Aren’t They Freezing? The REAL Reason Teenagers Won’t Wear Coats

It's a mystery that baffles nearly every parent of teens on the planet...

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: Aren’t They Freezing? The REAL Reason Teenagers Won’t Wear Coats

Written by: Raising Teens Today 

The other day, I was waiting patiently parked behind a school bus in my neighborhood while 20 or so middle schoolers piled in heading to school. It was absolutely freezing outside. The temperature hovered around 34 degrees, it was drizzling and the wind was whipping making it feel a whole lot colder than it actually was.

And… there they were… nearly every teenage boy was wearing shorts and a hoodie.

No coat. No gloves. No scarf. Nothing to keep them warm. Just a pair of thin shorts and a fleece hoodie. 

I mean, come on… aren’t they freezing their tails off? Aren’t they shivering? Aren’t they wishing they put a few extra layers on?

Even my own son, on more mornings than I can count, ventured off to school in a lightweight hoodie. When I offered up the suggestion, “Soooo, it’s really cold out this morning. You might want to think about wearing a coat,” all I’d get in return was an eye-roll at the mere mention of the idea and a “Nope, I’m good.”

My daughters are pretty much the same way. They’re big fans of hoodies on freezing days and they don’t think twice about leaving the house on a Friday night in the dead of winter wearing a crop top. “Don’t worry… I’m fine,” they’d say.

Really??? How can they be “fine?” 

As a mom, I miss the good ‘ole days when I had the peace of mind knowing my kids wouldn’t die from pneumonia when they left the house.

But then again, I did bundle them up like the Michelin Man… three layers, a coat, a hat, gloves, a scarf, heavy socks, and snow boots… you know, just for good measure. It took 20 minutes to dress them. 

Having my kids all bundled up satisfied my deep-seated need to protect them at all costs. Now I worry they’ll catch a cold (which is really unfounded because medical experts say you can’t really catch a cold from cold weather), that they’ll experience hypothermia (which actually IS a legit concern), or that their fingers or toes will get frostbitten (another totally legitimate concern).

I love my kids with ALL my heart. But teenagers are just plain, well… weird. There, I said it!

Who else would leave the house wearing nothing but a lightweight fleece hoodie in the absolute dead of winter and THEN wear that SAME hoodie on a blistering hot 95-degree day in summer? (But the summer hoodie thing is an entirely different conversation altogether.)

Hell-bent on finding answers, I decided to put things into my own “unscientific” hands and conduct a long overdue study. I asked every teenager I knew the all-important question, “Why in the holy h#ll don’t you wear a coat in the winter?” (Actually, I didn’t say it exactly like that. But I was thinking it!)

So, parents, FINALLY the mystery of why your teenager (and pretty much every other teenager on the planet) chooses to leave their coat buried in the back of their closet is solved. Here’s the REAL reason teenagers won’t wear coats, according to teenagers. (Heads up… it’s not just one reason.)

Aren’t They Freezing? The REAL Reason Teenagers Won’t Wear Coats


They’re Just Not Cold

With every parent screaming “FINE… freeze then!” when their kid walks out the door totally underdressed, this might offer some peace of mind. 

It turns out there’s some truth to this! According to an article in the Washington Post, “The metabolic rates for kids up through their teens are higher than those of most adults, and so are their activity levels. As a result, kids tend to generate more heat than adults do.” Experts say, if your kids skip the coat, at least encourage them to wear a hat and gloves, which will prevent frostbite and keep heat from escaping from their head. (Ummm… good luck with that.)

Coats Are a Pain to Carry Around

My kids have said this to me many times and the teenagers I reached out to confirmed it. Coats are bulky and a big pain to carry around in school. A lot of high schoolers either don’t have a locker (or choose not to have one) which means they have to carry their coat around all day in addition to their back backpack. And, for the middle and high schoolers that do have a locker, shoving a big, bulky, puffy coat into a small locker can be a serious challenge. 

Also, for the kids who have lockers, making it back to their locker in time to catch the bus or catch a ride in carpool can be a pain if their locker isn’t anywhere near their last class.

Hoodies Aren’t Just Cozy, They Provide Emotional Comfort

You know when your now big kid was a toddler and they had to have their comfy “blankie” before they could drift off to sleep? Well, it turns out, for some teenagers, their cozy hoodie provides the same emotional comfort. Hoodies are like a security blanket for big kids. (Hence the reason they have a “favorite” hoodie.)

Hoodies are “Cooler” than Coats

A coat is, well… just a coat. But the fashion options for hoodies are endless! Got a band you love? There’s a hoodie you can buy. Got a name brand you think is cool? There’s a hoodie you can buy. And, you can buy them in virtually ANY color to match an outfit. When comparing coats to hoodies, it’s flat-out hoodies for the win… they’re WAY cooler. 

Coats Are  Uncomfortable

It doesn’t matter how comfortable a coat is, apparently it’s no match to a soft, worn-in fleece hoodie. Plus, according to teens, the more you wear your favorite hoodies, the comfier they get. And, since most teens wear their hoodies oversized, they can scoot their hands in the sleeves and stay toasty while they desperately try to stay awake during their teacher’s boring history lecture. 

Teens Just Don’t Need a Coat

Unless they’re trekking to school in the snow, a coat just doesn’t serve that much of a purpose. Teens say they’re pretty good at timing the bus just right so they don’t spend too much time waiting in the cold and others who drive just hop in the car and take a short walk into the school. Bottom line… why wear a coat? It’s not necessary.

They Don’t Want to Get in Trouble for Losing It

Some teenagers claim they’ve lost more coats than they can count, so why bother? Especially when there’s no chance of losing their hoodie since they never (or rarely) take it off. 

No One Else is Wearing One

As much as teens say they don’t care about fitting in, a lot of them actually do care. In fact, they care a lot. And, who can blame them? No one wants to be the odd man out. So, even if a teen is cold and wants to wear a coat, there’s a chance they won’t if no one else does. They’d rather be cold than stand out like a sore thumb in the crowd.

Your teen heading out the door on a freezing cold day wearing nothing but a hoodie probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Buckle up and just ride this one out. If you’re really concerned about them freezing in frigid temps, encourage them to layer under their hoodie and wear a hat and gloves. But, don’t be surprised if they roll their eyes and sigh heavily… 

If you enjoyed reading, “Aren’t They Freezing? The REAL Reason Teenagers Won’t Wear Coats,” check out these other posts!

Life with Teenagers: 20 Things I Really Wasn’t Prepared For

23 Things That Threw Me for a Loop When My Kids Became Teenagers

75 Hilarious Tweets About Raising Teenagers That Are So Relatable

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1 comment

micheal December 17, 2023 - 12:41 pm

My daughter is definitely freezing and shivering but that still doesn’t stop her from going to school with nothing but a short sleeved shirt.


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