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9/25/14blog post

the school clothing debate

By: Dr. Shalini Forbis

It’s hard to believe it is almost the end of September! During the first month of school, it’s always a bit of a struggle getting back into those school routines. You know, things like getting up on time, homework, etc.

Dressing for school is one of those areas that is a struggle for parents, particularly for pre-teens and teenagers.

What is your philosophy on dressing for school? I was adamantly opposed to uniforms when I was school-aged. However, as a parent now, I understand the rationale for uniforms. It is much easier to enforce dress codes if there are uniforms. Well my girls do not attend schools with dress codes.

I consider that my job as a parent of growing children, when it comes to dressing, is teaching them to dress appropriately, but more importantly to be able to distinguish what is appropriate for different settings. I am surprised when I need to have discussions with college and medical students about what is appropriate attire as an aspiring professional in a hospital setting.

I do not feel that school-aged students need to be in khakis. I think jeans are just fine for school. A student needs to be neat and clean. Clothes should not be revealing. Mini skirts, spaghetti strap tops and the like are not appropriate for school. At a recent orientation meeting, our middle school principal told parents that shorts & skirts should be fingertip length, no leggings (in substitution for pants) or yoga pants. Good for him to set clear expectations!

My job as a parent is to teach my children the differences in dressing for a day at home, shopping (or being out and about), school, and in our case for church. I try to be clear with the girls when I am buying something that will not be okay for school with the goal of avoiding conflict on school mornings. This works most of the time!

I am hoping the extra effort with the girls now will provide them with a much needed skill when they leave the house!

Best wishes for a great school year!

By: Dr. Shalini Forbis

Dr. Forbis is a pediatrician in the Children’s Health Clinic at Dayton Children’s Hospital and a mother to two girls. As part of the award-winning “Dr. Mom Squad,” Dr. Forbis blogs about her experiences as both as doctor and a mom and hopes to share insight to other parents on issues related to both parenting and kids health. Learn more about Dr. Forbis.