Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mother Cannot Bear Daughter's Bare Feet

Dear Tazi:

I cannot get my five year old daughter to wear shoes for anything. I have tried punishment, withholding privileges, and even grounding but nothing works; she hates wearing shoes! While I am okay with her going barefoot inside the house, it upsets me that she insists on going outside barefoot. I am afraid she is going to contract ringworm or cut her foot on a rusty nail and get tetanus. My husband says I am being overprotective, and that playing outside while barefoot is a simple childhood joy. He argues that as long as she washes her feet when she comes in side (which she does) she should not contract any kind of life-threatening disease.

I never went barefooted as a child, and think that in a civilized society people should have their feet covered at all times. Am I overreacting? Or am I right?

Always Shod

Dear Always Shod:

Are you the kind of person who wears socks to bed? As a cat, I am always barefooted, and I can understand why you humans would like to keep something on your feet while there is snow on the ground, but I pity the person who never gets to feel the sweet, newly mown grass on his or her paws! In my opinion, your husband is only half-correct; going barefooted is not just a childhood pleasure. It is a pleasure that many adults enjoy, too. There are even organizations dedicated to living a barefooted life!

I also enjoy sitting in the grass when it needs to be mowed...

So long as your daughter thoroughly washes her feet regularly and your house and yard are free from sharp objects on which she could step, I do not see a problem with indulging her on this one. As a parent, you need to learn to pick your battles. Is this really one that is worth fighting?

If your daughter is refusing to wear shoes altogether, including into public places than this is a larger problem that needs to be fixed. Inform your daughter that a lack of shoes on one’s feet is often times a reason to deny someone access to a public building, and that she must wear something on her feet while out in public or she will not be leaving the yard.

I strongly suggest that you get your daughter’s feel professionally measured and fitted for shoes. (Any shoe store can do this for you). Your daughter’s refusal to wear shoes could be due to a painful fit. If they are too small or too narrow, shoes can be downright painful to wear! The practice of foot-binding is not traditionally practiced here in America!

In the end, if you are adamant about your daughter wearing shoes at all times, I suggest you allow her to choose them for herself. Sandals make for a great compromise.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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