Wednesday, October 14, 2009
There is a serious epidemic going around, and I’m sorry to say that my children have succumbed to it. Yes, they are victims of the extremely serious, very scary “coat phobia.”
The symptoms include an unwillingness – or inability – to determine weather appropriateness and putting on a coat. Yesterday was a very good example. My daughter comes skipping down the stairs before school in a t-shirt and shorts. Now, mind you – the temperature at that time was a balmy 46 degrees. The forecast called for a cold front to move in by lunch, with temperatures dropping to 42 with a cold drizzle falling.
On top of the gloomy weather forecast, my daughter had a field trip scheduled yesterday that would require her to be outside for most of the day. So, I calmly told her she needed to march right back upstairs, put on jeans and a sweatshirt, and get her coat. The eyes rolled back in her head, but she turned around (grudgingly) and trudged back up the stairs.
A few minutes later, she comes back down with the mandated jeans and the mandated sweatshirt – but no coat.
“Where’s your coat?” I asked.
“I don’t need a coat. It’s not cold.”
I broke the news to her that it was only 46 degrees outside – and dropping. She needed a coat.
“Watch,” she says. “I’ll go stand outside right now and show you that it’s not cold.”
I informed her that stepping outside for one minute to prove a point to me was not the same as standing outside in an open field – in Kansas - for hours. No comparison. No argument. No discussion. “GET THE COAT,” I calmly said. (Calmly, because, as you know, I never raise my voice with my children…ever.)
According to the American Psychological Association, the suggested treatment for a phobia includes behavior therapy, modeling, and biofeedback. Strangely enough, they don’t mention giving the coat phobic patient “dagger eyes” as you STRONGLY suggest wearing a coat, while threatening to ground them if they don’t comply. Huh. I don’t know why it’s not mentioned in their treatment manual. It worked for my daughter.
Are your children victims of this tragic disease? Or are my children unique in their aversion to outer garments in cold weather?