FB_ClothesI’ve noticed a kids’ clothing trend over the past 10 years, and even taken part in it, but I think some aspects of it just aren’t funny and might be harmful to the kids.

What am I talking about?

Kids’ shirts with disrespectful messages disguised as funny sayings.

Just for the record, I love kids’ clothes with funny sayings! I love to laugh and there are shirts that are really funny – in a nice way.

But you’ve probably seen kids wearing shirts that say things which might be thought of as funny to some, but I find unfortunate and disrespectful. Humor is subjective, I guess. Something can seem funny to one person and not another. But when it’s humor at someone else’s expense, that’s where I personally draw the line.

Here are some ideas of what I am talking about, shirts I have seen or heard about:

Kids’ Shirts with Negative Messages About Others

  • Will trade my brother/sister for a cupcake (or candy, puppy, or whatever)
  • I’m nice, he’s/she’s the naughty one (Christmas shirt, with arrow pointing to the side)
  • Brother/Sister for sale: all offers considered
  • Blame my sister
  • I wish my sister had an off button
  • My bothers drive me bananas
  • Recycle my brother

Kids’ Shirts with Negative Messages About Self

  • Little Terror (or Little Devil)
  • Here Comes Trouble
  • Hello my name is Trouble
  • Troublemaker is my middle name
  • Drama Queen
  • Attitude Problem
  • Diva
  • Spoiled
  • Future hooters girl
  • Do I look fat in this?
  • My best subjects: boys, shopping, music, dancing
  • I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me

You might be thinking “lighten up”, “it’s just a joke”, “they don’t even know what it says”. Many people find the shirts above funny, and if there is no overt bad language they are fine with them.

What is the Problem?

  • It sends a wrong message
  • Labels the child
  • Reinforces a negative message
  • Puts negative energy out in the universe

What if you open your mind and look at it from a different perspective?

To me, it doesn’t matter if the baby, toddler, or child wearing the shirt doesn’t know what it says. I don’t want those negative messages reinforced to anyone – myself included.

I understand that siblings don’t always get along, but I don’t think disrespectful shirts are the way to handle it. Let’s model how we work together and respect others, even if we disagree with them.

Parenting is hard, but I don’t want to reinforce the label of “troublemaker” every time I see my son or daughter. Let’s choose to view our children’s positive qualities, so they may start to see it in themselves.

How would you feel if your adult brother or sister showed up at a social gathering wearing a shirt that said, “Will trade my sister for a cupcake”? Let’s try to see things from our kids’ perspective; they have feelings just like we do.

Why even put that negative energy out there?

A joke at a child’s expense is not funny, it’s hurtful. Let’s use our words to build each other up – always. Tweet: A joke at a child's expense is not funny, it's hurtful. Let's use our words to build each other up - always. - @Mama_Wendy

It’s a simple reminder to treat others as we wish to be treated.

Don’t Stress, Don’t Judge

This new awareness does not invite anyone to judge others when you see these shirts, nor judge yourself if your kids have worn them in the past. I’m not sharing this thought to make anybody feel bad. I’m right there with you. There are probably some shirts that my son wore as a baby and toddler that I wouldn’t have him wear if I was more aware.

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” – Maya Angelou

Now that you are aware, going forward you can buy clothes with only positive messages. I believe we vote with our money. Choose the positive, the negative will go away.

Promote What We Love (Don’t Bash What We Hate)

Like I said before, I do like funny shirts. And I love positive messages. ShirtSaying2Here are a few samples of shirts that I like:

  • I do all my own stunts
  • Future Mr. Right
  • I’m acute baby (with drawing of an acute angle, fun for math lovers)
  • I’m a baby, I cry. What am I supposed to do? Send an email?
  • BeYOUtiful
  • Kind=Cool
  • Be Confident, Be Different, Be Yourself
  • My brother/sister rocks!
  • I love my brother/sister

More Food for Thought

What positive messages have you seen on kids’ shirts? What positive messages do you wish were on kids’ shirts?

Be the love, be the light.



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