Sparkle Report: Week of February 20

Good Afternoon Sparklers!

This week’s report has some interesting topics that’d I’d love to hear your opinion about over on my Facebook page; teenage “dress code” and proper “thank you” etiquette to name just two.

If you’re on February break and enjoying some sun, snow or a staycation, I hope it’s giving you the downtime you need to recharge.
Love and Learning,

To Do… At Home Fashion Show

We all know the wardrobe struggle is real. How many times have asked yourself “Can those clingy dresses GET any shorter?!?!” And our girls are seeing more and more revealing styles on their favorite celebs, even in stores just for tweens! Now is a great time to start to talk about one’s “style” and how what you are wearing for better or for worse, is portraying something about you.

Now we all have different opinions on what it is “too much” when it comes to wearing revealing clothing or as a means to attract someone’s attention. However, I hope that we all can agree that we want our girls to see clothing as an expression of themselves. A statement to the world, “I am me and I like me!”.  As caregivers, we want to help our girls make great choices for themselves that respect their need to “test out” who they are through fashion yet also are respectful what we deem appropriate for a young girl to wear.

And to do just that I suggest you put on a fashion show in your very own home.  Play around with different looks, styles and statements. Crank up the music and ask her to put on something that makes her feel strong, silly, creative, comfortable… you get the idea! Then it’s your turn. Model some of your outfits and ask what she thinks those clothes say about you. Put on your power suit, your most girly dress and perhaps something that shows a little bit more “skin” than makes you (and her) comfortable. Then go ahead and talk and laugh about each wardrobe change. The goal is to help her understand that fashion and what we chose to wear can say so much without saying anything at all. Like it or not, clothes make an impression.

Spark the Conversation:
We all know that you never get a second chance at a first impression, but did you know that others make split-second judgments about you within seconds of seeing you — probably before you’ve even opened your mouth! According to a study cited by Psychology Today, your clothes can color others’ judgment of you within seconds. As much as we may try not to judge a book by its cover, we innately make these initial observations whether we mean to or not. So how does this apply to our girls? Because of the influence that pop culture and trends have on many teens, teaching our daughters to dress appropriately is hard. Talk about what clothes say and what you DON’T want them to say about you. It’s not all about getting approval from friends or wearing the next “in” trend but expressing who you are in an appropriate way while your young.  Let her know that her beautiful personality should never be overlooked because of what body parts she puts on display.  Read more on this challenging topic here.

To Buy … Lizzo, Is she the next best thing?

You might’ve heard her song. It’s SO catchy.

Lizzo is making feminism accessible again by singing funky songs about loving herself. It’s a great reminder that everything, art included, doesn’t always have to be so elevated, controversial, or academic. She doesn’t care whether people view her music as political or just want to listen because she sings stuff that makes you feel good. Oh, and it DOES make you feel good! In this interview with Refinery29, Lizzo talks about how she only recently considered herself a feminist after black women like Beyoncé spoke up and made it seem cool, approachable, and not as intellectual as the Gloria Steinem and Lena Dunham role models we’re used to. The best part? She doesn’t sing songs about dating because she doesn’t really date. Because she is focused on building herself up first! Though she says she digs Taylor Swift, writing music about guys and breakups just isn’t her style. She writes songs about herself, like her most recent which is aptly titled, “Scuse me .”

Spark the Conversation:
Talk to your girl about what makes a leader. Why is Lizzo becoming popular now? What makes people stop and notice someone in particular? And what does your girl want people to stop and notice about her?

To Learn … “Glowing Up”

Have you heard of “glowing up”? It’s a phrase that all the cool kids (and the Internet) are using these days. Glowing up is (most often) a fun way to reference the transformation that happens when teens blossom through adolescence. I learned it from my daughter while we were scrolling through her Instagram feed one day and I thought what a fun term so long as these teens don’t get carried away and use it as a means to hurt their peers feelings. I personally appreciate the tip of the hat to the awkwardness of puberty and that it’s given a name to the way teens evolve and grow into their features as they get older. Apparently, it originated in 2015 and now the phrase is all over the Internet with the hashtag #GLOWUP on Instagram. There are tons of YouTube videos that compile some of the best and most dramatic examples of kids who really glowed up over the years. I personally didn’t love that it seemed to only refer to physical appearances, but I used that as a conversation point with my daughter. However, it turns out we can use “glowing up” to refer to inner beauty as well. It can be a transformation of someone’s maturity, confidence, or even sense of style! Read a little more about my thoughts here.

Spark the Conversation:
Discuss this term with your daughter. Has she heard it? Are her friends using it? What does she think about the phrase? Does she think it’s lame that we humans often focus on outer beauty and “glow”?  After your lively discussion it’s time to hit iPhoto or your old photo albums and look at some of your families glow ups!

To Think About … Handwritten Thank You Notes vs. Texts Or Emails?!?!

I know, I know! Just the thought of having that battle with your girl makes you cringe, right? After all, most of us parents didn’t have a choice in the matter when we were teens — the handwritten thank you note was non-negotiable. But with so many ways to communicate, handwritten notes are almost a lost art. I recently let my daughter text her thank you’s to her friends for their birthday gifts. And believe it or not, they seemed happy to know their gift was appreciated and not at all offended by the means it was delivered. Of course some situations call for the personal touch of a handwritten notes (like when grandma sends a twenty dollar bill just because!), but in a lot of cases, it could be worth a shot to go with the times and show our gratitude digitally. Wanna dig in more on this topic? Click here.

Spark the Conversation:
Ask your girl if she knows who Emily Post is. Probably not. Give her some history on etiquette and where the decades-old rules originated. Emily Post was born in 1872, and her book, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home was originally published in 1922. That’s 95 years ago! This book (and the updated versions that have been released in the interim) were an essential component to “polite society” in their own time. Explain how the world is rapidly changing and getting more casual and flexible with such expectations but being kind, helpful and respectful never goes out of style.

Let your girl know that technology and innovation are amazing, but we must be diligent in guarding personal connections. Come up with your own standards for when a traditional approach is the best choice, even if it’s not the easy choice.

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