Who Are You to Judge?

This conversation might open your child’s eyes to the pressure people feel about how they dress. And to perhaps begin to recognize how cliques can bully or intimidate those who don’t have the resources to keep up with the current styles.

Begin with a discussion about how kids dress at their school. Are there kids in school who appear to be rich? Can you tell me about it? What do you see that suggests that? Any kids in school that look poor? What do you see that suggests that?

Do kids talk about what other kids are wearing? Has anyone mentioned something you wore – in a nice way? Has anyone ever teased you about what you wore?

Do kids ever gossip about or make fun of what some kids are wearing? What do they think is funny?

One thing we know is that, by making fun of others, they are also telling YOU what is acceptable or not. It can be almost like a threat. If you want to be in my group, here are the rules. They are showing you that you will get made fun of too – if you don’t dress the way they think you should dress. That’s one of the reasons kids worry so much about what they wear to school. Having friends is so important.

Are you happy with the clothes you wear? Is there anything you would like to change if you could?

Let’s think for a minute about those kids whose parents don’t have much money – or at least not enough to buy their kids lots of clothes. How would you feel if you knew that what you were wearing looked old – or old fashioned?

Sometimes these kids get isolated just because they can’t dress trendy. They get left out of things. They may be super funny – or super nice – but they don’t have many friends. Do you know anyone in your school who may be experiencing that?

Is there anything we can do to make things a little easier for them? (When we hear someone making fun of them – say “Hey. I think they’re cool. You should get to know them.” Or simply making the effort to sit with them at lunch – and get to know them.)