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?