Why won’t kids/teens dress for cold weather?

We talked some about this topic last year, but I wanted to share with you a good story from The  Associated Press about why teenagers won’t dress for  cold weather.

The writer interviewed parents and TEENS about why they are wearing shorts in the middle of winter.

The reasons ranged from just lazy to trying to look cool to didn’t think far enough in the future to realize they would need something warm on. (Really??)

From The Associated Press: (Check out the photos of the teens wearing shorts in the SNOW!)

For example, Jack Rogers, 12, of Fishers, Ind., was wearing shorts last week. “I know lots of kids who do that,” he said.

His grandma doesn’t understand. “It’s 15 degrees. Why doesn’t he have a coat on him?” she asked.

“I told her, ‘I have to pick and choose my battles,’” recalled Jack’s mom, Shelley Rogers Landes. “I need to let him make decisions that really are inconsequential at the end of day.”

In a telephone interview, Jack explained his reasons for dressing light in winter: “Coats are just a hassle, putting it all on. It makes me bulky. I just like to be in short sleeves.”

He doesn’t mind gloves, but boots? “Nah, I don’t like ‘em.” If his sneakers get wet, he says, “it doesn’t really bother me.”

Carleton Kendrick of Millis, Mass., a family therapist, says that for teens, “wearing bulky winter coats, gloves, boots — unless teen girls consider them high fashion — and hats screams nerd, geek, baby, dork … UNCOOL!”

He added: “Short of real and present danger of your teens getting frostbite, let them deal with being cold to be cool.” …

Some parents refuse to capitulate to the “dress-like-it’s-June” mentality. “It is worth the fight,” said Mara Woloshin, mother of a 14-year-old in Portland, Ore. “Kids will work to wear parents down. At the same time, very few parents know that a gentle ‘no way’ goes a long way toward gloves and a hoodie. It’s our job as parents to make men out of boys and try to civilize them in the process!”

Cris Taylor, also of Portland, says her son has lost three jackets and sweatshirts this school year. She says kids reject outerwear partly due to “laziness! A coat, hat, gloves is just too much for them to keep track of and deal with.” The teen tendency to live for the moment is a factor too, Taylor says. When her son is inside, “he doesn’t think it through or plan ahead and realize that we are going to be outside and that he will then be cold.”

The other interesting question from the story is do you fight it as a parent or just let them be cold. I think it depends on how cold it is –dangerously cold or just chilly.

A few weeks ago I was telling my son to put on his heavy jacket for school and he said he thought he would be fine in the lighter weight jacket but if I didn’t mind running him up to school the heavier jacket before recess. What? Is he nuts? (A few weeks before that I did bring him a heavier coat to school because I had sent him in a lighter weight one not realizing how cold it actually was outside.) I told him I had better things to do with my time and he’d better put the heavy jacket on immediately.

At this point my kids will still pretty much wear what I tell them to except for that 3-year-old who insists on running around just in her undies half the time! But they were all like that at 3. I don’t know why 3-year olds don’t want to keep their clothes on even when it’s cold outside.  It makes me cold just looking at her.

So what’s your theory – Do you fight them to wear warm outerwear or just let them go out the door in what they think is appropriate? Do you think letting them be cold will teach them to plan ahead? (Natural consequences?) What did you think of the kids’ reasons for not wearing coats? Could they really not realize when I step outside in January it’s going to be cold?

48 comments Add your comment

Techmom

January 4th, 2011
1:27 pm

I only fight the clothing battle when I have to. My son’s reasoning for wearing shorts to school is that he is inside the building all day and he does wear a sweatshirt or jacket. He is in high school and has no outdoor classes. He goes to a private school and wears uniforms and as he says, “the girls wear skirts all year, what’s the difference if I wear shorts?”

He does change into gym pants/sweats when he has to run for wrestling (or soccer in another month) and he’ll wear a hat when it’s cold (it’s has to be a cool hat though- not a typical knit hat). I figure if he’s cold, he’ll learn and wear something warmer next time.

Of course when he was younger I would force the jacket issue but he’s 15, he can dress himself.

P.S. Haven’t we actually had this discussion multiple times? Did it really require another topic to itself?

