“Your Baby Looks Cold. Please Leave the Football Game”

This wonderful, yshrsdtnik
rousing piece
by Rachel Lu at The Federalist had ME trembling. (Not shivering! Trembling.) It’s titled, “Stop Siccing the Police on Me If My Kids Don’t Wear Coats For 20 Seconds,” and begins:

The envelope trembled in my hands as I slowly broke the seal. This was it. Even when you know it’s coming, you never feel fully prepared. Slowly, I unfolded the page.

“Dear Parent,” it read. “Winter weather has arrived, and it’s time for a reminder about appropriate winter attire.” Emotion welled up inside me, and I could read no further.

Emotion wells inside me with those words, too, because who does not know that winter has arrived??? Do the schoolmarms really think that THEY notice the change of season, but parents just put on their flip flops, head outside and wonder why their toes are turning purple? How come it’s so NORMAL to treat parents as idiots?

Well, that’s sort of Lu’s point, too. But for her it’s less theoretical.  She has four young boys and it can be hard to convince them to bundle up:

If we’re going to a parade or an outdoor light show, I will insist. But what if their outdoor exposure will be limited to a few 45-second windows as we hurry from the car to a warm building, and then back again? Still necessary to risk the tantrum? I think that’s a parental-discretion sort of question.

Of course it is. But onlookers feel compelled to weigh in, and this is what happens:

About a year ago, I brought my family to an outdoor football game on a 30-degree day. On this occasion, the older three boys were dressed in all the winter accouterments, since we were planning to be outside.

But I knew the baby would be dropping things all over the place, so I devised an ingenious solution: I layered him in multiple full-body suits, with two too-large sets of footie pajamas on top (covering his hands and feet). Then I strapped him to my body (another source of warmth!) and kept his head warm by cupping my own gloved hands over his cranium while we watched the game.

The plan worked splendidly from the standpoint of protecting the baby from cold (as judging by his warm extremities, healthy pink color, lack of shivering, and evident contentedness). There was just one drawback. The police asked us to leave because “patrons were complaining” that my baby looked cold.

Since when do onlookers get to force a mom to parent the way THEY think she should? Since when do police enforce something like this?

Answers: 1) Since parenting became a spectator sport. And 2) Since the entire country became convinced that kids drop dead the second they are not in a 5-point harness in a late-model high chair in a climate-controlled living room with one parent teaching them phonics while the other prepares a snack of farmer’s market fruit. And bonus answer 3) Since some police now believe their job is to enforce parenting  norms, not just laws.

So good luck to all you parents out there. And remember: It’s winter. Do not leave the shower and walk straight outside without a towel. – L.

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Hurry! His hand is going to freeze off!

Put down the camera and save that ice-encased child! 

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80 Responses to “Your Baby Looks Cold. Please Leave the Football Game”

  1. chris December 1, 2016 at 8:26 am #

    I can relate. The local high school threatened to sic child protective services on my daughter if her 15-year son came to school without a coat again.
    He was 15! He refused to wear a coat. He capitulated under the threat of having their family smashed by the government for his sartorial decisions.

  2. BL December 1, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    I see that one of the other writers at the Federalist has coined the term “Black Helicopter Parents” (after the black helicopters rumored to be used by UN surveillance):

    “Take one part overprotective coddling cocoon-mom, one part suburban liberal worry-wart, one part nosy neighbor, and combine it with the unseen omnipresent eye of our do-it-yourself smartphone surveillance state, and presto: black helicopter parenting. Why just worry about your own kids’ every move when you can anonymously “look out” for others?”

  3. Donna December 1, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    Except that 100% of the black helicopter parents that I know are conservative. I know many liberal helicopter parents, but they’ll just talk about you, not call the police.

  4. Ater December 1, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    Shortly after my first was born, my husband and I had to make a trip to a hardware store in 20F weather. While we were there, baby had a poosplosion, so I had to toss his warm pajamas and make due with a little onsie, no pants or anything. I changed him and headed outside, and was immediately stopped by some old guy. “That’s an adorable baby,” he said, and I thanked him. “Can I have it?”

    Wait, what?

