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Discipline from the very beginning


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phgcss September 16, 2008


Hi Everybody,


This thought keeps coming to my mind again and again and so I wanted to discuss and share it with other parents. I also sent an e-mail regarding this to the Jefferson City, MO but didn't get any response from them.


 According to me, discipline is very crucial part of every child's lifestyle. The more disciplined he/she is from the beginning, the chances are he/she will continue that behavior into adulthood. In America, we instill the concept of beauty and looks and dressing-up from early childhood(something which should come into picture not before teen age). Even in a preschool, parents as well as children have to face a competition for wearing a dress better than others, using hair accessories, footwear and what not. I think this is the age when children are in a learning stage and their brain develop the most at this stage. So instead of occupying their mind with these silly thoughts and feeling, we should concentrate on their love to read. For this, I think there should be a ban on all those toys such as kids handbags, kids dressing table, kids make-up kits and the like. Also, there should be a uniform for all stages of school(from preschools to all the way to high school), probably the way they have in private schools. By enforcing such rules, every child looks the same, no matter what the race, class, creed, religion, origin or financial background. Also, there should be rules regarding their entire looks: their nails should always be trimmed, no nail poilshes should be allowed, no colorful hair accessories, hair should always be tied(if they can be tied), proper socks and shoes. This way, children can free their mind from something which is totally irrelevant at their age and concentrate on things which will make them responsible and disciplined adults.


 I don't know what other parents think about my opinion, but I wanted to convey my point so that parents who have never thought this way might start thinking in this direction and you never know, may bring some positive difference in the future of our children.


Thanks


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sonora October 7, 2008


I don't think clothes make the person one way or another. I don't think putting uniforms on children make them all look the same either, they are individuals and some girls (particularly) will still look prettier even in a uniform because they have beautiful hair or a pretty face, etc etc etc. Children encounter people in real life that differ in terms of their dress, from homeless folks to urban professionals....they see the difference and I don't think you can hide it. Discipline means self control and restraing, choice you make....to me, it doesn't mean removing all the enticements and distractions, it means learning to say no to things and also to accept people as they are. Since I am an art teacher I encounter students in all manner of "dress" from pierced to fashionistas....none of that tells me anything about what kind of student they are, I find that out based on my one on one experiences and the work they do. I think you'd be surprised at how wrong people can be judging a book by its' cover. They are all wonderful, and they are a rainbow, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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phgcss October 7, 2008


Thanks Sonora for taking out your precious time for writing a comment on my advice.
I wasn't taking about just the dressing of kids, but the whole notion of looks and beauty at such a young age. I'm afraid to say that its us(the parents) who encourage this kind of behavior, backed by the environment(the TV commercials, products available in stores nationwide and social status). We give so much importance to the looks of the child that in between we forget the main ambition: their inclination towards their studies. That's why such a large percentage of kids don't do that well in their studies and private school kids excel in all fields as compared to their public school counterparts. I myself went to a public school, but we used to have a dress code there and were supposed to follow certain rules.
By imposing dress code, my main intention is that kids who especially come from poor background or families who cannot afford to spend thousands on their kids clothing, footwear, cosmetics and stuff, should get some relief. These families don't have to go to any extremes to make their kids better looking just because other kids at school are doing so. They can send their kids to school in decent school dress and free their mind from at least one such stress and thus, invest their hard earned money and time in other areas of your life.
By putting uniforms on kids, I didn't mean that they will start resembling each other. Of course, every child is different and unique in his/her own ways. No two can ever become same. My point was that by having a uniform, you won't know the financial background of the child because no child will get the opportunity to show off his/her parents money. This way kids will learn to love and respect their colleagues by what they are, and not by how they look or their trendy clothes or their show-off of richness. Of course, you cannot judge a child's knowledge by just looking at him/her(whether he's wearing a uniform or anything else). That you have to judge by( as you wrote) by knowing the child and the kind of work he does.
My advice was from those families who already have so much going in their lives and have a hard time getting ends meet. It will be a great burden off their shoulders. My advice is also from those families who think that kids should keep their mind away from all this 'beautification concept' and try to concentrate on their studies, become scholars and better citizens of the country.

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sforsmo October 8, 2008


I think there are many other reasons that children do well at private schools that have little to do with uniforms. When the BMW's show up at school to pick up the kids, they know what economical background their peers are from, same with when they visit each other's homes (play dates etc). I agree that their is too much emphasis places on looks, but that is something children also have to develop a sense of, just like their is too much emphasis places on winning in team sports. My son goes to a public school out of his district where the neighborhood surrounding it is much wealthier than where we live. He loves it and is doing well, because the teachers and administration are excellent. He never comments on whether someone "appears" to be wealthier than him. Parents sometimes interject their own fears onto their kids, let the kids choose their friends and be kids. His school is an excellent public school and he focuses on his studies because his father and I expect him too. But the bottom line is, if you want your child to wear a uniform, you have school choice in many cities and town, so send him or her to a school that requires uniforms. And yes, my time is precious, thanks for noticing.

