Fashion might seem like a weird thing for your children to take up as a hobby or interest. After all, the industry has gained a bad rep for glorifying certain female body types and unhealthy diets. What would be the point of getting your child interested in something that could cause them to hate themselves?

But the truth is, there is more to fashion than just the surface. The industry that has a history of discrimination and body-shaming actually has deeper layers to it. Professionals and amateurs alike are changing their mindsets to be more inclusive of different body types and fashions. As it becomes more accepting, the fashion world becomes safer for your child to explore. Here are four positive reasons to get your kids interested in fashion.

1. It Helps Them Get to Know Themselves

What you wear says a lot about you, whether you want it to or not. That applies to your child as well. You have been subconsciously dressing your child in your style since they were born. Or maybe it wasn’t so subconsciously. Either way, that’s fine for when they’re a baby or extremely young but not as they grow up.

If you have dressed them all their lives, they are missing out on an essential part of discovering themselves. Exploring clothes and styles lets them figure out how they want to present themselves.

2. It Helps Them Express Themselves

Getting to know themselves taps into an internal sense of being. However, fashion also allows kids to express themselves to the world. Encourage your child to dress in whatever they want, no matter how weird it is. This will let them be creative. They may even share things with you that you wouldn’t have known otherwise.

If you give your child creative outlets to express their feelings and moods, they will become more stable in their view of themselves.

3. It Helps Them Become More Confident

Being supportive of your child’s fashion choices is one of the best ways to instill confidence in them. Even if they choose outfits that you would never wear, try to support them. Instead of outright rejecting their outfits, try to weave helpful tips and suggestions into conversations. That way, you can help them grow while still letting them make decisions.

Getting ready for special events is a great place to boost your child’s confidence with fashion. Whether you help them choose from designer communion dresses for girls or communion suits for boys, let them decide what they will wear. And remember, in this day and age, it’s becoming increasingly acceptable for folks to use fashion to challenge gender rules and express themselves with confidence as who they really are.

4. It Helps Them Bond with You

The best part of fashion is getting to bond with your child. Going shopping lets you get to know them while also sharing yourself. It’s a great activity to find things in common.

If your child is coming to you to show their new fashion, that is the goal. Style is something extremely personal. Sharing it indicates that your bond is stronger. Fashion is far from being the closed off and problematic industry that is has been in the past. Nowadays, it’s a great way to help your kids grow and develop. Of course, it isn’t all roses and beauty. Fashion still has it’s downsides. That’s why it’s important for you to be there for your child as they explore their unique style and tastes. There is a balance you play as a parent between being supportive and protecting them from harm. You can’t cure everything for them, but you can be there.