What If Your Child Is Against School Uniforms

Regardless of the pros and cons of the issue, if your child's school has settled in favor of school uniforms and your child is against school uniforms, you can make the transition easier for your child. The public school uniform debate is ongoing, with passionate opinions on both sides regarding the value of schools adopting a uniform policy. 

Explaining the Uniforms
Kids are sensitive to how their parents feel. In most cases, the parent's attitude about a subject will impact the child's attitude. Often, kids think that agreeing with their parents will win their parent's approval, and so they echo the words and attitudes of their parents. Teens may not express this copycat behavior as clearly as younger children, but they observe and internalize their parents' opinions. The most important thing a parent can do is to start by being positive. Modeling a positive attitude about school uniforms will help encourage that acceptance and compliance in the children. It may be hard to do this if you don't agree with the policy, but the effort will go a long way to help the kids adjust to the change.

Tell the kids in an age-appropriate way the reasons that the school has decided to adopt the uniform policy. Allow the kids to express their opinions, but explain the advantages in wearing school uniforms. Try to shine a positive light on the situation, and plan a shopping trip together to choose the school uniform shirts, pants or skirts and other necessary items. You can find discounts on school uniforms online or at clothing outlets. Remind the kids that after school and on weekends they are welcome to wear their favorite outfits and colors.

Advantages of School Uniforms
When discussing school uniforms with children, it helps to be prepared with the reasons that your particular school has adopted the policy. In addition to knowing your specific school's reasons, there are basic touch points that are helpful to know. In general, experts who come out in favor of a school uniform policy tend to highlight these advantages to school uniforms:

Less peer pressure about clothing. Kids, especially preteens and teenagers, judge each other based on clothing choices. Trendy clothing, teen fashion and expensive clothing are all hot subjects, and the wrong choices can make a kid subject to ridicule. School uniforms eliminate this problem, because all students, no matter how fashion-conscious or wealthy, are put on equal footing at school. Removing this pressure to fit in can relieve stress. Although conforming to a school uniform code removes opportunities for individual creative expression, perhaps instead it allows for types of creative expression that have nothing to do with clothing. Personality and ideas can be far more powerful modes of creative expression than clothing choices.

Shift of focus. Removing the focus on other kids' clothing helps students to concentrate on learning instead of judging fashion choices. With the clothing issue out of the way, students can see each other's talents, personalities and unique qualities. This can make for more opportunities to be friends with a wider range of people. Kids will have to find new ways to learn about each other when everyone wears school uniforms.

School atmosphere. Along the same lines of dressing up for church or a formal occasion, and the way wearing a dressy outfit tends to encourage better behavior, if everyone looks neat and nice at school, perhaps behavior will conform to the same standards. Uniforms can also reduce the bullying that can result when one child doesn't fit in.

Time. Not having to decide what to wear in the morning can make the school preparation process easier each day and can even leave extra time for sleep, study or free time.

Handling Common Arguments Against Uniforms

In addition to knowing the positive points, you'll need to be ready to respond to your child's reactions if he or she resists.

I can't express myself. You have the opportunity to express yourself in other ways now. After school and on weekends, you can wear your favorite clothes.

Wearing a uniform doesn't prepare me for the real world. In many careers, business attire or uniforms are standard. Consider this preparation for a job.

No way. Period. Try following the rules for a while to see if you might change your mind and recognize the positives. If not, there are appropriate ways for you to express your opinion. Get some friends together and create a petition. Or join Student Council.

There's no proof that uniforms are going to solve any of these problems. You're right. In the world, it is important to form hypotheses and test them with actual experiments. Consider this an experiment for your school. Let's see if it works out the way the school board hopes it will.

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