    He then lambasted me because I was “all bundled up” (I was wearing a hoodie, not exactly winter gear) and holding a “practically naked infant.” I tried to leave, but he pulled out his phone and threatened to call the cops. Meanwhile, the car was 20 feet away, my husband warming it up, and with a nice warm blanket that I could wrap him up in. What should have been a 10 second walk was turned into several minutes of shivering because some asshole decided he needed to butt in where he didn’t belong. Finally my husband noticed us and came out, and the guy walked away. I couldn’t do anything, I was just numb from the shock.

  5. Richard December 1, 2016 at 8:59 am #

    I had a security guard at a courthouse tell me, in unfriendly terms, that my daughter needed to be in a coat on a particular day. I am an attorney, and my wife is an attorney. One day I was off of work and dressed in “civilian” clothes and took our toddler daughter to visit her at the courthouse where she regularly practiced and where I rarely practiced. It was chilly out, but hardly freezing, and she was in a long sleeve shirt. The walk from the car to the door was probably about 100 yards, and I held her the whole time. When we got in, the security guard said that I needed to have my daughter in a coat. She was showing no discomfort and it was obviously reasonably warm inside. I told him that she was fine and got into the elevator to go see my wife. I was in the hallway with my wife and daughter a few minutes later and the security guard stepped off the elevator and came up to my wife, who he obviously knew but didn’t know me or our child, pointed at me and asked if I was her client. Again, his tone was unfriendly. I had not told my wife about him saying something to me downstairs. She said something that made it clear to him that I was her husband and not her client. He sheepishly walked away without saying anything further.

  6. Donna December 1, 2016 at 9:01 am #

    “The local high school threatened to sic child protective services on my daughter if her 15-year son came to school without a coat again.
    He was 15! He refused to wear a coat. He capitulated under the threat of having their family smashed by the government for his sartorial decisions.”

    The problem is that they capitulated. The school is highly unlikely to truly call CPS for this situation. If they did, CPS is NEVER going to remove a teenager from the custody of the parents because the teenager refuses to wear a coat. It is simply not going to happen. Irrational fear is irrational fear, whether it is of children being kidnapped while playing at the park or CPS taking children away for completely stupid reasons. Next time simply tell the school in a clear, strong voice “go ahead and call.”

    In general, I am against putting our children in the middle of our battles, but 15 is not a child and it is such a completely ridiculous threat that there is absolutely no risk of anything coming from it.

  7. Bridget December 1, 2016 at 9:05 am #

    Did she tell you her response to the police? I’d have said no.

  8. Liesbet Coppens December 1, 2016 at 9:11 am #

    I would probably be judged the worst mom ever if I lived in America. For us it is standard that I am dressed very warmly, and my kids uhm… not. Oftentimes they are outside in longsleeves, and I’m walking along with a warm winter coat. If I would be wearing what my kids wear, I would be freezing. But they take after their dad, and they’re JUST NOT COLD! I know them, I’ve been their mum for 6 and 4 years now, I know exactly when they are cold and when they are not. And I also keep asking them from time to time. But if they tell me they’re fine, I tend to believe them. Of course. They’re both old enough to tell me if they need anything…

  9. Jess December 1, 2016 at 9:12 am #

    I grew up in Michigan and never dried my hair before leaving for school. In winter, the walk from the car through the school doors would leave my wet hair frozen, but it always thawed/dried by third hour. I never got pneumonia, or the flu, and no one ever made any comments about it. I personally hate the too-warm feeling I get wearing all of my winter gear inside (like at the store or school) and would much rather brave the cold for the few seconds it takes to get inside, than be sweating by the time I leave. Also, my 5yo boy is still insisting on wearing shorts, even though there’s snow on the ground. No spoken judgments yet.

  10. Jess December 1, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    And yes, I’m curious too, as she doesn’t mention it in her article, but what did she do when the cop asked her to leave?

  11. Dee December 1, 2016 at 9:17 am #

    We live in Florida where “winter” is two days in January or February when the temp drops below 70. I think baby toes are cute, and their feet don’t really touch the ground anyway, so why do they need socks or shoes. So when I took care of my friend’s 6 month old, I didn’t bother with socks and let her little toes wiggle. We took her to the mall one day, and more than one woman found it necessary to tell us we needed to put shoes on that baby. Really? She’s in a stroller. She’s nowhere near walking stage (which should be done in bare feet anyway). We were perplexed by all the comments. A few weeks later, at the same mall, getting the same comments, my friend just looked the third person to comment in the eye and said, “You should mind your own business.” She felt liberated!

