Oh, look at little Tyler, he dressed himself. Doesn't he look great in his bright red shoes, camo shorts, purple shirt and black hat? And those adorable blue socks?
Isn't Tyler wonderful?
The answer, parents, is no. Little Tyler doesn't look great, or cute or even funny when he dresses himself. He looks like a homeless person who put his outfit together from items he found in the trash. Or a drunken college student. Or someone who lost a bet.
Here's a tip parents – don't let your little kids dress themselves. It rarely works out well.
I speak from experience here, not only as a parent myself but also as a member of society who has been subjected to parents letting their children dress themselves and then wander out into the wild.
I remember my son dressing himself and people talking about how cute it was that he looked like such a dope. I sat and suffered in silence most of the time, but when my former Green Bay Packer obsessed in laws went too green and gold crazy I had to step in. A Packer sweatshirt with pajama pants and galoshes? Sorry, my child is not going to even wear that around the house.
We think it is cute to give kids too young to tie their shoes the power to choose their wardrobe, but it's not. We believe it is teaching them to make decisions for themselves and to learn from their mistakes.
Excuse me, but young kids will pick their nose in church. Do you think they are really concerned about learning from mistakes?
This is especially true of young boys. Most of us would be dead if it were not for our parents – mostly our mothers – intervening. I, like many boys my age, was convinced that I could and should be the next Evel Knievel. I thought parachuting off of the roof with a bed sheet was a good idea. My friends and I lobbed lawn darts at each other mercilessly.
And you think we could pick out a great outfit? I only remembered to put on my pants half of the time.
Of course, once I discovered girls and that looking at least semi presentable was a good idea, I tried hard to pick out the perfect outfit every day. That usually consisted of jeans, a T-shirt and tennis shoes, but I pretty much couldn't go wrong with that look.
Girls, on the other hand, figure out pretty quickly what works and what doesn't when it comes to dressing themselves. Sure, my own daughter threw together some ghastly outfits to play around the house when she was little, but even by the age of 6 she didn't want to leave the house without looking, well, if not good at least not bad enough for someone to call child protective services.
I understand the urge to let children make their own decisions and their own mistakes. It is a great way for them to learn.
That doesn't mean we have to let our kids run around in society dressed like deranged hobos.
No, it probably won't hurt their self esteem if they look goofy out in public at a young age. But I'm not worried about your kids – I'm worried about me.
So please, take a look at little Tyler and Britney before they leave the house. Myself and many others appreciate your efforts.
For the complete article see the 03-13-2017 issue.