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sonora October 8, 2008


By the way, the previous post (sforsmo) is Sonora, I wrote to the moderator about deleting one of my screen names (an accident that occurred from logging on from different servers), but I haven't heard back yet on how to correct this (other than for me to pay better attention to which server I'm on! I use 3 different computers so I tend to forget!) Just wanted to clarify who was writing these posts. Sorry for any confusion.

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phgcss October 9, 2008


I think we both have different view point on this. So there's no point discussing more on it when both of us are not able to convince each other. But thanks for letting me know that there are few public schools who have school uniforms. I'll try to find one for my daughter.

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phgcss October 14, 2008


Now I would like to convey my point in organized format:
1. Children have less distraction at school, thus they can concentrate more on studies rather than talking on stuff like "From where did you buy your dress(or ear-ring or bracelet or what not). Children can talk on other topics other than material world stuff.
2.Children get more of educational environment rather than fashion world.
3. All the kids are dressed the same way, so they don't have to think much about whether they are looking good or not. At home, they can spend more time completing their homework or engage in other activities rather than shopping for their school wardrobe.
4. Parents don't have to spend too much money on kids clothing & checking whether their kids are dressing appropriately for school. It will be much easier and stress-free for low income families.
5. In the long run, taking such actions might prevent teenage pregnancies and there might be fewer cases of teenage sex.
6. Dress code gives them discipline, the way we adults have at our work place. In most offices, they have some dress code for the employees. The employees are required to wear certain kind of clothes(dress-suits, business casuals or jeans). Nowhere you can wear whatever you want to wear. So I think same kind of discipline is expected from kids as well.
I don't think that setting a dress code limits their freedom in any way. Kids are still free to wear anything(as far as their parents approve) after school, but inside school, they should be asked to follow some norms.

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sforsmo October 14, 2008


phgcss,

I think you conveyed your points very well. I don't disagree that uniforms have a positive effect. If you want to send your child to school in a uniform or choose a school that requires them that is up to you to decide. I am merely being the "con" in the pro/con debate.
1. First, I don't think clothes are the only source of distraction for children, since I have a son who is easily distracted, I can tell you it has nothing to do with what his classmates are wearing. He doesn't notice that sort of thing.
2. Children live outside the educational environment, i.e. school where there are magazines, TV, movies, Nickelodeon (yes, that adorable Jamie Lyn Spears.....)
the malls, Barbie dolls etc etc etc. Best to teach children to develop their own values IN SPITE of what the media, TV and advertisers want to sell them. It's called the real world.
3. Looking good is also about clear skin, pretty hair, cheerleading, athletic prowess, popularity (oh...you don't think there are cliques at private schools? I beg to differ). If kids spend more time shopping for their wardrobe then studying than the onus lies upon the parents who, I would guess in the primary grades are holding the purse strings. Who decides to take the kid shopping anyway? Does a 10 year old drive? You see, it still comes back to parenting and if you want the easy way out I'm afraid uniforms is not going to fill the bill.
4. I don't spend money on designer clothes because I am frugal, I think they are largely a waste of money, I but 2 for 1 shoes at Payless (myself included) so spending money is still a matter of whether you give in to a demanding whining child who says everyone is wearing this, or you be the parent and teach your child economics and how not to be a slave to fashion.
5.Teenage pregnancy? I doubt it. Ever know any girls who went to strict religious schools and still got pregnant? They don't get pregnant with their clothes on. Hormones know no fashion sense.
6. Dress codes give discipline but self control gives them more. I'll opt for my son making the right decision and learning that making the wrong one has consequences. You cannot manage your child forever, and the mothers I have known that tried still have their adult children living at home.
7.Mu husband is sucessfully self employed and wears whatever he wants to the office. He also dresses according to his style to meet clients. It's not an office world anymore. I'm an art teacher and haven't worn pantyhose or a suit to class since that's completely impractical. So I disagree that "Nowhere" can you dress how you want. My husband and I are both in creative fields....you must be talking about the corporate world. Look what they have done for the financial health of our nation! Wolves in sheep's clothing I'd say. Or, never judge a book by its' cover.
8. And I'm not quite sure what you mean by the "norm". Schools have rules and boundaries, and tests address benchmarks and we are increasingly standardizing more and more of the school day. I do not agree that what we need is more of the norm or more conformity. Conformity is not the same as discipline. It's time to recognize and encourage the uniqueness of each child and quit trying to fit them all into a graph on a test and dress them for the part. This is written with all due respect to your points, I hope you can duly respect mine as well.

