Tag Archives: peer pressure

Nov. ’18 Q&A – Refusing Warm Clothes, Night Diapers and Handling Peer Pressure

What to do when a child refuses warm clothes

Q. I am stuck on an issue with my almost 4 yr. old son. He has been insisting on wearing shorts and t-shirts for the last few months no matter what the weather. When this came up, refusing coats/long sleeves/pants, I went with it, allowing him choice in clothing. I thought, when he gets really cold, he’ll put on more clothes. He didn’t. I compromised and allowed him to wear leg warmers, long socks, etc. It got colder and colder and he wasn’t adjusting at all. Finally, I insisted that he wear pants and a coat when necessary (during an evening out he became so cold, was shivering, and claiming he wasn’t cold and temps were in the 30’s). He has fought it completely. He doesn’t want to leave the house because it means putting clothes on. He willget dressed but its only if I practically force him to. I have held firm though, as this has been our most recent decision on how to handle this. It’s not getting easier. I considered it could be a sensory issue but I don’t think it is based in what he tells me and how he acts when he’s dressed. He will pull his pant legs up and want them rolled up like shorts, however, he’ll wear leg warmers and any kind of material of pant. I thought he might be trying to control this part of his life because recently we cut all screen time and he had no choice in the matter. 

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The Many Faces of Peer Pressure

Peer pressure. It’s a term that provokes fear in every parent—fear that children will succumb to the negative influence of classmates and friends to behave in dangerous ways. Parents worry that being liked and a part of the popular group will be more important to their children than working hard, getting good grades, and getting their values at home. Turning into who they think their friends want or expect them to be is the stuff of a parent’s nightmare.

There are two additional and often forgotten aspects to consider about peer pressure: The positive side of peer influence and the affects of adult peer pressure on parents and thus on their children.

  1. Parents tend to focus only on the negative aspects of peer pressure and forget to acknowledge that children must learn the norms, styles and social skills of living in today’s world from their peers. Good friends influence each other tremendously as they talk about and decide so many behaviors they both approve and disapprove of in others. Bullies and snobs influence children in positive ways, too. That’s what I don’t want to be like.

A parent’s job is to accept and support the child to foster self-confidence so that they can navigate the ins and outs of their peers and gain the knowledge and influence that works for their success and further confidence. When parents spend too much time fearing which friends their children will choose, they lose valuable time in learning and accepting who their child really is.

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