How to Handle Cold-Weather Clothing Battles with Teens

Parenting Teens: Cold Weather Concerns

The cold weather is upon us. While you relish the opportunity to take out your sweaters and are thrilled blazers are in this season (and hello, boot season!), your son stars almost daily in his own version of ‘What Not to Wear’ when it’s cold out. 

How many times will you have to insist that shorts are not appropriate when it’s ten degrees? Or maybe it’s your daughter, a fashionista who looks at you like you have three heads when you tell her to put a coat and hat on. She insists that this would ruin ‘her look.’ A hat is unthinkable after she just spent two hours styling her hair! ‘When her hair breaks off in icicles she won’t have to worry about it,’ you think but know better than to say out loud. 

Oh, how you dread the arguments, the threats. Your demands are not unreasonable. You gave up insisting that your teen wear a rain coat years ago, what’s the use? Inappropriate dressing when it’s too cold out is not something you are willing to tolerate however, it just isn’t healthy,right? 

So how can you avoid cold weather clothing wars? Is there a way to at least come to a compromise? You are all about choosing your battles wisely, but this is one concern you just can’t let go. Well, this can indeed be a tricky one to manage. 
How can you stop the cold-weather clothing battles without giving up altogether? 
1. Choose a compromise that allows your teen to improvise. If ,for example, your daughter refuses to wear a coat, suggest that she wear a layered look which will not only keep her warm but goes with style. Suggest that your son wears sweats over shorts when he is outside, or wears fitted running pants under his shorts. 
2. Blame it on school policy. Before you prepare for battle, check the school’s student handbook. Many schools have dress codes which take into consideration appropriate dress for the season. While your teens may not want to listen to you, if they want to avoid redirection at school they may just agree to comply.
3. Talk the issue out in advance. Mornings can be quite hectic.The last thing you want to deal with is an argument over outerwear before breakfast. If this has been an issue in the past, sit down and discuss it with your teen ahead of time. 
4. Ask your teen to help solve it. Lay out your concerns and ask your teen to help generate solutions. Level with him. Let him know this is an issue of great concern. Tell him that you want to find a solution that pleases both of you. By putting the ball back in your teen’s court you empower him to work with you instead of against you. Even if your teen doesn’t agree with your concern, offering that this is not a battle you want to fight can be enough to encourage him to use perspective taking.  
5. Hear your teen out. Their answers may surprise you. Get to the bottom of your teen’s objection. Why doesn’t he want to wear pants or at least sweats, what is wrong with a sweater, a coat, a hat or gloves.? The answer may actually surprise you. I have heard from some teens that they don’t like sweaters because they are worried they will perspire and then smell. Maybe the material makes her itchy. Puberty can be a tough time. If your teen is willing to reveal her real concern you may be able to come up with some sort of accommodation. 

Devising a plan before the winds start blowing in the frost can be the difference between a cold war with your teen and helping your teen fight the cold. 

What suggestions do you have for parents of teens who are preparing for battles over gloves and shorts? 

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