How to Control What Your Child Wears

Let's face the facts: parents and their children have different taste in clothes. How do you keep your child from wearing what you don't want them to wear? Note: While this works best for younger children, some steps can work/be modified for older children.


  1. Image titled Control What Your Child Wears Step 1
    Don't buy them. If you don't like the clothes, don't buy them.
    • Instead of just saying, "No. I won't buy that shirt," say why you won't buy it, "I don't like that shirt because it exposes your midriff."
  2. Image titled Control What Your Child Wears Step 2
    Dress your child. For very small children, you may be able to pick out an outfit before he/she chooses an objectionable one.
  3. Image titled Control What Your Child Wears Step 3
    Tell your child that you don't like what he/she is wearing. Make a suggestion to replace a specific article of clothing with another specific article of clothing. Emphasize the "coolness" of the replacement article. (Johnny...camouflage pants don't go with a tie-died shirt. Could you wear those nice jeans with the dinosaur patch on them with it? Those jeans are cool!)
  4. Image titled Control What Your Child Wears Step 4
    Tell your child firmly that he/she must go change.
  5. Image titled Control What Your Child Wears Step 5
    State the consequences. If he/she still does not go change, state the consequences of what will happen if he/she does not change within a certain amount of time.
    • "Hannah, if you don't go change into a bathing suit within 10 minutes, we won't go to the water park, and you won't get to see your friends."
    • "Robert, if you don't change into a suit for the wedding in 5 minutes, I won't let you have any cake or dessert at the party."
    • "Paul, if you don't change before Grandma gets here, you will have to go sit in time-out."


  • If there is a specific article of clothing that your child wears often, but you don't like, put that article of clothing in the very back of the closet or at the bottom of the drawer. Out of sight, out of mind!
  • Telling your child, "You cannot wear X to Y. If you do not go change, I am not going to drive the car," is particularly effective, especially if your child really wants to go to Y.
  • The effectiveness of these steps deteriorates with use. If the outfit isn't that objectionable, consider letting your child wear it.

Article Info

Categories: Parenting