Light

January 4th, 2011
1:41 pm

Let God will be done thru this blog http://lightoftheearth.blogspot.com/

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Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 4th, 2011
1:45 pm

Techmom — we have discussed before — which I did say up front – I liked the ap story and the quotes from the teens — that’s why I ran it second and not first — first topic was brand new fresh!

JJ

January 4th, 2011
1:51 pm

My friends all laughed at me at a party recently because I had on flip flops, a week before Christmas. My reasoning is, I get hot and want to kick my shoes off so I just wear the flips. Plus everyone kicks their shoes off when entering a house.

I wear them to the grocery store, and almost everywhere, except work. But I do wear them to work in the summer. I have a wonderful pair of Nike Flips…..

Sorry, JJ...

January 4th, 2011
2:15 pm

…but it is time to grow up…

MomsRule

January 4th, 2011
2:17 pm

My kids at 14 and 11 are old enough to dress themselves. I provide the appropriate pants, coats, jackets, shorts, etc…it is up to them on what they wear each day. My oldest hasn’t worn pants to school for at least 2 years. My youngest will happily put on multiple layers as he loves to be cozy. The oldest is just naturally warmer by nature and prefers/needs less to be comfortable.

It used to drive my husband crazy…he has since learned that just because he thinks it is cold, not everyone else is in agreement.

I made them dress “appropriately” when they were younger. I now have faith that they are smart enough to know when they are cold.

jarvis

January 4th, 2011
2:23 pm

If it won’t kill them, who cares.

I’ll put out an appropriate jacket for my little ones, but for a kid that is old enough to dress himself/herself. Let them knock themselves out.

The only thing cold will make you is just that….cold. Unless they are going to be exposed to severe cold long enough to get frost bite or worse, let it go.

jarvis

January 4th, 2011
2:25 pm

And Techmom, I’m new. I like this topic.

Becky

January 4th, 2011
2:41 pm

It’s not just the teenagers that don’t want to wear coats..My 2 (age 8) tell me daily that they don’t want to wear bulky coats..They say that they are to much of a hassle to deal with.. So I just layer them and always make sure that I have a big coat and a blanket in the car just in case..I don’t wear a big coat either..In fact, I have on shorts today..I typically wear shorts or capris all year long..

MomsRule

January 4th, 2011
2:42 pm

@Sorry, JJ…

What am I missing? Why does JJ need to grow up.

JJ

January 4th, 2011
2:51 pm

Apparently someone needs to make a new years resolution to be kinder…….

JATL

January 4th, 2011
2:58 pm

This is one of those battles I don’t have at my house. If my 4 year old doesn’t want to wear a coat -I don’t make him. Same for hats, gloves, etc. I require pants and shirts, and if he’s wearing his Crocs in the winter -socks with those, but if he wants to freeze, that’s his choice. I always remind him of the coldness and usually in 5 minutes he’s asking for his jacket anyway. I find that most of the time we no longer even have an issue with him putting it on because he learned!

As for teenagers -unless one of mine is recovering from pneumonia or I know it’s in violation of their school’s dress code -that’s their business. If they want to wear shorts and flip flops when it’s 20 degrees outside, I may tell them they look like fools, but that’s another thing they’ll learn -that it’s better to be comfortable and warm than miserable so you can look cool (or freezing I would say). Some people are VERY hot-natured though! My husband regularly doesn’t wear a coat and never wears gloves because he seems to stay warmer than most of us. My Dad rarely ever wears more than a light jacket either.

Photius

January 4th, 2011
3:14 pm

JJ does need to grow up. I see these women at Kroger all the time: Scrunchy in their hair, no make up, sweat pants with elastic waist so “I can feel comfy”….. Flip flops are along the same line. No need to take pride in your appearance, why should she? Unless the husband puts his foot down. Time to grow up.

Becky

January 4th, 2011
3:14 pm

@Sorry JJ..Yeah JJ really needs to grow up..Rolling eyes here..She owns her own home, vehicle and has a daughter that made it all the way to college with a Mom that is still a child..How on earth did that ever happen?

@JATL..Yeah, it didn’t take my two long to learn that when I tell them it’s cold outside they need to listen..I have a coworker that her “winter” coat is a long sleeve shirt..She’s a big girl, she can deal with it..

