Parent shaming. It’s a real epidemic nowadays. Whether it’s shaming moms about breastfeeding, shaming parents about what food they choose to feed their children, or shaming parents for their kids not wearing a coat outside when it’s cold. It’s everywhere.
In fact, there are a million reasons a child might not be wearing a coat, and exactly none of them are any of your business.
Putting on a Coat is a Battle
I don’t have any children yet, but I’ve seen my friends with their babies and I look after those babies. And let me tell you, there’s nothing quite as stubborn as a kid who does not want to put on their coat. They get all wriggly. Arms everywhere. And the screaming! You’d think I was trying to murder them. Now imagine doing this on a daily basis, potentially with more than one of the little darlings. It’d be enough to drive you insane. Furthermore, kids run hot! I’m constantly adding layers while the little ones run around almost naked. No amount of ‘aren’t you cold?’ is getting certain kids to put on clothes.
Wearing a Coat Can Activate Sensory Issues
Some children have sensory issues that aren’t going to be obvious to any judgemental onlookers. There’s no sign or badge to indicate this to you, so how are you going to know? Simple. You’re not. But that’s okay! Why? Because you don’t need to. You just have to trust that parents know how to take care of their children and that they aren’t monsters trying to freeze them to death.
Coat Safety in Car Seats
Perhaps the child just got out of a car and walked the 15 seconds to the store where you’re standing. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics: “As a general rule, bulky clothing, including winter coats and snowsuits, should not be worn underneath the harness of a car seat.” They continue to explain that should a car crash occur, ‘fluffy padding immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space under the harness. A child can then slip through the straps and be thrown from the seat.’ So, it is hardly surprising that parents are choosing not to put their child in danger!
Katie Holmes’ Kid Coat Conundrum
Even celebrities aren’t safe from this type of judgment. In 2011, Katie Holmes was, caught by the media taking her five-year-old daughter Suri outside without a coat. She decided to address the matter and InStyle‘s August 2011 issue, quoted Holmes as saying, ‘Recently, Suri and I were taking a walk and a fight got started because it was cold outside and she didn’t want to wear her coat’ continuing with ‘My philosophy is, ‘Well, fine, because after a block of walking you’re going to ask me for your coat.’ So the pictures of her [without a coat in cold weather] are sort of embarrassing, but I said, ‘Suri, I’ll take the hit. Just put it on when you get cold.’’ As expected, there was a lot of outrage about such a small child being outside without a coat, showing that nobody is immune to parent shaming.
There are enough pressures on parents to raise their children in the best way possible without having to deal with judgments from perfect strangers. If you get the urge to get involved when you see a child without a coat, take a moment and think. It’s probably none of your business and all you’ll achieve is making that parent feel like a failure when really they’re doing the best they can.