tween article from Mothering a few years back - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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#31 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 11:17 AM
 
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With respect, perhaps the people who state over and over that their child shows absolutely no indications of puberty perhaps haven't had the opportunity to personally guide their kid through (or aren't in the process of figuring out how to do so themselves--it's a hell of a lot harder than I thought it would be) the very confusing time where a child who is still very much a girl also must struggle with impulses that are the beginnings of adulthood as well.  I'm sure you can shame and suppress those thoughts/impulses, but...I don't think anyone here would *want* to do that.

 

I think that's where there is a disconnect, between people who primarily see a label as marketing, and those of us who (while we may not care about the specific label) don't mind there being a name for that delicate inbetween stage.  How one "permits" their children to act has nothing to do with the label, and everything to do with parenting.

 

 

I wish I was less shocked over and over about the hostile tone towards puberty that I see on MDC.  Then again, before I was sensitized to it due to my DD, I probably contributed to it, after all, since I was AP, limited TV, fed my kids good stuff and not SAD, we weren't going to have problems like that, after all.



I agree with this.  Helping my child go through puberty is much different from working with children and teens in the middle of puberty or even from being a child who went through puberty.  I remember my struggles when I went through early puberty, the feelings of isolation, and the ups and downs that seemed so uncontrollable.  That remembering doesn't tell me how to help my child deal with these things, especially since her experience is very different form mine in many ways because we are very different in our personalities.  Even when I can understand her feelings I still have to figure out how to guide her as her parent and my memories of going through puberty don't give me a lot to go off of. 

 

I also am saddened, but not surprised, that so many people view puberty as a problem or disease to be prevented on MDC.  I think a label helps to make this a more acceptable time even if it did come from an advertising campaign.  I think it is time we moved out of the dark ages where puberty was considered a shameful thing, especially if it happened early, and move onto accepting and labeling what is going on openly and proudly.  I don't think that we have to push kids to grow up by doing that, in fact my dd is much less mature about the world than I was despite having a much more open and pleasant experience, I think it just means we are acknowledging that things are changing.  A title makes it something to be proud of whereas ignoring it or treating it like a disease makes it something to be dreaded so I am going with the title.

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#32 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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With respect, perhaps the people who state over and over that their child shows absolutely no indications of puberty perhaps haven't had the opportunity to personally guide their kid through (or aren't in the process of figuring out how to do so themselves--it's a hell of a lot harder than I thought it would be) the very confusing time where a child who is still very much a girl also must struggle with impulses that are the beginnings of adulthood as well.


I am "the people" you're speaking of, however, I've helped/am helping 2 generations of girls navigate puberty, so if you think I don't know what I'm talking about, I assure you that I have the experience (twice over) and am speaking from that experience.  I was the "go-to" next-door aunt when my nieces were going through puberty in the 80s and now their kids are going through puberty (one with precocious puberty) and I've been on-hand for them as well.  My dd is younger, so I'll be going through this a third time soon, I expect.  With respect... I am not randomly forming my opinions.  They are rooted in personal truths and keen observation that I'm using to make my dd's journey the easiest possible.  Perhaps you don't understand because you're just starting the journey.  And just because I'm "old" by MDC standards, doesn't mean I don't remember my own adolescence.



No, actually, I don't consider you one of "those people".  But I do see people constantly here talking about how proud they are that they won't have their little girls growing up because they're keeping them away from plastic, non-organic food, marketing, ect.  Over and over and over again.  Most of the time when people do this, I look at their sig and see that they have very young children.  Making puberty a freak show seems to have become the latest scare tactic du jour in the progressive/AP parenting and activist community--my email box is flooded with crap from organizations I have belonged to for years with scary titles like "OMG 8 year olds going through puberty because they're fat and wrapped in plastic".  I'm sure that it was there before, but as I acknowledged in my other post, until they were talking about MY kid (who is neither) it went over my head.  The media is contantly blaring stories about how puberty is bad, especially for girls.  I find it heartbreaking that the same groups screaming that also turn around and then say, "But how come girls have their self-esteem in the toilet? Why are girls desperately trying to diet at 8?"  Well, gee, I wonder.