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
3:31 pm

Living in Atlanta (the south), we are not used to dressing for the weather. Many of us do not use public transportation either and thus we hop into a heated car. If you have to wait for the hotel shuttle at say the Mall of America ( Minneapolis) in 10 degrees ( been there done that) you do realize that you will need a coat, scarf and gloves.

When mine went to elementary school and had recess,,,they wore appropriate clothes and that was a battle I would fight since I did want them to be able to go outside for fresh air. Once they got to middle school and would be inside all day…coat or no coat was not a big deal to me. Now, at college, they can do whatever they want.

Mine both know when I expect appropriate dress for certain situations. That expectation was set years ago and we rarely have to argue about it. They will show up in a suit/tie or heels and a skirt.

@Photius….HAHAHA: Unless the husband puts his foot down.
We have more of a mutual agreement here. Not sure if my husband has ever put his foot down with me. OH YES, we have disagreed but since neither of us is the BOSS…we somehow have to work it out. May take a few days too.

I see MEN at Kroger all the time with stubble, t-shirt,sweat pants, no make up, and a beer belly. Is it REALLY any of my business…not so much. I even see men in restaurants wearing a ball cap inside…whew…someone’s mama did not give him the directions!

Photius

January 4th, 2011
3:50 pm

Oh MJG, men can be just as bad. For many couples once they have lived together long enough it seems neither one cares about their appearance. Men with the big belly wearing the sweat stained ball cap and they shave once every two weeks simply because they are lazy. Then these fat bellied men go out and buy a Harley; big bellied bikers with loud exhaust driving around suburbia like they are tough guys.

Don’t forget the men with nose hairs curling out of their nostril…. or ear hair…. or bald men who grow a pony tail…. or a man who is over 50 with a stupid earring, The wife needs to put her foot down and tell the lazy dude to go and clean up, scrub up and trim the hair!

And if you’re an adult woman going around in flip flops, scrunchy, hair pulled back, no make up, sweat pants which are comfy for you weight gain/loss hopping into a dirty mini van… the husband needs to put his foot down and get her to primp up for crying out loud.

Becky

January 4th, 2011
3:53 pm

Well, I guess Photius wouldn’t want to see me at the grocery store on the weekends…Other thna going to church on Sun., I don’t wear any makeup, nor do I curl my hair orr blah, blah..I also do not wear panythose with dresses..So does that mean that I don’t care about my apperance? No, I just am confident in who I am, as well as confident that my husband loves me for being me.After 17 years, if he decides that he doesn’t like the way I look, oh well..Life will go on..

jarvis

January 4th, 2011
4:00 pm

Why the hell would you dress up to go to Kroger?

That’s like putting on clothes to have sex…sure you look better, but it is unnecessary and less efficient for the activity at hand.

mom2alex&max

January 4th, 2011
4:09 pm

This is one thing that just drives me up the wall. I can’t stand seeing teens with shorts when it’s 30 degrees out. WTH?

I make mine (7 and 10) dress appropriately. I can’t say how it’ll be when they are in middle school. If I had to answer now, I’d say that yes, THAT would be the hill to die on. I think it’s down right ridiculous to wear shorts in winter. We might live in the South, but this ain’t the Caribbean.

And to Photius: what do YOU care what other people’s wives wear???? I assume that yours is always dressed to the nines?

LM

January 4th, 2011
4:25 pm

I’m with Becky, I don’t wear make-up, ever. I’ve had the professional makeovers and every time even the makup artist figures out I look like a clown with make-up on. I am very luck, I have good skin so I don’t need to hide it to boost my condifence. Some women don’t feel human without their make-up on, to each their own. But why would I wear something because my husband put his foot down? Yeah right, that was not why I got married. I married a friend and partner who understands me and loves me for who I am, not for how I look.

FCM

January 4th, 2011
5:02 pm

Did we ever consider that with Childhood Obesity up…they extra fat keeping them warm and they actually do not need to wear a coat in some cases?

The coat is to insulate the body and keep out the chill. If there are layers of fat insulating the body then the “coat” is present 100% of the time.

