Peer pressure was as nasty back in the 1970s and 1980s as it is today. What made it even worse in my case was that being a divorced woman back then was totally unacceptable by most people. The difference between “peer pressure” back then and now is today it is known as “bullying”.
To add insult to injury, my son (Bryan) and I had moved from the West Coast to the East Coast when he was 8 years old, so he already had to deal with being the “new kid on the block” syndrome. When the kids at the school found out that he came from a “broken home”, the challenges he faced considerably increased. That is when I reached out to a family friend who was also a very successful artist: Betty Collins. Betty used one technique before every single painting that she created and every one of those paintings quickly sold. How successful was Betty you ask? To provide just 2 examples: she had a palace in Majorca, Spain and the management of the Queen Elizabeth II ocean liner hired her to provide art lessons to the QE2’s passengers for 4 years.
Betty’s lesson? Be Quiet
The end result was how I handled a major obstacle that Bryan was facing at school:
Money was a significant issue and although I worked two jobs, I still found it challenging to provide the basics. Goodwill, thrift stores, and other second hand stores were the only way that I could get him enough different clothes so the kids would get off his case. Additionally, second hand clothing was totally shunned by those who were better off financially than I was and that feeling morphed down to their kids who made Bryan’s life at school simply miserable. In response, Bryan flat out refused to wear anything that I got from thrift stores. However, because I could get the clothes at 80%, 90% and sometimes even 95% cheaper than I could get in department stores, it was not an option for me. I simply had to find a way to make this work.
Betty helped me to “Be Quiet” and the end result was: when Bryan was at school or on a weekend camping trip with the Boy Scouts or Junior Naturalists, I went to the thrift stores and got clothes for him. I cut the labels from the clothing and replaced them with labels that I got from friends and family who gave me the labels that they cut out of their clothing before they gave their old clothes away.
I sewed the “new” labels into the clothing, washed the clothing, put them in plastic bags that sealed shut with heat (i.e., a hair dryer). I then wrapped those articles in wrapping paper to give to him on Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Reward for being really good (he got surprises when he was good for long periods of time, which was my way of encouraging the same type of behavior), etc.
Surprise!!! He LOVED his new clothes! He never knew the difference and never complained again!
FYI: he only found out that I replaced labels from Goodwill clothes with brand name labels about 2 years ago and he will be 40 years old this year!!!