 

FWIW, I have been involved with teen and middle school youth groups since I was in my early 20s, ect.  In my experience, it is different when it's your own kid--at least it has been for me.  WIth those other kids, and some of my younger cousins though, it was not in my face 24/7.  Because I was not the parent, I also didn't have to deal with my friends making horrific comments about my child in front of me, I didn't have to see people treat my child like she was the boobie leper that was going to turn their kids into sluts, since I wasn't buying clothing for them on a regular basis I didn't have to deal with trying to find "in between" clothes that were playground appropriate while still accomodating hips and a butt, and I didn't have to deal with the pediatrician calling my kid fat right in front of her because she is in the 95th percentile for weight (while being off the charts heighwise, BTW) at the very moment when naturally she is starting to care more than she has before about what peers/adults think!!

 

That's why it's so frustrating to hear "EH, it's just a fake label, no matter what."  From the advertising standpoint, I suppose.  I wish it went the other way--that "tween" clothes instead of being mini-juniors could be kids clothes cut for changing bodies.  But from a social/emotional standpoint (which is, IMO, what I have seen most parenting articles reference, aside from the one referenced from Mothering, though it does state up front that it is primarily talking about the *marketing label*, at least) I do think there is a fuzzy category.  Like all things developmental/physical, there is not a hard age and I'm sure there are kids who don't even go through it or spend much time there (I think it may be particularly pronounced in kids that do start to go through puberty when they are younger, to me going through it at 12-14 vs, 8-11 has different implications).  But why must people who do view that as a distinct stage be trashed?

 

I'll say it again.  Just because you acknowledge that there may be another reason why your kid is moody to add to the potential list of reasons doesn't mean that you are neglecting the fact that there may be other reasons (or most likely MULTIPLE reasons!).  If you do search the "tween" racks of clothes for your kid because osh kosh is not cut for hips or because your kid has hit one of the growth spurts and is an 8 year old in size 14/16 kids stuff, it doesn't mean that you're going to let her dress like a streetwalker and you're signing her up for facebook.  I don't think most moms on MDC work that way, about anything. 

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#33 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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Who said anything about treating puberty like a disease?  How about we respect it for when it ACTUALLY happens rather than letting the media rush our children into something they're not ready for?

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#34 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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But it IS actually happening for some kids.  It sounds like our kids are the same age.  That is the problem--there is no concrete age.  The media did not rush my child into puberty before yours--it's genetics and environment.

 

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Who said anything about treating puberty like a disease?  How about we respect it for when it ACTUALLY happens rather than letting the media rush our children into something they're not ready for?



 

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#35 of 48 Old 12-28-2010, 03:01 AM
 
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 Just because a girl is developing breasts doesn't mean that she is ready to meet the world of dating, boys, cliques, crushes, popularity contests, back-biting, gossiping, and all the other "tween traits" that Disney exposes that age set to.  A girl that is developing breasts doesn't have to conform to the trappings of what "tween" represents.

 

ETA:  What their marketing research has found is that the Disney Princesses are great money makers for the 3 -7 yo set.  Then they don't know what to do with the 8, 9, 10, 11 year olds.  They're too old for the Princesses, but really, emotionally too young for the Hana Montana.  So... voila... move them into the Hana Montana set earlier.  More time to make money.
 

 

I am reading with fascination despite not having a tween girl at all.

 

However I have to say that I was a 8-12 year old girl and those were some of the worst years for bullying and cliques that I remember - in the late 70s/early 80s before the term tween was invented. I remember saving for a transistor radio (iPod equivalent) at that age and also my proud first purchase of a *cough* Olivia Newton-John album in grade 5. I also was in an oddly constructed French Immersion class where there was one boy and 16 girls, and his mom made him take each of us on a 'date' in grade 5 (to the movies) so that everyone would have the experience (which was um, getting dropped off at the movie theatre, seeing the movie awkwardly, and getting picked up:)). And the surreptitious reading of Judy Blume's Forever and the sneaking in to see Little Darlings, oh my.

 

So...I don't see it as solely modern-marketing driven. I do think that it is exploited by marketers, who probably did invent the term 'tween' but I really don't think it's a stage created by them.
 

