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Daughter Wears Skimpy Clothes

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: How important is it to monitor what my 14-year-old daughter wears? She is a very good student, doesn't give us much trouble, and is generally easy to get along with. She does look like she is 17 or 18 and some of the pants and short skirts she wears are revealing. Should we just let her make her own decisions or should we step in?

A: At 14, what she wears brings her a sense of power in creating an identity for herself during this very intense, confusing, hormonally charged time of her life. I have seen my daughter move through the teen years and have experienced the conflicts you mention when it comes to form fitting attire. My advice is not to express concern about her physical presentation of self unless you believe her appearance is deteriorating health-wise. Otherwise, take some pleasure in seeing your daughter as a teen leading a happy productive life, confident of who she is and how she looks.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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