I have never met a child who did not like to play dress up. A child's first experience of exploring who they are and what they want to be is played out when they pretend. All three of my kids loved to play dress-up and spent countless hours coming up with crazy costumes when they were little. Most girls go through a "princess" stage when all they want to do is pretend they're one of the many Disney princesses. complete with a magic wand and tiara. I've seen most little boys go through the "superhero" stage, and you may find them jumping off the sofa on any given day with their superhero cape blowing in the wind behind them! Children are the great imitators, and we must be careful what we model before them because they might just repeat what they see at exactly the wrong time and in the most embarrassing place. But being impersonators of their parents and others is how they begin to have dreams for themselves. Do I want to be a teacher like mommy? Let's play school. Do I want to be like daddy when I grow up? He's a brave policeman, so I'm gonna dress up just like him. Sometimes they mix and match and come up with unusual and hilarious combinations. A kitty costume with a sun hat? Alrighty, then. Research has shown that this very role-playing activity is healthy and desirable and, if I must say so myself, it's also extremely cute. As the kids get older, they enjoy dressing up for events such as school plays or themed birthday parties and might even try their hand at drama in high school. Believe me, ALL high-schoolers have drama, but I'm talking about the drama "club" that is sponsored by the school. To play the part of a character totally different from the person you perceive yourself to be can be quite the experience. Some even take their "wills to be unique" a little farther than others and try purple hair or body piercing or want a tatoo. But, hey, what's a little purple hair if she's an overall good kid? Youngsters from the cradle to graduation are always trying to determine who they really are, and it starts in the form of dress-up play. Even into college, they are continuing to find their own personalities My youngest decided in college that she wanted to have dread-locks so she began a mission to transform her silky dark hair into dreads.
Here is a picture of us awhile back (after her dread-lock experience and her hair had grown out). It was a couple of years before she moved to Houston and she had a super-cool friend who had dreads and she so wanted that look for herself. But, let's just be honest here, your hair needs to be a certain texture for dreads. She worked and worked with her hair but never could get them to set up, even after going to a hairdresser for help. I (being the sweet mother that I am, haha!) worked with her on one occasion for what seemed like forever and, with much backcombing, we finally got one piece of hair to lock up and it looked pretty good. But, alas, it fell out and the dread locks never came to be. I certainly didn't embrace the dread-locks look, but she wanted them and so I went along with it. After all, it didn't make her a bad person to wear her hair any way she wanted it. During that time, we attended the wedding of one of her high-school friends and I just know that family thought she was a mess coming to the wedding with that nappy hair! Today she has learned to allow the beautiful hair God has given her to thrive in its natural state. Oh, and BTW, she had to cut her hair short because of the "dreads" attempt and was sporting a short, short crop when she graduated college! Now, don't get me wrong, I like dread locks, I really do, but they have to be on the right head.
I am not suggesting that we don't give our children guidelines on how to dress or act or what some of their goals should be. That is totally necessary and it is well worth the battles which ensue when we are attempting to mold them into respectable people. I'm just saying pick your battles. There are some lessons we must teach them and there are some lessons they must learn on their own. And, hey, don't even get me started on those out there who wear their britches below their butt. I'm not even gonna go there. But as we take the challenge of bringing another human being into this world, we have one eventual goal: to rear them in a way that they become the kind of person who will make us proud enough to let them go out into the world on their own and find their individual successes. We are raising them to leave us. And all along they are testing the waters. They are looking for ways to find out what they want in life, to chart their own personal course, to find out who they are and who they are not. Being creative and seeking out new ways to do things is a huge part of it. So allowing them to dress up as a toddler is healthy for them and, if you ask me, loads of fun and laughter! Even though I don't especially like what Halloween stands for, I do enjoy seeing what costumes the kids come up with, and I have even been known to dress up myself. Pretending to be something other than what you are is exhilarating, especially if you can fool someone else, and in the process you begin to learn how to grow into the person you were meant to be. And when a little child plays dress-up, it is one of the most adorable things you can ever experience with them.
Posted by CC
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