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Grandparents Don't Approve of Kids' Creative Clothing

DEAR ABBY: While our 6-year-old enjoys the positive attention he receives from his often unusual and imaginative clothing choices, his grandparents feel we are being "disrespectful to others" by allowing him and our other children to wear these outfits in public.

Neither my husband nor I was permitted freedom of expression as children, and we agreed that with the exception of health, profanity, lewdness, immodesty and adherence to organizational dress codes, that we would not restrict our children's freedom of expression. While we often don't agree with our children's choice of attire, it seems prudent to choose the battles we fight.

Is anyone other than our parents actually offended by a pirate (sans weapon) in the dentist office, or a backward shirt at the grocery store? And if they are offended, does their desire not to see a costumed child trump my children's need for a healthy outlet for their individuality during this phase of their life over which they have so little control? -- CLARK KENT'S MOM

DEAR CLARK KENT'S MOM: I seriously doubt that anyone other than your parents and in-laws cares at all if your children visit the dentist looking like Clark Kent, a cowboy or his horse. As far as I'm concerned, your children should be allowed to exercise their sartorial creativity. It's harmless. A few years from now they'll be getting pressure from peers about fitting in, so let them enjoy themselves while they can.

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