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Published on August 20, 2013

Mall Meltdown

Dean physician Jill Holz, DO, shares how to win the back-to-school shopping battle

Back-to-school shopping with a teenager. Does it ever go smoothly? Most parents have experienced the stress of trying to ensure that their teen looks appropriate, without starting a shouting match in the middle of the mall. Before you head out with your kid this fall, try these tips.

  • Talk About It: Rational conversations won’t happen among the racks of clothing your son or daughter just has to have. So before you even leave the house to shop, sit down and review the school dress code. Work with your teen to create a list of what he or she needs, and look online for inspiration.
     
  • Have a Plan: Before you head to the mall, establish a budget and identify the two or three stores that you’ll visit. Creating a plan before you leave the house will help minimize the frustration of wandering from shop to shop.
     
  • Bring Support: Invite your teen’s older sibling, aunt or one of your “cool” friends to join your shopping trip. Let’s face it: parents are rarely a kid’s go-to fashion advisor, but a respected third party could help get your point across (just make sure he or she agrees with your standards and restrictions!).
     
  • Start with the Positive: When providing feedback on your teen’s wardrobe choices, always begin your critique with a complimentary statement. If the first thing out of your mouth is “You’re not wearing that!” your teen will immediately shut down and become defensive. Find something good to say about their choice before suggesting another option. Then, dig deeper into what they like about it and try to find a more appropriate version.

Have you won the back-to-school shopping battle? How do you avoid mall meltdowns? Tell us below!

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