  12. Powers December 1, 2016 at 9:30 am #

    “Do the schoolmarms really think that THEY notice the change of season, but parents just put on their flip flops, head outside and wonder why their toes are turning purple? How come it’s so NORMAL to treat parents as idiots?”

    Oh please. This is just as melodramatic as the people you complain about are being. “Winter weather has arrived” is a bland introductory clause, setting the context for the information to follow. It’s not presented as breaking news or important information.

  13. mer December 1, 2016 at 9:37 am #

    My mom has been telling me for over 50 yrs “to put a coat on because she’s cold”. I’ve been chastised by my neighbors for walking the dogs, while wearing shorts in a foot of snow.

    Did the police actually charge her with anything?

  14. A Dad December 1, 2016 at 9:54 am #

    Definition: Blanket – It’s what my mom puts on me when she’s cold.

  15. librarian December 1, 2016 at 10:14 am #

    What strikes me is that schools (at least NYC schools) have semi-regular fire drills in the middle of winter, during which kids have to be outside for over 30 min without their coats (as, presumably, they won’t have time for this in case of real fire). So the kids stand outside, blue-lipped and shivering in below-freezing windy weather (and then do complain to their parents), but nobody is about to call CPS or threatens school with charges – evidently, in this case “you don’t catch cold by being cold” logic applies.
    So if the school gets a child cold (no coats for mid-winter fire drills) or sunburned (all those “no touching”, “no using other person’s sunscreen” etc. rules) that’s never a problem, but if a parent does the same, all the busybodies in the world are on their case….

  16. Donna December 1, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    I’m curious. Did she leave or tell the cop to bug off?

  17. Joan December 1, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    I’ve had the same thing happen. I had arrived early at Costco to avoid the crowd. I put my son in a shopping cart, wheeled it to the door, and arrived exactly 1 minute before opening. There were three people standing there. A woman told me disapprovingly “That child needs a coat.” “That child” was sitting there contentedly playing with a toy. She continued to stare at me disapprovingly for the next 60 seconds until the door opened.

  18. lollipoplover December 1, 2016 at 10:24 am #

    So the spectators were worried about a baby getting cold and making people feel uncomfortable and not the young brains hurling their bodies and violently smashing into each other down on the field? They can see blood and broken bones but fear…chilly?

  19. LF December 1, 2016 at 10:26 am #

    My husband and teen daughter seem to run warm, they consistently wear shorts in winter. Making her wear a coat in winter for short periods of time wasn’t worth it and did not bother me. I do want to add one point to this discussion that no one may be aware of: emergencies and drills happen on school campuses daily. Volunteering on a school’s emergency preparation committee I was able to see why schools ask for children to have coats, hats, and gloves with them at school. There are planned drills and unplanned events where children may be exposed to the outdoor elements for several hours. Can you imagine how upset a parent would be to find out their child had been standing in a cold rain for an hour without a jacket? I’ve seen it, even after parents were notified to be prepared for a planned drill. If there was a fire, gas leak, prank fire alarm, active shooter, earthquake, or chemical spill, your children will be outside awaiting further instruction. It may be 20 minutes it may be a day (catastrophic event), the schools want to make sure your children are warm and comfortable!

  20. Anne December 1, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    I have seen a recent trend in this direction at my kids’ elementary school. They still fortunately let them dress inappropriately for the weather at the middle school and high school level, but the elementary school (2nd to 5th grade) became much stricter in the years between my oldest and my youngest. My oldest was one of those kids who wore shorts every day until it was below freezing and then switched to lightweight pants and a hoodie. No one said anything when he was dressing that way in 5th grade, But a couple years later, a note was sent to all parents warning us that weather appropriate clothing would be enforced at the elementary school. Many moms received calls telling them to drop everything and immediately bring pants for their boys when it was in the upper 50s. The moms were not too happy. In our northern state, 50s in the spring sunshine feels warm to kids running around on the playground. Jackets also became a requirement. This is in addition to the usual “appropriate clothing” dress code, which requires shorts and skirts to be a certain length, no tank tops, and a call home to me because a strip of my 7-year-old daughter’s stomach could be seen when she lifted her arms, after a recent growth spurt.

