Mom Faces Harsh Criticism For Forcing 'Tomboy' Daughter To Wear A Dress To Church

To her daughter, it seems to be so much more than just a simple garment.

mom forcing tomboy daughter to wear a dress to church Gladskikh Tatiana, Trzykropy, Sadik / Shutterstock

Most parents have ideas about how their kids should live their lives and express themselves, but ultimately you have to let them be who they are, right? One mom on Reddit seems to have missed that memo.

After she made a big deal out of the way her daughter dresses, people have had some pretty harsh things to say to her, as well as some sobering warnings to go along with them.

A distraught mother explained how she forced her tomboy daughter to wear a dress to church.

The mom took to Reddit for advice on her quandary. Her nine-year-old "tomboy" daughter hates wearing dresses and wears pants everywhere she goes, and that's not flying with this mom.


"I don't have a problem with girls wearing pants in general," she writes. But the mom feels there are "certain times when dressing nice is in order."

To her, dressing nice means wearing a dress if you are female. Her daughter vehemently disagrees, and it got downright ugly on a recent Sunday morning while they were getting ready to go to church.

mom forces tomboy daughter to wear dress to churchPhoto: @ask_aubry / Twitter


As the video below explores, numerous studies have clearly shown the wide range of impacts rigidly enforced gender roles and stereotypes can have on kids, especially girls, from injuring their self-esteem to negative impacts on their careers later in life.

Still, the mom was unfazed.

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Her daughter was so adamant about wearing pants and a shirt that the conflict escalated to a screaming match, and now the mom wonders if she took it too far.

The mom writes that her daughter is very athletic, loves to play soccer and spends a lot of time watching sports with her dad. She also "wears pants the majority of the time," which the mom insists she has no problem with, except where church is concerned.

On a Sunday, she was dressed in one of her nice dresses while her husband and son were in khakis and button-downs. She expected her daughter to come out of her room in a dress too, but instead she was dressed more like her brother and dad.

The mom told her daughter to change because they were going to church, to which her daughter replied that "she was ready for church and wasn't wearing a dress."

mom forces tomboy daughter to wear dress to churchPhoto: @ask_aubry / Twitter


This quickly "escalated into an argument where each of us were shouting so loud neither of us could be heard," she writes, and finally, she resorted to that tool parents have used for ages. She told her daughter, "I'm not asking you, I'm telling you... to put on a dress right now!"

The daughter relented, but "she hasn't spoken to me today and she seems upset. And now I'm wondering if I maybe went too far."

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People on Reddit felt the mom definitely did go too far, and warned her that she could alienate her daughter if she continues insisting her daughter comply with her standards.

The mom's fellow Reddit users were pretty much unanimous that her insistence on dresses was weird and overboard. "Congratulations! Now your daughter hates dresses a little more. Not to mention her mother," one user wrote. "And church," another added.


In fact, several people had tales of being alienated from church for similar reasons. They boiled the conflict down to a simple question for this mother: are her clothing choices more important to her than her relationship with her daughter and her daughter's spirituality?

mom forces tomboy daughter to wear dress to churchPhoto: Reddit

Others cast the conflict as downright dangerous. They worried that the mom's combative approach to clothes would make her daughter feel like she has no autonomy over her body.


And some, of course, saw the elephant in the room: the possibility that her daughter's aversion to dresses could be related to a burgeoning LGBTQ identity. Some who'd been through similar experiences with their own religious parents were downright furious with the mom.

mom forces tomboy daughter to wear dress to churchPhoto: Reddit

In the end, this very well may be nothing more than one of those typical parent/child power struggles that come with growing up. But there could also be so, so much more to it that could potentially be very damaging.


This mom might want to pick her battles. After all, it's just a dress.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.