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Ask Lisi: How can I teach my kid to follow dress code rules?

My daughter isn’t old enough yet to think about breaking dress code, but how do I teach her to make good choices, not follow the crowd, and adhere to the rules?

Dear Lisi: My daughter attends a private girls’ school where they are meant to adhere to a strict uniform policy. The girls are mandated to wear kilts in school colours, knee socks and black shoes. The kilts are to hit just below the knee, leaving a very small band of skin showing between skirt and sock.

The shoes are to have no heel and nothing to make them stand out in any way, i.e., no bling, grommets, zippers, snaps, etc. Lastly, their shirts are plain white polo tees in the summer and buttoned-down collared shirts in the winter.

Once the girls reach middle school, they sign a contract regarding their uniforms. Though I respect the school’s attempts, it’s all a joke. We live nearby and I am often out walking the dog, or to the local village for a coffee, groceries, or a bite to eat.

The minute the older girls think they are out of sight, they roll their skirts up midthigh, and their socks down to their ankles. They remove their shoes and don the latest fashionable footwear, be it woolly UGG boots or slides.

The polo shirts are often skin-tight, and the work shirts are rolled up, tied in back or tucked into their bras, revealing their midriffs.

My daughter isn’t old enough yet to leave campus, or think about this stuff, but how do I teach her to make good choices, not follow the crowd, and adhere to the rules?

Foreseeable Future

As a parent, it is our job to teach our children right from wrong, good from bad, according to the rules of society and our own personal morals and values. Obviously, you agree with the uniform policy or you wouldn’t send your daughter to that school. I’m presuming that though she’s too young now to leave campus, she’s not far off, which is why you’re starting to worry.

Talk to her. Open the lines of communication now. Show her what you mean when you’re out together and see some of the older girls defiantly dressed. Ask her what she thinks.

When I was young, my dad and I were grabbing lunch at a local burger joint close to a high school. My dad pointed out a very pretty girl and commented on her looks. Then, as she took a puff on her cigarette, he said, “How unattractive does that make her now?” And then told me all the unhealthy facts about smoking.

That stayed with me forever. I never became a smoker. It wasn’t about the physical attraction, but that’s what got my attention. It was everything else he said that stayed with me.

Reader’s Commentary regarding the woman called out for wearing a mask (Jan. 27):

“You stopped at three? There are many more types of COVID personalities, including those who continue to consider COVID to be tantamount to the plague and who spout righteous indignation on anyone who does not wear a mask.

“There are those who are fully vaccinated, took ample precautions over two years, who’s personal observations support that the vast majority of people who are vaccinated who catch COVID-19 are getting the equivalent of a cold, and who just don’t want to wear a mask anymore for the most part (but don’t care at all if others continue to do so).

“This is most of us, as far as I see it.

“There are idiots on both sides of the COVID story.”

Lisi – A bit harsh, but you’re not wrong. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions … As long as they don’t try to shove those opinions down anyone else’s throat.

FEEDBACK regarding the wife of a spontaneous husband (Feb. 3):

Reader – “The advice you gave to the wife of the husband who spontaneously bought expensive football tickets without checking the family schedule was fine but you may have missed the big picture. Tell the wife to get her husband assessed for ADHD (or start with a checklist on the internet).

“Does he constantly lose things? Is he always late? Does he overreact emotionally? Being impulsive like this is a classic sign. Some people are not diagnosed until they become adults because they exhibit some signs but not others. Understanding why he behaves this way, and medication, could be a life changer.

Mom of an ADHD adult

Lisi – This is great information. My experience with and knowledge surrounding ADD and ADHD is all child-centric. It would never have occurred to me that this could be the basis of this man’s behaviour. Thank you for writing in.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected] or [email protected]