  21. Coasterfreak December 1, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    I think I’ve mentioned around here before that once while carrying my youngest (as an infant) into daycare on a cold day (it was in the 20’s), his little hat slipped off and since it was only about 20 steps from the car to the daycare, I didn’t bother putting it back on. A lady came out of the daycare, saw that the baby’s had had fallen off and proceeded to scream at me about how my kid was going to die because all of the heat was escaping through the top of his head. I ignored her, but she was waiting for me when I came out to give me another round.

    The kid in question is 18 now, so I guess things turned out OK despite the crazy, screaming, busy body’s concerns about me being a bad dad.

  22. Kimberly December 1, 2016 at 11:44 am #

    It isn’t just parents/kids. As a teacher in Texas, I was threatened with being written up for supervising recess in upper 60s without a coat. Honestly I’ve gone swimming in similar weather on summer vacation in Canada.

    I remember my Mom explaining to teachers that I only needed a coat if it was in the low 50s and we were standing still outside for some reason. I dragged one to school with me every day that would get wear marks from being tied to my backpack/book rack on my bike. A neighbor around the corner from the school told my mom laughing that everyday I would stop in front of her house on my way to school and put on the blasted coat so not to get yelled at – then on the way home I would stop and shed it on the way home.

    On the flip side I tend to wear cotton long pants in the heat of Texas summer and people would tell my mom I was going to over heat/get heat stroke. The long pants protect my skin from the pollen (nasty contact allergy). I’ve had heat exhaustion once and that was in DC and because of a malfunctioning AC unit in a hotel. My sister and her kids can get heat stroke in bathing suits, so not a function of clothing.

  23. pentamom December 1, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    Powers, it’s the whole sentence. Adults not under some kind of supervised care don’t need reminders about winter weather. The phrase itself may be a throwaway but it’s part and parcel of the whole stupidly patronizing tone of the thing.

  24. pentamom December 1, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    As a practical matter, I do discourage my teenage kids from going out underdressed even in those “45 seconds from the car to the door” scenarios, because around here, cars do break down and get stuck. But I realize that’s not the larger point here.

  25. John B. December 1, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    Quote:

    “The police asked us to leave because ‘patrons were complaining’ that my baby looked cold.”

    Now that’s crazy. Obviously the police had ascertained that the kid was dressed warm enough and that should have been good enough. But I believe they were out of line in asking the family to leave just because everybody else there was falsely uncomfortable with the way the “baby looked”. This lady would have been well within her Constitutional rights to remain there.

  26. Roger the Shrubber December 1, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    My school district has parents screaming that school should be canceled when the AM temperature is below 15 degrees. I suggested to our superintendent that she issue such a letter on the use of winter clothing and when wearing such may be appropriate because it was evident that some parents were unaware of the benefits of hats, coats, gloves and scarves.

    Not that I would ever say anything, and absolutely never would I consider involving the police on such a matter, but when I see children and adults in obvious discomfort because they are woefully under dressed for the weather conditions, I question their intelligence that that of the parents who raised them.

  27. John B. December 1, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

    Quote:

    “The local high school threatened to sic child protective services on my daughter if her 15-year son came to school without a coat again.”

    @chris:

    You know, this is what really pees me off about American society when it comes to kids (minors). We treat them ALL like tender little snowflakes and cannot seem understand that a 15-year-old is quite a bit tougher and more tenacious than a 5-year-old.

  28. amy December 1, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    My outdoorsy family lived in Idaho during the first few months of my first child’s life, and it was routine for me to plop him in the “front pack” and go for a walk or hike. It was also routine for people to stop to tell me that either my baby was too warm or too cold (I’d sometimes get both suggestions within minutes of each other). My “favorite” was when a grown woman spoke to me in a teeny tiny baby voice….”Mamma, PLEASE take me home where it’s warm! I’m cooooold!!”