I do think one of the best books I've read about it is Raising Ophelia by Mary Pipher and she does have a lot of suggestions for how to counter some of the bad messages while celebrating the journey.

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#36 of 48 Old 12-29-2010, 09:20 AM
 
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You know, I think the Mothering article explains my position most succinctly and perhaps I'm not stating things as well as I should be.  I really do think the article has hit the nail on the head, so I'm not going to say much more on the subject.  I'll leave it to Mothering to make my case and let others decide on their own.  My stance is working well for my family and I hope others' do as well for theirs.  Here's the article again:

 

http://mothering.com/green-living/stealing-childhood?page=0,1

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#37 of 48 Old 12-29-2010, 10:51 AM
 
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On the opposite side of early puberty, I was super-late.  I didn't even begin developing breasts until about 15 (yeah, that was fun), and I got my period at 17.  I went to 2 specialists and was told there was nothing at all wrong with me and I was just a slow developer.  For the record, I drank Kool-Aid and milk and ate Oreos and mac and cheese.  I was formula fed from a bottle.  All my toys were plastic and I chewed on lead pencils.  nut.gif   At 13 I still loved dolls (I played with Cabbage Patch dolls and Barbies).  Yet I also reallllllly liked boys.  So no clue what was going on with my hormones.

 

For me personally, I generally hate the term "tween" because of what it seems to imply (at least where I am from).  People here start applying the term at age 8, and suddenly kids are watching the tween-type shows about young teenagers (and when I've seen them, they seem to be sarcastic and disrespectful....considering my DD loves to mimic, this is not a good thing).  They encourage their kids to listen to dance music (ex: 2 of my friends have placed a "boom box" in their kid's room and it blasts dance music all day long).  I don't want my kid singing some of those lyrics!  Ex: one friend's 8 year old was singing Body Bounce....omg.  "I'm about to launch my rocket, Take off your clothes and reach in my pocket" are NOT words I want my kid singing.  That is one example...there are several.  It is like they just stop considering what is age-appropriate!  And don't get me started on clothes.  I have one heck of a time here finding nice normal clothes that don't look trashy or with words all over the bum.   

 

My 8 year old is not a tween in my mind.  She is a kid.  And she'll be an older kid at 10.  And she'll be a teen at 13.  But I seem to be in the minority (amongst friends/acquaintances).

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#38 of 48 Old 12-29-2010, 05:52 PM
 
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My 8 year old is not a tween in my mind.  She is a kid.  And she'll be an older kid at 10.  And she'll be a teen at 13.  But I seem to be in the minority (amongst friends/acquaintances).


Respectfully I would suggest that this only works if your dd follows your genetic lead, which is probably the most likely scenario.  Whether you listen to certain music, etc. doesn't impact when the physical changes of early adolescence begin.  If your dd begins puberty earlier than 13, you might want to meet her with a greater sense of her changing self.  There's a lot happening between 10 and 13.

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#39 of 48 Old 12-30-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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But why would it only work if she follows my genetics?  Even if she started getting breasts at age 10, she is still just an "older kid".  Even if she got her period at 10, she would not be a "teen" until 13.  Who cares what the label is?  10 year olds are kids, aren't they?  Even if they are having hormonal changes, a 10 year old is an older kid; or if you love the label "tween", you could use that...I just dislike it because it implies little teenagers chasing boys/girls and talking on their cellphones (at least around here!).  At 11 I had lots of homones (despite being flat-chested).  I liked boys but I was still a kid.
 

I have heard several people (acquaintances/cousins, etc) say their kids is "9 going on 19" like it is a good thing.  I don't get how that is a good thing!!  And they appear to almost encourage this type of behavior (ex: clothes that appear way too old for a 9 year old like off-the-shoulder tops, allowing makeup, providing a cell phone, as I mentioned earlier...encouraging them to listen to music with age-inappropriate lyrics).  It goes on and on.  Sure kids may want to act like they are 16, but at age 9 there is no way I would be letting my child get into this stuff.  There are many years for that later.

