The Case of the Sequined Shirt

Sequins are all the rage right now, am I right? Pillows where you can flip the sequins to reveal a message or photo, backpacks with flippy sequins, and of course, the ever present sequin shirt. Usually a unicorn, butterfly, heart, or something of the like.

This morning, as my daughter put on a brand new shirt with a sequin unicorn, I found myself feeling a little uncomfortable. I said to her, “You know you don’t need to let anyone touch your shirt right?” Visions of the kids at camp running up to her to rub the sequins in order to see what color they change to were stuck in my head.

She said, “I know mommy. I’m only going to let XX and XX touch the sequins, but not anyone else. I would feel weird if anyone else touched my body.”

YEP. That’s where this uncomfortable feeling comes from. Bodily autonomy.

I’ve been working on teaching her ever since she could understand that no one should touch her body in a way that doesn’t feel right, and that no one should touch her body if she just doesn’t feel like being touched. I’ve definitely had many moments where I’ve had to check my own behavior when I want to snuggle or hug her and she isn’t feeling it. We know that our signal to each other is saying “my body, my choice,” which I also sometimes say to her when I’m feeling touched out.

While the idea of her wearing a shirt that other kids may have a hard time resisting makes me nervous, I’m glad it gave us yet another opportunity to talk about boundaries and how to tell someone that you don’t want to be touched. I don’t always catch the teachable parenting moments but when it comes to having control over her own body I never miss a chance to reinforce that she’s in charge.

I’m not against sequins one bit. They are fun and sparkly and feel cool to rub. My kiddo will keep rocking her unicorn shirt and I feel better knowing that I’ve reinforced an important lesson.


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