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Surviving Back to School Shopping with Tweens & Teens: Studio 5

Need help finding clothes to fit your standards and her style? It’s just one of the challenges moms face when shopping with “Tweens” and teens. Here are my tips to help help you resolve your shopping struggles, before you hit the stores.


1) Money

Pam: “I would like to ask how I can make my daughter understand the difference between a $100 pair of jeans and a $50 or $25 pair of jeans and how to make money go farther?”

Tip – Give your daughter the cash

Decide on a budget and stick to it. Be concrete about it by using cash so your daughter can actually see and feel the money. This is a great way to allow her to make difficult choices to be accountable for her clothing selections.

2) Modesty

Shannon: “How do I tell my daughter that things she likes are too short or too tight for my taste?”

Pam: “In today’s society everything is cut so low…how do I help her shop more modestly?”

Tip – Let your school dress code be the “bad guy”

My kid’s school district dress code says shorts and skirts must be mid-thigh or longer, no midriffs or underwear showing, no spaghetti straps or tank tops. Along with consulting the dress code, before going shopping discuss what styles are off-limits, how your family defines modesty, and what is considered age-appropriate.

3) What’s Appropriate?

Kristen: “My question is…my daughter, who is eleven and a middle schooler, wears sweat pants and yoga pants to school. I want her to wear appropriate, nice looking clothes for school and still be comfortable”.

Tip – Explore the question, “What do you want your clothes to say about you?”

Moms, this is a great opportunity to discuss how appearance isn’t everything, it isn’t the source of value, but it does send an initial message about who you are. Help your daughter explore what characteristics, values, and traits she wants to convey.

4) When Should Tweens/Teens Shop Alone?

Leah: “How do I tell my mom I’d rather shop alone, not with her all the time?

Tip – Ask directly for what you want without complaining

Instead of saying, “Why do you always want me to shop with you?” or “When are you going to let me shop alone?” try “Mom, I’d like to spend some time shopping alone this year. Would you be ok with that?”

5) Differing Taste and Values

Jayden: “How do I help my mom understand that name brand things are actually important to me?”

Sydney: “It’s hard to find something that we both agree on. How do I get my mom to buy me what I want?”

Tip – Use empathy to find the middle ground

Daughters – remember that your mom really does want what’s in your best interest and has more life experience than you do. Mothers – you can develop more empathy by reflecting on when you were a teen, and how certain details (brands, styles) were very important. From a place of empathy you can find that middle ground instead of getting into a power struggle.

About Dr. Julie Hanks, LCSW:
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to TV Shows and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available. Dr. Hanks is currently accepting coaching clients.

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