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My 8 year old is not a tween in my mind.  She is a kid.  And she'll be an older kid at 10.  And she'll be a teen at 13.  But I seem to be in the minority (amongst friends/acquaintances).


Respectfully I would suggest that this only works if your dd follows your genetic lead, which is probably the most likely scenario.  Whether you listen to certain music, etc. doesn't impact when the physical changes of early adolescence begin.  If your dd begins puberty earlier than 13, you might want to meet her with a greater sense of her changing self.  There's a lot happening between 10 and 13.

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#40 of 48 Old 12-31-2010, 07:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am getting a little frustrated. I started this thread to talk about something.

I am NOT talking about eight year old who are going through puberty. An eight year old going through puberty is a different case than, well, anything. An eight year old girl going through puberty is also way different than an eleven or twelve year old going through puberty.

Also, a whole lot of girls get breasts at ten. Even with the organic food ;). Ane, yes, I completely see in our crunchy community, the idea among crunchy mamas with just little little girls, that feeding them kale and no sugar will equal breasts at an early age. Here, that attitude stops

earlier because in our homeschooling group clearly

  the girlsten and up are developing. And these are kids on all organic strict diets.(Some anyhow.)

What I'm talking about is how it took me twenty literal minutes to find an outfit in Old Navy for my just turned eight year old.  Her aunt, who never buys her things for her birthday or Christmas, surprised us by buying two pairs of skinny jeans. My little girl is not wearing skin tight clothes so I took them back but they would only give me store credit. If I was in a different financial place. I would have bought the baby onsies and just got my dd a lovely Land's End dress instead. (Or two on sale because these horrible jeans were pricey.) But I can't do that so I looked and looked and looked for an outfit for her that didn't look, well, like something a teenager would wear.  I eventually found ONE skirt that she would like and looked like something a little girl would wear. And a little top with an owl on it. 

*That* is what troubles me. I shpuoldn't have to wade through clothes for that long to come up with something childlike for my child (for the record, the skit went up to a  14 as did the top so a developing eight or nine year old could have worn the same thing very comfortably and looked adorable in it.)


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#41 of 48 Old 12-31-2010, 08:39 AM
 
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On the opposite side of early puberty, I was super-late.  I didn't even begin developing breasts until about 15 (yeah, that was fun), and I got my period at 17.  I went to 2 specialists and was told there was nothing at all wrong with me and I was just a slow developer.  For the record, I drank Kool-Aid and milk and ate Oreos and mac and cheese.  I was formula fed from a bottle.  All my toys were plastic and I chewed on lead pencils.  nut.gif   At 13 I still loved dolls (I played with Cabbage Patch dolls and Barbies).  Yet I also reallllllly liked boys.  So no clue what was going on with my hormones.


Just wanted to mention there hasn't been lead in pencils since 1500 or something, maybe there was some in the paint on the exterior if you were chewing them in the 70's, but graphite replaced lead a loooong time ago winky.gif.  Ya know, while I'm going OT, I was just thinking recently about how Kool-Aid is a much healthier drink than many on the market, these days.  Mixed up at home, it's made with honest to god sugar rather than HFCS!  The Oreos you ate were possibly before they switched them to being made with trans fats (depending on whether you were young enough to be chewing those pencils with lead paint).  I suspect the milk industry increased their hormone use at some point, certainly after my 70's childhood...  Our childhood environment was not the same as our children's.

 

Anyway, I have noticed some people seem in a rush to have their children grow up, almost as if they think it means their kids are somehow advanced if they like things intended for older kids.  I see it with very young children and it keeps going.  Parents are eager to share their interests with their kids and show Star Wars to their toddlers or whatever.  Parents buy things a couple developmental stages ahead of their child.  Some might even spend hours coaching their kids in how to use those items for which they are not developmentally ready.  You hear people tell preschoolers that they can't have a certain toy because "it's for babies."  I can see where some "tweens" might get the message that they should stop playing with toys...