@Photius—I actually love to have the money to go shopping and dress in battered jeans and a beached stained shirt in full make up. It is so “Pretty Woman” how some clerks will treat you….and it cracks me up when I drop my Debit card on the bill when the large total comes up and it all clears…right after they blanched.

Becky

January 4th, 2011
5:04 pm

@LM..I do wear makeup to work during the week, just no much on the weekends.. I worked with a lady once that brought a huge bag of makeup to work with her and every hr. she would “redo” her makeup..H3LL no, I’m not that worried about it..Besides, if your aren’t waking up next to me in the mornings, why sould you care what I look like without makeup?

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
5:05 pm

@ LM…we laughed at this in church on Sunday, as I mentioned that I have been home for several weeks and work in my home office in my PJ’s until noon each day. Since I work for myself, I just go downstairs and get my coffee and head back up. Some friends said they get dressed, showered and fixed up as soon as they wake up, no matter what. Others said they put lipstick on just to go to the mailbox or walk the dog. NOT ME. If I have to go out, I look appropriate but if I am home….who cares? I will NEVER run an errand in my pajamas…that crosses the line for me. If am am home all day, I do get a shower and get dressed, at some point but will not always put on make up or fix my hair!

FCM

January 4th, 2011
5:05 pm

TWG my youngest is 8 and still runs around in her undies on Sat morning before I get out of bed…Keep in mind the kid has pjs on when I check on her in the middle of the night.

Becky

January 4th, 2011
5:09 pm

@FCM..Ditto..I’ll never forget when me and mu husband went shopping for bedroom furniture years ago..Both of us had on jeans, t’s and tennis shoes..Nothing real ratty..We told the sales lady what we were looking for and I started over to one set..She looked at us and said, oh, we h ave some cheaper sets over this way..Needless to say, she lost that sale..Beings that we were looking in the $2-3 thousand range and were paying cash, she never had a chance to find out..Don’t judge a book by it’s cover as I’ve always heard..

catlady

January 4th, 2011
6:26 pm

We have idiot parents who allow their kids to come to school in flops and shorts with windchills below 20. They want to pick their battles, fine, but they are keeping their child’s class inside in many cases. That’s not only stupid but selfish.

Then we have parents who have their kids wear jackets when the temperature is in the 80s.

I don’t know if they are clueless, lazy, afraid to be a parent, or what. I just know the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

And what about parents who send their young daughters to school dressed as pole dancers and streetwalkers? It isn’t “cute,” folks. A third grader doesn’t need to be tricked out like that.

Kat

January 4th, 2011
6:44 pm

JATL: To each their own, but to let your four-year-old call the shots and decide what he/she will or won’t wear? I understand that with teenagers, you sometimes have to choose your battles, but with a four-year-old? I won every battle with my kids when they were that age – though I didn’t consider them battles because they were brought up understanding that their parents knew best. I made decisions for them and explained why. And not just “because I said so…”

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JATL

January 4th, 2011
8:19 pm

@ Kat -my 4 year old doesn’t “call any shots” -I just think if he chooses to ignore me about needing a jacket, then freezing is a pretty good lesson. It’s worked very well. Since, at age 4, they are constantly bombarded with directions, “don’ts” and instruction that they don’t really have any choice in -I don’t see the need to get into some sort of battle of wills at 7:30 am when we’re all rushing out of the house. Like I said -it takes about 5 minutes and he wants his jacket, which is in the car. Now it’s really a non-issue because it only took him a few times to learn that I did actually know what the temperature was like out there. If I tell him it’s cold, he puts his jacket on. I believe in raising kids who can think for themselves and solve their own problems -and who realize when it may be a good idea to listen to someone with more experience. That means they need to make mistakes sometime and not just follow along like dumb little soldiers.

