When Cross Dressing Kids Are a Problem

Jeanne Sager

dog in tutuThe mom who let her son dress up as Daphne for Halloween, then wrote a blog post defending his choices, may be my new hero. But there's a group of moms trying to hide under her mantle who need to be outed as the scourge they are.

They don't let their kids cross-dress. They make them do it.

You may have met this mom. She's a card carrying member of the thrifty club, and she loves that cheap has gone chic with the green movement and the recession coming together.

She believes strongly that "kids don't care what they're wearing" and "kids grow out of things so fast, it doesn't matter what they wear." And she uses "it was cheap" as an excuse to buy anything that is vaguely near her kids' size -- no matter what it looks like (and no matter how much her fancy SUV decries the need to go that cheap).

Her daughter wears a Spider-Man raincoat to pre-school and stares longingly at your daughter's pink sparkly one. Her son, meanwhile, is wearing his sister's leftover leggings because, well, they're black. So what if they're tight?

And she's raging against society's boxes for kids, the gendered-approach to everything.

Sorry, Mom, you can drop the haughty tone. Your kids aren't cross-dressing because they have an affinity for it. They're wearing clothes that don't fit their bodies or their personalities because Mom is a cheapskate.

That's when cross-dressing crosses the line. You shouldn't have to be worried about what society thinks of your kids' preferences (yay Daphne!), but kids aren't dolls.

Even toddlers have their own tastes when it comes to clothing. There are girls who love Spider-Man, and there are girls who want silver spangles. There are boys who love trucks, and boys who want nothing more than a purple umbrella. And if you're shoving them into the opposite just to save a dime, you'd better be putting those dimes away for the therapy bills.

You don't have to cater to every whim. My kid is stuck wearing boys' PJs to bed because they were hand-me-downs, and no one is going to see her while she's sleeping. To bend, we've sworn off on the "tight on my legs" PJs that she says are too uncomfortable.

But the basics of merging personality with clothing picks won't even break the bank for you thrifty mamas. If you must go cheap, a run to the local box store can yield $2 t-shirts in their favorite colors (how long they'll last, I'll admit is a problem -- you can't find the fancy brands you'd get in a thrift store) and $5 pairs of gender-appropriate jeans.

But then she wouldn't get to be self-important.


Image via istolethetv/Flickr

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