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#42 of 48 Old 01-01-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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I think think that tween *is* used as a marketing tool. And I think that the term was made up for that purpose.  Growing into adulthood is a long and wonderous process.  I hate how it has been used by companies to make money by applying labels.   And I do believe that people that buy into that consumerism kind of throw their young daughters (and yes, I think the focus is more on girls than boys) into growing up faster than they are probably emotionally and socially ready to.  I really think that media EXPLOITS the changes that are happening to these young girls by promoting a certain type of mainstream "popular" girl and all of the trappings associated with it...  and they call it "tween".

 

I don't care for the term, personally.  I really just hate the drive to get girls to be boy-crazy and popularity-crazy and clique-crazy at 9 years of age in order to sell more posters and t-shirts.  That's really what it's about.  That is the "tween" craze in a nutshell.  Instead, I think we should just help our children along the path to adulthood which is a VERY long process and it can't be packaged and labeled.

 

FTR - my dd will be 9 soon and she shows not one single sign of entering puberty.  She is still VERY much a child.  She knows the name of popular "tween" trends (although she still thinks his name is Justin Beaver, lol) from her friends at school, but she is absolutely not interested in them.  She still likes Curious George and other PBS programs and has never seen any Disney or played video games. Then again, we don't have media influence in our home like many do.  I'm planning to let her be a child as long as she needs to be.  I won't let a label or the marketing companies grow her up any faster than she will on her own.


This post really resonated with me. I think it is more realistic to think of childhood as a continuum of processes that gradually progresses toward adulthood. You can't put labels on it ESPECIALLY since every child develops so differently. In this way I think tween is such a marketing ploy trying to ensnare mainly 8 and 9 yo girls into the Hannah Montana mentality when many are in no way ready to progress to that level of "tween" with the training bras and provocative clothing.

 

FWIW, I developed ahead of all of my peers and although I looked like a teen, and had all the hormones of a teen I was still very much a child, played with dolls and toys, watched Care Bears, and emotionally was very childlike despite my physical development.

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#43 of 48 Old 01-01-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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But it IS actually happening for some kids.  It sounds like our kids are the same age.  That is the problem--there is no concrete age.  The media did not rush my child into puberty before yours--it's genetics and environment.
 

No, the media doesn't cause puberty to happen.  But it does attempt to shape how tweens should behave and look.  They should behave like little teenagers (according to pop culture).  That's what I have a problem with.  Not all 10 year olds have breasts.  And it shouldn't matter if they do or not.  A 10 year old should not be wearing clothing designed for a 16 year old even if they DO have breasts.  It just looks so wrong (to me, anyway).  And I hate the snotty, sarcastic attitude the media portrays them as having.  Sure, a lot of them may act that way in general, but do they need to watch "role models" acting like that too, making it the norm?  I know an 8 year old girl who has breasts (she happens to be on the heavy side).  She's obviously going through early puberty as she is much taller than the other girls in the class. But despite needing to wear a bra, she is just a little girl.  She plays with dolls and stuffed animals.  Yet if her mom dressed her in skinny jeans with Ugg boots, a black rhinestone top and put a cell phone in her hand, she could pass for 14.  Much better than she is wearing kid-clothes and looking age appropriate.



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What I'm talking about is how it took me twenty literal minutes to find an outfit in Old Navy for my just turned eight year old.  Her aunt, who never buys her things for her birthday or Christmas, surprised us by buying two pairs of skinny jeans. My little girl is not wearing skin tight clothes so I took them back but they would only give me store credit. If I was in a different financial place. I would have bought the baby onsies and just got my dd a lovely Land's End dress instead. (Or two on sale because these horrible jeans were pricey.) But I can't do that so I looked and looked and looked for an outfit for her that didn't look, well, like something a teenager would wear. 

 

Exactly.  This is my frustration as well.  It shouldn't be so difficult to find cute, age-appropriate clothing for little girls!  Society just seems to have an attitude that by 8 they should be ready to move into the teen category (size 7 - 16).
 

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#44 of 48 Old 01-01-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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I don't think the clothing and music thing is new.  I was a kid in the 80s and my mother still talks about how impossible it was to find non Madonna inspired clothes.  I remember a girl in my 2nd grade class has one of those oversized off the shoulder cropped shirts that showed her belly button and her bra strap (she had no bra strap).  I thought it was sooo sophisticated and begged my mother for one.  Ha!

