Social Question

theichibun's avatar

Why do parents let their kids wear shorts to school when it's under 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside?

Asked by theichibun (2237points) March 3rd, 2010

I was subbing today. There was snow on the ground, temperatures hovering around 34, and there were kids wearing shorts to school.

I know that some of these kids ride the bus, and since we had a late start some of them could have worn shorts without the parents knowing. But way too many of these kids were getting out of a car driven by an adult that I’m assuming is a parent.

I get the idea of letting kids make their own mistakes. But isn’t this a bit much?

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25 Answers

marinelife's avatar

It does not seem wise when anything could happen to the child on the way home making them get stuck being outside for some time.

njnyjobs's avatar

I share your concern… I would probably put blame on the parents for letting the child get away with it. It’s understandable if the day would warm up to a temp worthy of shorts, but at this time it isn’t. . . maybe they weren’t able to do laundry and the kid run out of long pants.

Judi's avatar

That’s crazy. But then again, when I grew up, girls had to wear dresses every day and we usually wore them with knee socks.

Buttonstc's avatar

My guess would be that they are choosing their battles. In the grand scheme of things, this just isn’t that big a deal. It’s like hair color or other issues.

If you can get a kid to age 18 without smoking, drug abuse or a criminal record and hopefully a bit of compassion for the less fortunate that’s a pretty good goal.

Whether they wear shorts in winter or not, they will soon learn if it was a mistake.

liminal's avatar

Eh, I wouldn’t fight my child over this. They way I would keep it from being to much is to make sure I have some warm clothing available (at the school and in the car) if the need should arise.

MissAusten's avatar

I’m with @Buttonstc on this one. Once a kid is old enough to dress him or herself and choose what to wear, parents should let them dress how they want (within reason). My middle school-aged daughter gets very annoyed if I suggest she change her clothes before going to school, so I gently tell her why I think she should change and then leave it up to her. She tends to be oblivious to her appearance and will pick out things that don’t match at all or don’t fit her anymore. She hasn’t tried to wear shorts in winter yet, but if she did, she’d probably decide no to do it again.

I see kids around here getting off the bus wearing shorts in the cold, but for all I know it’s the cool thing to do. haha literally

nebule's avatar

um no no no, I would not let my child go to school in shorts in that kind of weather… call me a big fat meany but that’s the way it crumbles…Theo is only 3 though!

DominicX's avatar

Depends on how old the kids are. It bugs me when parents are so strict about their older kids’ clothing. Allow some way for your kid to express themselves…so they want to wear a green shirt with an orange jacket…who the fuck cares…

Sure, it seems ridiculous, but if they truly don’t like it, they’re not going to do it again. I used to wear short socks when it was cold (with jeans) and it just made me really cold, so I started wearing longer socks. People will learn from their mistakes, if it’s a mistake to them.

I knew a kid who always wore shorts no matter how cold it was and his only reason for it was that he “hates jeans”. It’s not necessarily making some big statement. Unless it’s actually posing a risk to their health and well-being, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

Buttonstc's avatar

Also, if they had to walk to school (as many of us did when younger) they would opt for a better choice.

One catches colds from viruses being passed around, not from lack of wearing a hat, overcoat, or other items of clothing as we were also taught when younger. Now we know better.

If the school doesn’t have a dress code covering this, I wouldn’t necessarily put it on the parents. This is most likely a fad going around among groups of kids and next year it will be something else.

If it were my kid, I would comment the first time, but if he told me that’s what all his buddies were doing, I would just make sure he knew that I’m ok with faddish clothing choices. However, this does not automatically extend to dangerous choices like smoking or drugs. That’s it.

If you think about it logically, the farthest they have to walk is from the car to the front door of the school.

I do the same most days when I shop. I find it annoying to be wearing a winter coat when driving or in heated stores so I don’t. And it gets pretty cold here in Mich. But I’m not dead yet. I do wear gloves tho. Go figure.

thriftymaid's avatar

I don’t know what age kids you are talking about. When I was a kid it was quite fashionable to wear wool shorts and knee socks in the winter.

Cruiser's avatar

That is merely a clear sign they are way behind on their laundry…give them a pass.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

They probably figure they can make more if they run out ;)

lazydaisy's avatar

Because sometimes natural consequences are a bitch.

