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A question for parents of teenagers

We live near a middle school and a high school. After school, I see large groups of teenagers walking and none of them are wearing coats. Some wear shorts. The temperature outside could be 20 degrees, and yet there they are, too cool to be warm.

Do you make them wear coats? Do they refuse to comply?

13 comments to A question for parents of teenagers

  • Do I want my son to freeze? No.
    Do I tell him to wear a coat? Yes.
    Does he?

    Well, you actually know my son, and he’s not particularly defiant, but he does apparently have a bigger clue than I do about what exact temperature warrants throwing common sense out the window, in exhange for looking hot… er cool? Hmm.

    About 3 years ago, we decided that this was not a battle we were going to fight. He’s old enough, and we’ve certainly taught him to have at least a minimal amount of common sense to keep warm. At his age, and this point – it’s a choice. No one suffers from his lack of judgement except him. If he doesn’t want to wear a coat, HE gets cold, not me. I worried a lot about what other people thought – would they think I was a bad Mom for not physically making him wear a coat? Hmm – maybe they DO think that. It’s not a reflection on my parenting though because at some point you have to let them own it. It’s a natural consequence in this case. Wear the coat = stay warm. Don’t wear the coat = get cold. He also knows that if he’s made the choice not to wear a coat and he happens to get cold – I’m not gonna be super sympathetic.

    Having said all of that (boy this got long!)… I have to say that now, it’s not a big deal anymore. Generally he wears a coat, because I think that about 2-3 years of making some not-so-smart choices sometimes and Mom & Dad not rescuing him, he’s decided that it’s a tad smarter to just wear it and move on with life. You can be cool, or hot (?) inside where it’s warm too!

    I think bottom line is – they own it, and they’ve usually been raised knowing their options and choices. Whatever choice they do make, it isn’t going to affect whether you stay warm or not!

    😉 (I really didin’t intend for that to end up being so long!)

    Jenn’s last blog post..Okay – so THAT didn’t take long!

  • mopsy

    That’s kind of what I am imagining, Jenn.

    At a certain point, you can’t jam a kid in a coat and MAKE them wear it. They are old enough to choose cold vs. warm and if it is more important to look good than feel good, so be it.

    I don’t think the moms of the coatless are bad. I wonder if they have simply thrown their arms in the air.

    I also just wonder what kids are thinking sometimes.

  • I used to walk to school in Illinois winters without socks.

    I was an idiot.

    Veronica Mitchell’s last blog post..Back to School

  • Erin

    We live in New York – where it is obviously cold. My son is 10 years old and every morning when I take him to school he is wearing a coat and often a hat and gloves. EVERY SINGLE DAY when I pick him up my first comment is, “Where’s your coat?”

    I assume he will join the ranks of the coatless junior high and high school students when the time comes.

    For my son, it’s not a desire to be “cool” or “hot.” He’s just not that into wearing a coat. I assume that if he gets reeeeallly cold, he’ll put it on.

    I don’t think the moms of the coatless are bad. The only time my son is without a coat is after school when I haven’t been around to make him put the darn thing on!

  • I’m right there with Jenn. We started fighting the coat battle with our oldest and quickly realized it wasn’t a battle we wanted to fight. Natural consequences are very effective. He recently got a snowboarding jacket that he is very proud of and wears it more often than not.

    Heth’s last blog post..Um… Whatever.

  • I am afraid that my 6, 8, and 19 year old are seen way too often without coats in colder temperatures. Part of it is that they slip into the car without me seeing that they don’t have coats, part of it is that when we are entering a building from the car and they will only have a few steps to walk I will let them leave the coat in the car–especially when there is no snow. Otherwise I spend the whole time in the building listening to them whine about being hot or having to carry their coats. And plus, I often leave mine in the car instead of carrying it. They also often take them off when playing outside and have yet to get sick as a result. I figure they can tell how hot or cold they are feeling and can dress accordingly–they have yet to get frost bite and are quick to come in if they are not dressed warm enough. My bigger issue is when they complain about being cold when they are wearing shorts and no socks on a winter day–if you are cold and can do something then you had better–we have a no complaining rule about that sort of thing.

    heather’s last blog post..Thankful Thursday Thirteen

  • Oh (LOL!) – and just for the record, if you get your teenager a ratty old zip up hoodie sweatshirt that you would rather them NOT wear, they’ll wear it – everywhere… church, school (all day – whether in or outside), you name it. Make sure the sweatshirt or jacket is pretty ugly though – and for kicks and a sure-fire measure for keeping the jacket on – get them a nice shirt that actually looks good to go under it. You’ll never see it! oh, and, they’ll wear it even more if they/you don’t wash it very often! 🙂 They might smell a little, but… they won’t be cold. You’ll never get them to take it off.


    Jenn’s last blog post..Okay – so THAT didn’t take long!

  • This made me smile. There is a bus stop right outside my house and I watch the middle school kids walk down the street everyday in t shirts. When it’s 10 degrees, they wear long sleeves. It makes me feel very old, b/c I remember standing at the bus stop 20 years ago with no coat, pegged jeans and no sox.

    Sarah’s last blog post..January?

  • Not only does my oldest son go coatless in short sleeves and shorts to school on a day when the high is predicted to be in the 40’s, he wears crocs without socks. He even wore them to go sledding over Thanksgiving.

    I can suggest, beg, plead, and bribe, but ultimately I can’t force the kid to dress appropriately. And it could be worse–at least his clothing is just inappropriate for the weather….

    chewymom’s last blog post..Oh True Queen of Pranks, I Bow to You

  • My kids wear coats or jackets, although they do try to avoid it occassionally.

    My oldest daughter lives 1/2 of the week in Pueblo and 1/2 of the week at home, and the lady she rents a room from always asks her if she needs her jacket for the day. I just love it! 🙂

    Randi’s last blog kids love calzones!

  • Jenny

    I buy her coats. They used to get stuffed into her backpack on the way to the bus stop. She’s beginning to come to her senses, since I bought her a cool American Eagle peacoat. It’s like pulling teeth to get her into gloves or a hat though….I figure she’ll learn.

  • Absolutely nothing to be done. I seem to recall that after about March 1, there existed a certain element at GJHS that we referred to as “the polar bears”. I was buddies with some of them. They would begin to wear shorts on this date, coupled with a fleece vest over a long sleeve t-shirt. They rarely wore pants again for the rest of the year.

    scott’s last blog post..links for 2008-01-13

  • My girls would wear their coats backwards. Tell me how that makes sense. I think so they can keep their arms warm, and yet slip it off very quickly. I think it is akin to carrying the coat instead of actually wearing it. And mine weren’t the only ones to do it.

    My oldest is the only one who wore a coat, but it is because she walked to school. The others ride or drive. When they drive, I do make them keep it in the car in case the car breaks down. Otherwise, they are on their own.

    They do all wear hoodies and will take lighter jackets.

    One daughter had kids tease her one year that she looked like a marshmallow in her coat. She has hated coats ever since. (She was in 8th grade.)

    This year, my 15 and 18 year olds DO wear coats.

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