 

And I remember walking my little sister down to the drug store to buy a bottle of Debbie Gibson's Electric Youth perfume that she had saved her own allowance for.  I don't know how old she was, but it was 2nd grade or earlier because that's when we moved and I know it was in our old house.

 

I agree that tween is a word invented by marketers, but I don't think that the idea of little kids as consumers is new, and I don't think that everyone suddenly woke up one morning in 2005 and a sea of play-appropriate lose knit dresses had been replaced by Hanna Montana wear. I think maybe we didn't notice it so much when we were kids because we didn't get it. I remember a girl in elementary school (maybe 4th or 5th grade) had a T shirt that said Boy Toy on it, and we all asked her what it meant and she answered that it meant that she liked to play with boys.  We all agreed that we did too.  Trust me, none of us meant "play" in ANYTHING other than tag, soccer, and monkey bars.

 

And I'm not saying these things are harmless: I have to admit that I'm in the "keeping my kids little as long as possible" camp. I just want to make the point that this isn't new.

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#45 of 48 Old 01-01-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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For those looking for non-"teen" looking clothing for kids, I have had the most success at JC Penney and Sears, Hanna Andersson (though I live near an outlet, that's the only way I can afford that!), as well as getting creative with layering, esp. for tops.  (It seems like a lot of the teens and women do that around here too, since most t-shirts or whatever are cut so close with your rear and cleavage hanging out).  Occasionally we have found some good stuff at Kohls (though DD has to try it on), and I know there are good basic sweats and stuff at Target (we don't shop there though).  I don't live near an Old Navy so we have never shopped there, but I have heard a bunch of complaints about the larger kids sizes there from other moms as well.

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I'm thinking people here would probably judge my almost 9-year-old's clothes then.  She has skinny jeans, and she has shirts with sequins on them, but she doesn't look even remotely sexual in them.  But then of course she hasn't started developing a figure at all.  I didn't know skinny jeans and sequins were sexual?  Everyone wore skinny jeans in the 80s and I don't recall them being considered sexy then either.

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#47 of 48 Old 01-01-2011, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post

For those looking for non-"teen" looking clothing for kids, I have had the most success at JC Penney and Sears, Hanna Andersson (though I live near an outlet, that's the only way I can afford that!), as well as getting creative with layering, esp. for tops.  (It seems like a lot of the teens and women do that around here too, since most t-shirts or whatever are cut so close with your rear and cleavage hanging out).  Occasionally we have found some good stuff at Kohls (though DD has to try it on), and I know there are good basic sweats and stuff at Target (we don't shop there though).  I don't live near an Old Navy so we have never shopped there, but I have heard a bunch of complaints about the larger kids sizes there from other moms as well.



Hanna Anderson clothes are wonderful. Sometimes I can find them at our consignment store and dd loves them too. I am so jealous of people who live near the outlets.

Sears had Land's End dresses on sale for around ten dollars! That is part of what annoyed me so much about the whole Old Navy trip. Because it was a gift receipt, they said I had to accept store credit. I would have loved to have taken the money from returning the skinny jeans and gotten two Land's End dresses. My dd loves them, I love them, it would have been so perfect. 

Thanks for the JC Penney tip.  My husband is a student, though, so usually we just shop second hand. Maybe sometime I'll be able to check it out though.


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#48 of 48 Old 01-03-2011, 12:16 AM
 
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I hear ya on the consignment thing.  I am really sad that because of DD's growth spurt she got knocked out of our handmedown loop (as a recipient anyway) and the kids/general consignment and thrift stores seem to be pretty light in her size (she is a 14 in most things, could really do 16 for length, but 16s fall off of her waist), since it's at the "end" of kids sizes but really before juniors (not that I'm looking forward to that price bump).

 

Luckily we are also able to make dresses "stretch" with leggings and jeans/slim pants.  And layering with long camis has really saved $$ too and it looks cute, esp. in the middle of a rapid growth spurt where literally they can be busting out the bottom of their shirts not because of girth but because their torso seems like it lengthened by 4 inches overnight.  :D

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