Today my topic comes courtesy of an e-mail from Zoe, who is asking how to be supportive of a budding Goth daughter:
My 10 year old daughter has felt drawn to goth for some time. We are metal heads, so of course, more than supportive of her choice. I am wondering if I could get some tips on things to buy her to help her along. For example, do all of her clothes need to be black, or can she have some smattering of purples and blues? Also, can she only listen to goth music, or will any punk/metal be ok? She has an affinity with Bullet for my Valentine. But I don't think they are considered Goth. Any tips you could send to me would be really appreciated, as I am more steampunk/rockabilly than I am goth. Thank you for your time.
ZoeThank you for writing, Zoe!
To answer your more specific questions: No, not all of her clothes have to be black. Goths wear a variety of colors, from reds to purples and blues or even yellows and pinks. There really is no limit to what colors a Goth can wear.
In the same vein, there isn't a limit to what music a Goth can listen to either. I myself have a deep-seeded love of old folk music. There are some Goths who believe very strongly that you must listen to 1980's Goth rock such as The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, etc. in order to be considered a Goth. Personally I don't think you have to do anything you don't want to, and your daughter shouldn't have to change her musical taste just because she's exploring a new subculture.
Now, in terms of what else to do to support a budding Gothling, here are some things I'm very grateful that my supportive parents did for me, mostly in terms of shopping:
- Take your daughter thrift-shopping. It's a Goth right of passage and a good way to encourage creativity and money consciousness, as well as being a good way to build up a wardrobe.
- If she's interested in elaborate clothing that is outside her (or your) budget, helping her learn to sew is a great way to bring down the cost of some of those more expensive items and help her customize her wardrobe to be more 'her.'
- If you're going to help her decorate her room, I'd suggest poking around in October at your local craft and home goods stores, where there should be a great variety of wonderful home decor and craft items to add.
- Take your hands off the reigns. It's parental nature to worry about what her other relatives might think, or what might happen at school, but beyond being supportive the best thing is to let her go off on her own and explore a bit.
If you have a question you'd like me to answer in a post, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get a response to you within the next few posts.
Readers, what advice would you give Zoe and her daughter?