Empowerment or Entitlement: The message behind children’s clothes

I was doing some online shopping last night and got so fed up by some of the cn7515318children’s clothing I saw. Many of the shirts were labeled with haughty phrases like “Princess In Training” or “I Call the Shots.” The one that tipped me over the edge said, “I run this ship, just ask my parents.” Lord, help us.

How degrading for that child’s parents! I know firsthand that it’s a constant power struggle to remain in control of my children. Why would I dress my child in clothing that reinforces a self-centered, bratty attitude? I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “Most of the children who would wear this type of clothing can’t read yet, so why does it matter?”

It matters because it conditions us as a society to accept temper tantrums and bossiness. We begin to expect princess-like behavior from little girls with crowns on their shirts or giant shiny labels that read “Drama Queen.” It’s not the well-mannered, highly educated princess-like behavior of the past; it’s fit-throwing, hair-pulling, stop-at-nothing-to-get-what-I-want-type behavior. It’s just plain ugly. It’s table-thumping, belly-scratching ill-mannered behavior that reeks of trouble.

You may counter that it’s all in good fun and doesn’t mean anything. If that’s true, why was society in an outrage about The Children’s Place big t-shirt fail last fall? It was a girl’s shirt with a report card printed on the front with a check mark next to the subjects “shopping, music and dancing” but next to “math” it said “well, nobody’s perfect.” Yikes, right? We don’t want our children thinking they’re stupid, so why do we want them thinking they are the boss of their parents? Or that they can be rude, snobby or disrespectful?

i call the shotsWe live in a strange society where our words mean everything, yet nothing, at the same time. We hide behind our electronics to voice our opinion, yet we do nothing to support it. We tear other people down with our words instead of giving constructive criticism. We yell at other drivers when they make a mistake and assume they’re idiots. We laughingly dress our children in clothing that advertises many of the reasons our society is heading into major trouble, instead of realizing that that sort of casual attitude toward bad behavior is further encouraging it. Our words carry weight whether we want to admit it or not. When you dress your daughter or son in these types of clothing it is further desensitizing us (and them) to negative behavior. It is making it more and more acceptable. The next time you wonder what’s wrong with the next generation, head to your local children’s clothing store and look at the “labels” we’re allowing our children to wear. I hope you are as disappointed as I am. There are other sweet options to dress our children in, so let’s choose that message instead.

About Meghan Zeile

Mom-in-the-know and local writer for Rochester Media. Always looking for tips with kids, family life, and fun local adventures. Contact at Meghan@rochestermedia.com


  1. Bernadette says


    It is so good to hear a mother speak up. YOU really love your children and want THE BEST for them.
    I feel sorry for the rest of these kids whose parents buy into the corruption for whatever reasons. Shame on them!

    Unfortunately you may be just a voice in the wilderness of a rotting society; but I hear you loud and clear!
    Keep it up. Let’s see how many parents will join in.

    In admiration ,

    • Meghan Zeile says

      Thank you for your kind words! I believe that so many parents are failing to understand the responsibility they have to shape the next generation. I don’t think all of them are purposely contributing to our rotting society but are out of laziness, ignorance or simply frustration at trying to be a good parent when it seems impossible or pointless. People like you, Bernadette, who lift up and encourage those of us who are trying to get it right, hold the most power. My generation of parents need encouragement as well as guidance. I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my words and then reaching out to pat my back. Please continue to help other parents in the same way. Many blessings!

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