Shorts in winter and what Love & Logic says about it

shoveling snow

This morning I saw three kids walking to school wearing shorts or cropped pants. It was seven degrees outside, and I was questioning the sanity of these kids.

I’ve had my own issues getting my sons (particularly my oldest) to wear weather-appropriate clothes. More than once, I’ve begged him to just TAKE his coat, even if he doesn’t want to wear it right then, just in case he changed his mind later.

This is not the recommended approach from the Love and Logic people. According to Parenting with Love and Logic, which has been my parenting bible for six years, we parents should let our kids make the choice and experience the natural consequence. Here’s an excerpt on the topic:

“I (Jim Fay) used to insist that my son, Charlie, dress for the weather on chilly Colorado mornings. “Charlie,” I’d say, “It’s cold out this morning. You’d better wear your heavy coat.” Sure enough, he’d grab his little slicker—the lightest coat he owned—and waltz out the door.

“Unwittingly, I was taking away his best choice. I thought I was ensuring that Charlie would be warm waiting for the bus, but he chose to be cold instead. He was exerting his free will.

“But I wised up. I would instead say, “Charlie, it’s twenty degrees out. You might want to wear a coat.” This offered him a range of choices from worst to best (kids always seem to discount the first option we give them). In the end, Charlie decided to exert his free will with a warm coat.

“So the paradox is that parents who try to ensure their children’s successes often raise unsuccessful kids! But the loving and concerned parents who allow for failure wind up with kids who tend to choose success. These are the parents who take thoughtful risks. As God gives each of us choices, we can do no less for our own beloved children.”

Yikes, that is so hard. I don’t want my kids freezing or sick. And I don’t want people to think I’m a hands-off parent that a) doesn’t care about my kids, b) is raising stupid kids, or c) isn’t providing warm clothing for them during the cold months.

So what do you think about the Love and Logic advice? Do you push the coat issue? Do your kids wear shorts in winter? How have you had success getting your kids to wear the right clothes for the weather? •

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3 thoughts

  1. The struggle is real! I think this was one of the issues that was on my I will NEVER let my child do that list. Little did I know about parenting at the time! Two things seem to really stand out to me as a parent thus far. First, you will pick the battles that you have with your children and some are just not worth the fight. Wearing shorts, or not wearing a coat in the winter is one battle I have chosen not to fight anymore. My hope is that they really will wear a coat in winter if they are freezing. Second, the longer I am a parent the less I judge other parents. Where I used to see a kid wearing shorts in the winter and maybe think an ill thought toward the parent, now I chuckle and think maybe that parent chose not to or did not have time that morning to have a battle of the will with their child.

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