JATL

January 4th, 2011
8:21 pm

@Photius -if someone is thinking that hard about what they’re wearing to Kroger, then they need more to do. I may be in Kroger in a business suit, party clothes, sweat pants, running tights or soccer shorts. I’ve had to go on a few occasions when I was so sick I had on little more than pajamas. Given many of the others I see at Kroger -no matter what I have on, I’m usually one of the better dressed. I’m certainly not going to run in and shower and get all dolled up during the middle of a yard-working Saturday if I realize I need to run and pick up some beer, juice and a prescription.

deidre_NC

January 4th, 2011
9:56 pm

great blog today….has me cracking up. i wear flip flops and im sure im grownup. is there an age where you should stop wearing flip flops? maybe the same age as when you should cut your hair really short.

it never took too many times of my kids being cold till they realized they needed to wear a jacket. as they got older i just left it up to them. once they started driving i insist they have blankets and stuff in their cars. we live in a very rural area, miles of road where there is nothing at all. if the car breaks or whatever they at least have a blanket stashed in the trunk. i dont think teens dont wear warm clothes to be cool. i cant stand to drive with a jacket on, why should they be different? i just teach them to at least be prepared just in case because of where we live.

penguinmom

January 4th, 2011
10:46 pm

My kids are allowed to wear a jacket or not, they just are not allowed to complain about being cold OR expect me to carry their jacket if they get too hot.

shaggy

January 5th, 2011
6:55 am

Photius, if you are at issue with the Kroger shopper’s dress code, you should never step in a Walmart. Wally World could push you over the line into insanity.
Just this weekend, my wife an I were in one, and I swear this obese woman, in bright colored stretchy pants of some sort, tried repeatedly to run us over in one of those electric cartie things that only the obese people use…you know, the obese ones that really could use some exercise. She was in every aisle, behind us, in front of us, and sometimes cutting around corners just as we thought we had lost her. Then, she parked for a time in the ding-dong aisle, and my wife had to ease around her, while she was distracted. I stood and watched in horror, as obese cartie woman floored it, aimed right for my wife. I couldn’t warn her, no time, and it was pure chance that she looked around at the last moment, just before obese cartie woman, was about to scoop he up in the basket full of ding-dongs. Needless to say, me, the concerned husband did just what a concerned husband should do. I laughed belly laughs until I had tears in my eyes.

motherjanegoose

January 5th, 2011
7:39 am

@ shaggy…Wally World….thanks for the laugh! Have fun…I have to go to work this morning.

JJ

January 5th, 2011
8:31 am

Photius – I don’t wear sweat pants out of the house, except over to the neighbors, I do look nice when I go out, even to the grocery store. I don’t have my hair in a “scrunchy”. I have no husband to put his foot down, I’m as free as a bird. I can do what I want, when I want, and wear what I want. You may also be horrified to know I have gone to Publix in my “house shoes”, aka slippers, but they look like shoes……I have even worn them to work by accident. Jumped in the car, and got 1/2 to work, and realized I still had my house shoes on….LOL

But I am in no way a slob…except on Sundays. No housework or anything during football season.

My flip flops are not tacky, they are Nike and VERY VERY comfortable. I stole them from my best friend back in September…..

really

January 5th, 2011
9:31 am

my 36 year old boyfriend and 30 year old best friend wore shorts yesterday… it was in the 50s. perfect weather!!!! there is nothing wrong with summer clothes when it gets above 50 in the mountains. i think it’s WONDERFUL TO HAVE SOME WARM WEATHER!!! YAY!

photius – i feel sorry for the women in your life. LOL

Lady Strange

January 5th, 2011
9:40 am

Really? Who care what someone wears to the store as long as all the important bits are covered. If you don’t like how they look, don’t look at them. I never wear makeup personally cause I hate it. I dress comfortably when I am not at work. I won’t go out of the house looking like a slob, but that’s my personal choice. If other people are comfortable going out like that, then that’s their business. They are not hurting anyone. Lighten up!

Becky

January 5th, 2011
9:58 am

@shaggy..Too funny..:~)

Well, I do go out of the house in sweats, with no make up and sometimes I have wron my hair in a “scrunchy”..I don’t dress to please anyone but me.. I don’t wear jeans with holes in them and I don’t wear sweat pants that I would work in the yard wearing, so to me it’s not a big deal..

@JJ..I have a pair of house slippers at my desk at work and during the winter if my feet get cold (my office is very cold during the winter) I will take my shoes off and wear them around the office..Heck, the owner of the company is 76 yrs. old and he wear flip flops to work during the summer..As I have mentioned before, our office is very relaxed and pretty much as long as we have clothes on, we’re good to work..People spend to much time out of their life worrying about what other people think..That’s not my style..

