Warning: This post contains information about a teaching method that some people/parents may find too severe.
It’s almost officially winter. It has been really cold on and off for about a month now. Because the weather isn’t consistent like it was when I was a kid, I find it hard to convince my kids that they need to dress warmly on a regular basis. Case in point, last week it was warm enough to be outside in shirt sleeves one day and the next day it was bitter cold. It can be confusing for kids.
I do my best to dress them according to the weather, but when the Resistance unites and gains strength, I have been known to surrender in the hopes that they will figure it out for themselves that cold weather requires a winter coat, hat and mitts and warmer weather is when we wear only a light jacket. (For some reason, I never have to fight with them to wear rubber boots, raincoats and to carry umbrellas. I guess we don’t use these items often enough, so they think of them new and exciting.)
I remember once, before I had kids, I was sitting in my car at a stop light in the dead of winter and I watched a young couple walking across the street, pushing their daughter (maybe two years old) in her stroller with no mittens on. The child was asleep, and from where I was sitting I could see that her hands were red from the cold.
I thought to myself, “What were those parents thinking when they left the house? That child needs mittens on her poor little freezing hands.”
That thought comes back to taunt me over and over again as I fight with my kids to dress warmly when it’s cold outside. Those parents probably tried to put mittens on their little girl only to be thwarted by the child’s determination not to wear mittens.
Recently, I walked over to the store (about 10 minutes from my house). My daughter joined me but refused to wear her coat, hat or mitts. She claimed she was not cold and would not be cold on the walk to the store. I warned her that she would indeed be cold and she had to put her coat, hat and mitts on.
She marched out the front door in defiance, so I followed.
She didn’t complain at all. She tucked her hands into her pockets and skipped the whole way to the store (in an effort to keep warm, no doubt).
Some would say that I should have insisted and pushed and cajoled and convinced her to dress appropriately. They might be right. But know this: I did try hard to get her to put her coat on. She’s stubborn and strong-willed. She’s not doing anything she doesn’t want to do unless she clearly understands the reasons for doing it.
Our chilly march to the store and back, though she never admitted that she was cold, is now her reason for dressing appropriately when we go out.