December 18, 2016/Children's Health

Need to Convince Your Teen to Wear a Coat? Here’s How

Help your adolescent make a good decision about weather protection

Need to Convince Your Teen to Wear a Coat? Here's How

When the temperatures outside dip below freezing, it may seem like a no-brainer for you to reach for that warm coat, hat and gloves. Then you see your teenager bounding out the door wearing just a hoodie — or maybe even shorts.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

As many parents of adolescents know, battles can ensue at the suggestion that your teens bundle up. You tell them to put on a coat; they insist they are fine without one.

Being the decider

Adolescence is a time where teens want to make their own decisions. And, yes, that includes whether to wear a jacket when there’s thick icicles hanging from the roof.

Trouble is, teens often make decisions that use faulty logic. They may think coats are uncool and fussy or they don’t want to have to worry about keeping track of it. Those considerations may, in their minds, outweigh the comfort of keeping warm.

Add to this the fact that colds are caused by viruses, and not by feeling cold, and many parents are tempted to throw up their hands and give in.

Is this an argument worth winning? Or should you simply chill out?

Keeping your teen warm

Children of all ages need to be kept warm, regardless of their insistence on leaving the house wearing just a hoodie when it’s freezing cold, says pediatrician Kimberly Giuliano, MD.

“Older children and adolescents do tend to push the limits, and sometimes parents feel that they need to give in,” she says. “But it really is important for children of all ages to be kept warm when the temperatures outside are below freezing. The risk of frostbite is our most significant concern.”

Advertisement

Rather than nagging your teen, belittling their choice or playing the authority card, Dr. Giuliano recommends talking to your teen about the importance of staying warm, staying healthy and remaining injury-free. Tell your teens about the effects of frostbite and how quickly it can set.

For example, frostbite could occur as rapidly as in 10 minutes when skin is exposed to temps that are 10 degrees below zero.

It’s important for your teen to know where you stand on the issue, she says. Understanding the reasons behind your concern may increase the likelihood of them throwing on another layer.

You also could invite your teen to help you come up with a temperature rule: When the mercury falls below a certain number, a coat and/or hat is mandatory and wearing shorts outside is out. These sort of in-advance mutually-agreed-on rules can avoid debate on the subjective issue of whether it’s cold outside at the exact moment when your teen is preparing to leave the house.

Another way to get your teen to dress winter-appropriate is to make shopping for and purchasing a winter coat an enjoyable experience, Dr. Giuliano says. Try to find a coat your teen likes and that you know will provide protection against the elements.

“Take your child shopping and find a coat that you can mutually agree on,” she says. “A coat that meets your teen’s cool-factor as well as your warmth requirements will probably be your best bet for mutual buy-in.”

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Teen lying on bed holding cell phone up reading it
May 9, 2024/Parenting
Sexting: The Risks and How To Talk to Your Children About It

Sexting has become all too common among kids, putting them at risk for bullying, blackmailing and human trafficking

Young child in bed reading at night
May 2, 2024/Children's Health
Nighty-Night: Tips To Get Your Kid To Stay In Bed

A consistent, structured routine, which may include incentives, can help children learn to stay in bed and get the ZZZs they need

Two caregivers, with one holding a child on shoulders, walking happily outside
May 1, 2024/Parenting
Our Safe and Responsible Guide To Co-Parenting

Keeping open lines of communication and working together as a team for your children are key to co-parenting

Toddler sitting on caregiver's lap receiving throat swab from healthcare provider
April 29, 2024/Children's Health
Recurrent Strep Throat: What To Do When Strep Comes Back

Change your toothbrush after an infection and always take your full course of antibiotics to help ward off recurrence

Caregiver and child sitting in front of toilet holding toilet paper rolls
April 24, 2024/Children's Health
How To Potty Train: Our Best Tips

Set your child up for potty training success by waiting until they’re ready, keeping the pressure low and going heavy on the praise

Three sick babies crying amidst toys and baby items
April 18, 2024/Children's Health
How To Keep Your Kids Healthy When They Go to Daycare

You can help strengthen your child’s immune system by focusing on hand washing and staying up-to-date on their vaccines

Close up of child's chipped teeth
March 29, 2024/Children's Health
What To Do if Your Child Chips a Tooth

A dental emergency, quick action is key to preventing long-term damage

Parent helping toddler brush their teeth while in the bathroom
March 13, 2024/Oral Health
Tips for Preventing Cavities in Children

Help and encourage them to brush and floss regularly, limit sugary foods and get routine dental checkups

Trending Topics

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

woman snacking on raisins and nuts
52 Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with foods like tuna, tofu and turkey

Ad