JJ

January 5th, 2011
10:08 am

Becky – your office sounds like mine. VERY casual……

And I don’t care what people think either, I cannot control what others think. I live my life for ME, not some random stranger in the grocery store. I don’t wear base makeup, eyeshadow or blush, etc., either, I can’t stand it and refuse to pay for it, but I do wear mascara and some lipstick.

Shirley

January 5th, 2011
10:11 am

My youngest son is 40 and refuses to wear a coat and only wear pants to work.He has always been hot natured.His kids are the same way.My oldest boy is like me.He is cold when it’s 70.Everyone is different.My husband thought I was crazy because I was always cold.

Becky

January 5th, 2011
10:30 am

@JJ..Yes, we are very casual..As the owner has sadi before, he tired the “suit and tie” route and that’s not the way he rolls..He has been known to attend meetings with “corporate” folks in his workout clothes..He says you take him as he is or not..Kinda like a few years ago, he went to the bank to take our deposit..A new lady thought he was going to rob her because he walked in with a “do” rag on his head and was reaching under his black leather vest for the bank bag as he walked toward her..Scared the bejesus out of her..Or the time one of his neighbors help saw him at the gas station putting gas in his wifes car and went home to tell the neighbor that he saw Mrs.____ lawn boy filling up her car..He got a big, big laugh over that one..

Katy

January 5th, 2011
11:39 am

I’m almost 24 now, and I still remember how little (warmth wise) I would wear to high school. I didn’t discover how much warmer you feel if you just get rid of the flip flops and put on some shoes until college. But in high school, the hassle of having to carry a large jacket around all day or trying to stuff it in your locker without making a mess of your books was just not worth the extra warmth it provided walking to and from the bus or trailer. So, yeah, maybe its uncool, but its also a great annoyance! Please leave your high schoolers alone, they will learn soon enough! I like the “pick your battles” mentality, God knows my mom had to with 4 kids running around. =)

JATL

January 5th, 2011
1:20 pm

@shaggy and Photius -if you’ve never seen it, Google “People of Walmart.” It may actually be its own site. I got it through an email, and it is alternately horrifying and hilarious. All photos taken in actual Walmarts of actual people!

Linda

January 5th, 2011
7:20 pm

@JATL – I teach at a preschool. Our teachers love to get the children outside to play at any opportunity. However, if one child does not have sufficient outerwear, the class must stay inside. Your 4yo may be keeping an entire class of wiggly preschoolers cooped up inside. Something you may want to look into.

motherjanegoose

January 5th, 2011
7:55 pm

@ Linda….good to have you…are you in metro Atlanta? I read the article where Kendrick said:
“Short of real and present danger of your teens getting frostbite, let them deal with being cold to be cool.” …

To me, youngsters are not mature enough to decide what types of clothes they need. When they are teens, they MAY have a better handle on cause and effect. When mine were in elementary school, I decided what they could wear…yes, there were options to select from but it was a controlled group of clothing items.

Letting your child wear whatever they want, in the under 12 set, is ( to me) kind of like letting them pack their lunch and choosing whatever they want: Cheezits and a Juicebox….maybe?
Better to give them a few choices and narrow things down. This may be why the school cafeterias have codes for choices…such as 1 protein/1 fruit or veggie/1 grain/1 dessert.

Now, if they want to wear their Halloween costume every Saturday and they are at home…fine!
Or if they want to wear their swim suit to bed ( at their own house) no big deal…if they get cold they can change themselves at 2;00 a.m. I would just put the PJs out in a visible place.

Perhaps this is just me but there are some things I get to be in charge of and there is NO discussion on the matter. Even now, my college kids know when there is no negotiating. Not very often but it does occur.

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Its the Lemming Factor

January 7th, 2011
2:22 pm

I live in the Chicagoland area and have noticed that suburban middle school and high school kids for the last few years only wear hoodies or the light north face hoodie in the winter time. The reason? They are stupid lemmings who are too dumb to stand apart from a crowd. My children are in grade school and I have already started talking to them about how stupid it is not to wear a coat in the winter time. I will point out a kid on the street and say look at that dummy.

If you can’t get your little middle school kid to wear a coat, how are you going to stop them from doing drugs etc.