How many times have you heard your child complain about school rules. Like why do I have to wear my blazer in the summer when it’s hot? On one hand, school rules provide structure and clear boundaries that allow children to stay on track in school. But, it doesn’t allow healthy questioning by children on issues they have with certain rules. In this blog post, we will discuss this in more detail and give suggestions as to how to help your child deal with this.
Why school rules are good?
- Rules provide children with structure and containment – can you imagine the chaos in a school if children were not able to follow rules? Also, children with Autism, ADHD or a trauma history can feel safer with clear structure and boundaries.
- It establishes standards in school – this allows children to stay on track in school and achieve their targets.
- Identity – following rules around uniform or routines can create a sense of belonging and identity.
Why school rules are bad?
- Does not allow healthy questioning by children – if children aren’t able to raise issues they have with certain rules, then this could lead to them turning a blind eye to more serious issues in their adult life.
- Prevents individuality in children – e.g. uniforms in school may make children feel restricted from expressing themselves. And for children who struggle with their self-image, they may be negatively affected by certain uniform rules.
- School rules are often not applied consistently or fairly by all teachers to all children – that has created a lot of confusion, fear and hurt for some of the young people we have worked with.
Tips for parents:
- Encourage your child to express their opinion in healthy ways – e.g. students reps in school allow children to voice their opinions on things they are unhappy with.
- Learn to pick your battles – as a parent, you can help your child make the decision of when to speak out and when to let things go. For example, they may decide that something needs to be done when a particular child is receiving consequences continually by a particular teacher, when other children are not.
- Always have your child’s back – for example, your child may struggle to see the point of having to ask permission to remove their blazer in the summer. Feel free to agree with them and validate them. Having a parent’s support makes it so much easier for a child to let go of something, rather than react to something that has annoyed them in school.
- Consider whether something else may be going on for your child, particularly if this is new for your child. Children struggling with bullying or grief can find it hard to accept teacher authority.
If you have found this helpful, make sure you share it with someone who could do with reading it.
Pocket Family Psychologist