By: Wendy S. Marcus
In my house, gone are the days I bundle up my cherubs prior to them leaving for school on a cold winter morning. There is no hustling to find a missing glove or a favorite hat, no arguments over hat head and static hair. Why? Because my children, ages 13, 16, and 19 refuse to wear winter jackets or any other warm protective outerwear! It was -11 degrees F this morning and, as if wearing even a hat and gloves may expose some sort of weakness, my son ran for the bus wearing a T-shirt, thermal shirt, and sweatshirt. And it’s not only him. Drive by my son’s high school and you’ll be hard-pressed to find one of his schoolmates wearing a jacket. And yet dozens of catalogs offering junior-sized winter coats clog my mailbox each winter season. Who is their client base, I wonder? How does the teenage coat-making industry remain afloat?
Back in the day, my mother would not allow me to leave the house without a jacket. Does it make me a bad mommy for taking on the philosophy: They’re old enough to make their own decisions. If they get cold enough, they’ll put on a coat?
It worked for a few days. Then the sub zero temperatures arrived. I fought with my daughter to put on a coat…like a good mommy should…before bad mommy took over and said, “Fine. Do what you want. But don’t blame me when you come down with pneumonia!” Then I stood at the front window watching my daughter out at the bus stop, counting the minutes until the bus arrived, imagining her shivering, icicles dangling from her nose and the corners of her eyes, her systems slowly shutting down due to hypothermia. I have driven her to the bus stop each day since.
So how do you handle it when your teenagers refuse to wear coats, even on the coldest of days? Even when recovering from strep throat? I’m afraid if I tell my son to put on a coat or don’t leave the house, he’ll log on to his Xbox and never come out of his room!!! If I try it with my daughter she’ll be more than happy to stay home and “keep me company” in my office…All…Day…Long.