Trillian's avatar

@theichibun Are you yourself a parent? My god I can remember the wasted hours with my oldest daughter. When she was seven she had this purple shirt and pants with little coin shaped bangles on the shirt. She insisted on wearing it day in and day out. I finally went to the child psychiatrist on board to ask him for help. He told me to let her wear it until it morphed to her skin. He said to tell her school what was going on and then to forget about it. He said that kids need to assert their independence and that peer pressure would make her take the stupid things off long before anything I could say. He also said to let her wear stupid shorts or inappropriate warm weather clothes if she wanted. He said that being cold for a few days wouldn’t kill her and that it was better to let her come to her own conclusions about why warn clothes in the winter were a good idea.
I dropped the issue and a whole load of stress.

hippigirl's avatar

Maybe mom leaves for work at 7:00 a.m. and doesn’t see what her little darlings are wearing until 4:00 p.m. when it’s too late to protest & make them change.

Bluefreedom's avatar

The parents might be stupid? Just thinking out loud.

MissAusten's avatar

@Trillian That reminds me of a little girl in the toddler class I used to teach. She had a pair of Wiggles pajamas that she loved and insisted on wearing to school. Her mom was really funny about the whole thing and didn’t turn it into a big deal. After a while, the obsession wore off and the mom said she actually kind of missed it because the kid was so happy to wear the pjs that she was much more cooperative about everything else.

You pick your battles as a parent. Not everyone has the same priorities, so the “battles” from family to family will be different. I have two cousins that, in high school, did things with their hair that would make a lot of parents cringe. One varied her hair color from pink to blue to purple, and the other just shaved her head. Their mom said, “It’s hair. It grows back. They have good grades and stay out of trouble, so if all they rebel with is their hair, we’re lucky.”

keobooks's avatar

I remember a student of mine wearing shorts in the winter. I was concerned and so was his “main” teacher. She called the father in for a conference. Dad showed up wearing shorts and a tank tee—no jacket! I guess neither he or his son felt the cold. The teacher decided to drop it unless the kid was showing signs of cold. He wore them a few more times, and never seemed to mind. I guess he and his father were just really warm blooded.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Whenever I have problems with my kids wardrobe, I make sure they have problems with my wardrobe too. If they don’t take the proper measures to be reasonably well dressed with the clothing bought for them, then they will find me cutting the lawn in my tighty whities. Then I’ll intentionally get them to school late so I have to walk them to the office for late sign in. They don’t like me dressing in drag inside the school or anywhere on campus. If me showing up to the basketball games completely naked under my flashers trenchcoat with white socks and sandals doesn’t do the trick, then picking them up from the mall in my fishnet speedos usually does.

I rarely have a problem with their dress code any longer.

Just_some_guy's avatar

I have 2 children tho I am sure both are younger than the ones you are asking about. They have uniforms for school in my area, but shorts are an option. At their age I set out their school clothes in the morning. I do think that many parents don’t allow for any compromise, or compromise too much with teenage children. As for the above mentioned picking your fights, I agree. If a kid wants to wear shorts in the cold I can live with that so long as it isn’t a serious health hazard. 30 degrees F for short periods of time don’t seem to be for me or I would have died at work many times. Compromise the little things, fight the important and life changing ones. Giving your child the right amount of freedom is hard to do. Who can really say what the right amount of freedom is for a teen, but if their clothing isn’t going to kill them. or isn’t too reveling. Let it be.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

If the kid insists on wearing shorts to school in 40 degree weather, let ‘em.
Kids can be stubborn asses but they’ll figure it out by lunch and they wont ask a second time.

YARNLADY's avatar

My grandson runs outside in nothing but his diaper every time he gets a chance. It’s only for a few minutes, and I usually follow him with clothes, but he doesn’t care if it’s cold or raining. Cold, here, is 45 – 50 degrees.

I see many neighbor kids wearing short coveralls. It seems to be common place.

mattbrowne's avatar


DAVEL's avatar

What’s does ignorance have to do with it? What does it really matter if they wear shorts, pants, or dresses? If the kid is really cold enough, they will wear warmer clothes. If not, they will learn their lesson. Some kids (and adults) are just warmer and it feels more comfortable to wear less. Why do some people feel the need to control, control, control. Keep them from doing drugs and hanging out with bad friends, and keep yourself from being a bad example, but shorts??? Get real.

Aster's avatar

It is considered “cool” now to wear shorts in freezing weather and a little nerdy to wear coats when it’s freezing. Their teeth chatter but they don’t care; they’re cool. Like those who let their underwear show it’s just insane to me. Doing this they are also expressing their independence. Or lack of brain material.

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