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What's Happened To Kid's Clothes?

What's Happened To Kid's Clothes?Kids' clothes are getting more and more provocative, raising concerns among parents and child development experts.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [08.10.01] From bell bottoms to Madonna-inspired outfits, clothing has been a source of conflict between parents and their children for decades. But parents aren't the only ones scrutinizing the latest "back to school" fashions to hit store racks this summer -- a Tufts child development expert says the "skimpier" clothes could be putting kids at risk.

"Inspired by pop culture, many young girls are begging their parents for clothes that look like something you'd see on stage in Vegas or at a singles bar," reported Minnesota Public Radio.

Fueled by intense marketing efforts, the clothes are making their way into middle and elementary schools.

"There used to be age markers -- like you couldn't wear high heels and stockings until you were in high school," Tufts' David Elkind told the New York Post. "But those are all disappearing."

While TV and magazines help get kids interested in the clothes, Elkind said parents' guilt may be driving the sales.

"They're around less, and feeling guilty about that, and are more willing to give in to children's desires in this way than they might be in another time," the nationally renowned child development expert told Public Radio International's "Marketplace.""And I think advertisers play upon that."

The clothes may seem harmless in the store, but Elkind said they are having a negative effect on kids.

"The data show that this stuff is not having a good impact on kids, and that kids are more stressed than were in the past," he said.

But stress isn't the only problem. According to Elkind, provocative clothes may also attract the wrong attention to children.

"There are a lot of people out there who are attracted to little girls who wear these kinds of things, and so you're in some way putting kids at risk for no purpose," Elkind said.

Public Radio International reported: "Elkind says parents give in at their own risk, teaching kids harmful lessons about setting limits, and robbing them of the innocence."

Is a fashion trend worth it?

"As a parent, it's hard enough worrying about your children, and you're just asking for more trouble," Elkind told the Post.

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