping Up with Appearances

Positive Pareneting: Keeping Up with Appearances

As our children move from tricycles and cartoons to iPods and car insurance, they are “fighting” for independence and their appearance is outward evidence.  For the most part, considering all the other ways kids can show independence, appearance issues are fairly harmless.  So, how do you know when to let you kids “fit in” and we “step in”?

“Teens struggle with the need to fit in

at the same time they’re struggling with the need to stand out.”

Foster Cline, M.D. and Jim Fay

By creating a sense of self on the outside, pre-teens and teens feel that if they are accepted for what they look like on the outside, they will be accepted for who they truly are on the inside.  We need to help assist our teens with “looking normal” in a very sensitive way.  Helping them understand that not everyone knows who they truly are on the inside and the only impression they may have is by seeing what their clothes, makeup, hair and jewelry say about them without it being totally truthful.

In the fight to keep up with appearances, try to avoid control battles.    Your child has plenty of conflicts on the bus, in the lunchroom and peers.  If you can say something nice and you aren’t stretching the truth too much, use compliments to your advantage (and your child’s).  Set limits and an understanding of appropriate styles before you have confrontation.  We may old-fashioned, but we still love our kids!

Does your child use their appearance to create arguments?  Visit our blog for some additional strategies to neutralize arguments with your kids that you cannot avoid.


Kathy Jenkins is the President of Come To Order, a residential professional organizing company in Richmond, VA.  As a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Family Manager® Coach, Love & Logic Parenting® Facilitator/Coach and Student Organizer, Kathy especially enjoys working with kids and their families to help them learn good organizational skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.  To learn more about Love & Logic Parenting, follow Kathy on Facebook.

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