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phgcss October 15, 2008


Thank you once again sforsmo for your reply. I really appreciate you taking out time to write back to me. I do agree with some of your ideology and do respect your thoughts. Here's my view point on your comments.
1. I agree clothes are not the only source of distraction. It is in fact, everything related to beautify your looks. That's good that your son doesn't get distracted by clothes and stuff. I think its more of girls thing(that's why I'm more worried as I have a daughter) and then girls attract guys by working on their looks.
2. I completely agree with you that children should be taught their values. Nothing can beat that. If there are few negative or distracting environmental factors, still kids can do well(because of their good values), but if the negativity in the environment increases, then there are more chances that kids can take that route. So our goal is to minimize those distractions for the welfare of our kids.
3. I agree that some kids are naturally beautiful(because of their hair, eyes, physique, etc.). If one is attracted to natural beauty without any strings attached to it, then I don't think so there's anything wrong about it. I'm focusing on kids who try to make them look sexy or beautiful(in school) to attract other kids attention. Some kids do this kind of stuff just to show off(kids of rich families).
Ofcourse, we parents take our kids for shopping. What I meant was that if we have a uniform in schools, then you buy that uniform for your kid for the entire year. Then whole year you don't have to worry what your kid will wear to school. You just need to go shopping for your kids after school clothes, which reduces your shopping time and money to half.
I totally agree with you that children should never be taught to run after fashion. I'm myself frugal and don't ever buy any designer clothes. Its a waste of money for me too. But if there are no uniforms, I will have to buy decent clothes for my daughter(even if not designer or branded), which adds up to a lot of money.
4. I talked about teenage pregnancy because the girls who are concerned about their looks and fashion are the ones who are more into drugs, bad company, sex and not taking their lives seriously. I know some of the kids are not interested in studying(no matter what you do), but for some, they just need a positive environment and then they can do wonders.
5. See, no one aspect in itself will work for us or our kids. Everything has to work in coordination to give positive results. Kids should be taught good values, self-control, healthy habits, inclination towards studies, interest in other activities, physically active, social and society and environment friendly. So asking them to adhere to some dress code or uniform is just providing them another opportunity so they can be at their best in school setting. I know we cannot and should not manage our kids forever, but we should always show them towards the right path, remove the obstacles from their path(otherwise, they might fall). I'm saying this about school going kids. For young adults, we should just give them our guidance. Many things they learn from their own experience.
6. That's good for you and your husband that you don't have to follow any dress code and wear whatever you decide to wear. I think we as adults still have some maturity to wear appropriate clothes to our workplace, even if we don't have any such dress code. But in the case of kids, they are not mature enough to think about right or wrong( I don't know the age of your son, but my daughter will be 3 years old). So its the responsibility of the school and the parents to work in union to take some decisions on our kids behalf.
Yes, I totally agree that each child is unique and should not be compared with others. But despite all the uniqueness, we have to have some common ground for everyone.
By norm I meant that every school should have some set of rules for enforcing discipline in kids and keeping school environment healthy.

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aheath October 16, 2008


I do not agree at all with the uniforms. I think that at an early age children develop their personalities and if we take away their choices to be different then they will never learn what type of person they want to be and develop their own opinions. Kids are mean and we as parents just need to make sure that our child is not a bully in school and teach them to treat all their class mates as they want to be treated. They are learning how to interact with others their age and we have to understand that and that it is hard and was hard for us as kids. All we can do is guide them and support them in learning and tell them that they are going to school to learn. We want them to enjoy school but learning is the most important.

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sforsmo October 16, 2008


phgss,

Again, you bring up very good points, and all should be considered. I agree that many of the issues you are discussing are related to girls, but then again I was a girl and all of these issues existed when I went to school (and no, none of my schools had uniforms, but we did have dress codes). My son is 10 and has weathered his share of social issues (including being bullied last year....bullies are also an obstacle to learning and if your daughter ever experiences that, you'll find out how hard it is to "remove the obstacles" or just read the posts by parents on the bullying forum on this website). None of us can remove all the obstacles and our kids will indeed fall...best to prepare them to avoid the obstacles and when they do fall, to pick themselves back up again. Also, I think we are coming at this from different viewpoints because your daughter is 3 and my son will be 11 this month. He is indeed mature enough to make decisions about right and wrong. I fail to see how uniforms make any difference at all in that respect. In fact giving your child the freedom to choose is how they learn to make those choices wisely. When they become teenagers this ability to make good choices will be especially important. I think all the issues surrounding sex and teenagers are not about clothes one iota. It's about maturity and knowledge and the relationship your child has with their parents. Girls who are too busy trying to attract boys to focus on their studies do not need a uniform, they need a healthier sense of themselves which means not defining themselves by what boys think. It's called feminism and I thank goodness I grew up as an empowered girl with goals and supportive parents. Plus, I don't think girls dress for boys....they dress to outdo their fellow girls too. Best to expose your daughter to positive role models early instead of Paris Hilton! ( not that you don't, you sound very conscientious and I've enjoyed our discussions!)



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