Shopping for Independence
Get kid-friendly activities sent to you!
Get the Best Family Activities
Happily, just 24 hours before graduation, Mollie and I found a beautiful yellow dress that she absolutely loved. During this past summer, I have thought a lot about the ‘yellow dress’ experience, as Mollie and I have come to call it. I know with all my heart that there was enormous value in that crazy, last-minute shopping expedition—during which she tried on more than 20 dresses and I searched through racks until my feet were aching. Mollie knows for sure now that even if she makes a mistake (and she thought her first dress choice was a big one), I will be there to support her, help her, and guide her without an “I told you so” or a “you should’ve asked me first” comment.
As the new school year begins, it is the perfect time to consider the possibility of a ‘yellow dress’ moment with your child. Each school year offers greater independence and ever more complex academic, social, and emotional problems in need of solving. It is, of course, very important to allow your child space to experience developmentally appropriate autonomy in order to try to solve his or her own problems, test the waters, and hopefully make the right choices. But, it is even more important for your child to know that if something doesn’t go quite as anticipated you will be there to help fix things—without being impatient, angry, or frustrated that you weren’t asked first. So, this school year, keep your eye open for ‘yellow dress’ moments, and embrace them because they are the seeds of inner strength and high self-esteem for your maturing child.
Dr. Susan Bartell is a Long Island-based, nationally recognized child psychologist, speaker, and award-winning author. Her latest book is “The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask.” You can learn more about Dr. Bartell at drsusanbartell.com.
Read more of Dr. Susan Bartell's pieces here.