#13: How Athleisure Clothing Helped My Daughter Build Confidence

Time Magazine ran a story awhile back about fusion energy, which peaked my curiosity because if this radical power source was ever made safe enough, as well as affordable and accessible to more people, it could replace humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels, such as oil and natural gas, and that would be great for the environment and the economy.

So, while the possibility of fusion energy was interesting enough, that story also made me think of my youngest daughter, who never sits still and behaves a lot like the Energizer Bunny much of the time. Maybe you know kids like that. My daughter, Clara, could be a power source in her own right and in fact, it would have been appropriate to use FUSION as her middle name.

I remember one time when all of us, except Clara, were sitting in the kitchen chatting. Clara, was there too, but since she can’t sit still to save her life, she was standing outside the kitchen window in the yard and she was hula hooping while we were having our discussion. She was participating in the discussion through the open window like it was no big deal, but she never stopped moving even once.

This type of behavior is normal for her life and over the years, the rest of us have just come to accept her for who she is and truth be told, she has inspired the rest of us to be more active and fit in our lives as well. Had she gone to regular public schools, instead of being homeschooled, very likely she would have been labelled as ADHD because the chances of her sitting still in a desk for multiple hours a day would have been less than nil.

But, I guess I should be thankful that both of my daughters are extremely active and as a result, they are also very fit and healthy. The other day, I read an archived article in the Globe and Mail newspaper called, “Sitting is the new smoking and it’s time to quit.” That article actually scared me in terms of the damage we are doing to our bodies simply by just sitting still in front of screens for too many hours everyday.

The funny thing is that Clara’s clothing choices have always seemed to reflect the active side of her personality as well. As soon as she started to demand wardrobe independence from me, she switched to an almost exclusive athleisure preference and at times, this need has gotten a little ahead of her. For example, a few years ago, she took her athleisure fashion demands to a whole new level when she became obsessed with a brand of athleisure wear called Iviiva, made by Lululemon. Maybe you’ve heard of it… it’s the one designed for young girls who are passionate about dance and gymnastics. She tried to convince me it was all about comfort, but I knew that wasn’t the full story and in reality, she was just trying to be more like her dance friends. Like most kids, she was trying her best to fit in.

What about you… do you have a child or more than one child who has gotten stuck, or at least caught up, on a fashion, style or clothing issue at one point or another? Maybe it was a brand issue or a trend issue or just a very strong personal preference or demand.

Initially, it was hard to navigate Clara’s demands on this issue because my daughter is not alone in her desire to wear athleisure clothing most, if not all, of the time. It seems that athleisure has become a fashion trend that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. People are insisting on being comfortable in everything they do and the fashion world is sitting up and taking notice. I’m not sure if these means that people are also getting more active, but everywhere you look, there are stores and brands adding athleisure looks to their seasonal lineups.

Of course, being obsessed with Iviiva is small potatoes compared to some of the crazy ideas kids get about fashion, style and clothing, so, the question seems to be; what can moms do about a kid who develops a truly unhealthy behavior around fashion, style and clothing or even a behavior that may become counter-productive to a stress-free future? Can something like this be prevented? Can anything be done at all?

From a stress management perspective, peer pressure, corporate marketing and the media are the trifecta of pressures that can really mess with our kids’ self image and so moms have to be diligent at all times in keeping these pressures at bay. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I can never let my guard down.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure our parenting practices are empowering and not setting kids up to fail. When it comes to fashion, style and clothing, to most of us, it probably seems that spending too much time worrying about it would be a colossal waste of time, but as with all things we take for granted, if we never spend any time processing the big picture, it’s easy for very problematic things to get missed or even made worse without our even being aware of it. It can be quite a slippery slope, so to speak.

To make fashion, style and clothing into an empowering experience instead, I have found there are 13 things that moms need to consider early on and then make sure these things are put in place during the early childhood years and then these things need to become even stronger during the elementary school and teen years. Each one of these items doesn’t really require a superhero effort; rather, they require an ongoing awareness and consistency in how they are approached at home.

To help with these 13 issues, I’ve created a Fashion, Style & Clothing Empowerment Tool. We can just call it the FSC Tool, for short. Once again, I based this tool on a well-known business management concept used to monitor goals and objectives in a well-run business. For our purposes; however, the FSC Tool is aimed at helping moms ensure their children are learning how to make fashion, style and clothing work for them instead of against them starting from a very young age.

Of course, the process doesn’t have to be difficult or take a lot of time, but it should also not be taken too lightly, because if we are honest, as moms, we would wholeheartedly admit that our own school years were not easy for us either, especially when it came to fashion, style and clothing choices and the associated identity issues, peer pressure and bullying. As with anything, when it comes to stress management, it pays to be predictive, proactive and responsive instead of reactive and crisis-oriented.

That way, if you have a child, like I did, who gets stuck on some FSC issue at some point in their development, you can be ready to help your child navigate the situation so it doesn’t turn into a problem that causes stress and difficulty for years to come.

My daughter wears athleisure most of the time… for now… but she does not feel boxed in by her choices or by external pressures and she’s learned how to be adaptive and flexible as she grows. Her clothing choices totally support her high-energy personality and she has all the skills she needs to respond to the changing demands in her life without feeling the need to compromise anything.

Oh and one more thing… it’s always important to pay attention to all things that cause destructive stress on the body and the physical stress that can be caused by clothing is no exception to the rule. We want to make sure that we’re not allowing our children to damage their bodies by the clothes they wear.




About The Author

Jill Prince, MBA

Hi, I'm Jill. I'm a Certified Health Coach & Stress Management Consultant as well as a mom of 2 amazing teen girls - Julia & Clara. Through my work, I hope to honor & inspire moms by equipping them with dynamic tools to conquer stress & empower the future.

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