  29. Shawn D. December 1, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    My former in-laws had a neighbor who was originally from Germany. She said it was practice there to intentionally place babies outside in their strollers in cold weather, moderately bundled-up in order to boost their robustness. That’s a far cry from this situation!

  30. JulieH December 1, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    @Pentamom

    I worked out with my teen that she should always take a coat with her when going anywhere in the car because cars can break down. Don’t have to wear it, just need to have it available. That is just common sense in cold, snowy climates.

    I am always telling them “it is better to have and not need than need and not have” for those kinds of situations…just like my dad always told me.

  31. Qute December 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    pentamom “As a practical matter, I do discourage my teenage kids from going out underdressed even in those “45 seconds from the car to the door” scenarios, because around here, cars do break down and get stuck. But I realize that’s not the larger point here.”

    I’ve always had the same issue, Pentamom, but I usually end up weighing where we are going (how far away) against how long we will be there. If it felt it really was necessary I would insist that they BRING their coats but they were not required to wear them in the car or at the place if they really weren’t cold. This way, should catastrophe strike the coats were available but they didn’t have to swelter. 2 of the 3 boys seem to be human thermonuclear reactors and don’t ever appear cold until it hits single digits and even then it’s iffy. I, on the other hand, am a total freeze baby.

    You just have to make the best call you can for the situation and let it roll.

  32. BL December 1, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    “This lady would have been well within her Constitutional rights to remain there.”

    Yes, we have a right to bare arms! 🙂

  33. railmeat December 1, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    Some kids (many? dunno. Can only speak about mine) run warm. Had folks looked in on my toddler when she slept, they probably would have locked me up.

    She was in a crib in a nearly unheated room, without any blankets. Room was about 40 degrees F. We bundled her up, she kicked off the covers. This behavior was repeated several times, until we moved the crib to a warmer room. Now she’s awake, and fussy. Finally would fall asleep. Everyone was exhausted.

    So one night we left her in the cooler room for a bit, under surveillance, just to see what would happen. Within about 2 minutes off went the covers. We wait about 10 minutes while she was sleeping soundly, and then checked vital signs: Warm feet, warm hands, warm head, toasty everywhere else. Hum.

    So we give it another 30 minutes and check again. Same result. So we crash, set the alarm for 90 minutes, and turn the baby monitor up full blast. The alarm goes off and we check again. Same result.

    So, from then on we just let her sleep in a cold room. Worked like a charm. Slept through the night, happy as a clam, and as toasty warm as hot cocoa in front of the fire.

    The following summer, however, things were a bit different, as you might imagine.

  34. Molly S December 1, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Unbelievable. That is all.

  35. EricS December 1, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

    Well, for one thing, it’s not against the law. So the cops have no business telling parents to “leave, because the baby ‘looks’ cold”. These same sanctimonious, hyper-vigilant, and very paranoid adults are the ones that should be talked to by authorities. They impede the rights of others. These are also the same people who believe dogs think just like human beings. lol

    I would have told the cop, unless I’ve done something unlawful, my baby is just fine thank you. While you’re here, you might want to tell these busy bodies to mind their own business, and let others enjoy the game. If they decide to arrest me, I’ll just throw a law suit against the police department. Again, not a litigious person. But it seems law suits are one of the few things that people take very seriously. And makes them think twice about doing things they know they aren’t supposed to be doing.

    Speak up and stand up for yourself and yours. DO NOT LET THESE IDIOTS BE NORMALIZED. It’s how we are where we are today. Especially with parenting.

  36. Backroads December 1, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    Well, I actually did witness an incident some years ago where another class at my school (2nd grade) was heading in mid-winter to a snowy outdoor nature centers in the mountains for a field trip. One mother did freak out when her son called her to bring him some snow gear. Because she didn’t know we were supposed to bring appropriate weather attire to an outdoor snow extraganza in the mountains. Because the teachers didn’t think that needed to be actually spelled out on the field trip letter.

  37. MichelleB December 1, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    So do you parent based on what’s appropriate and how well it works, or based on what strangers are going to think? (I’m still trying to figure out the answer to that one)

    We live in Oregon. I haven’t owned a warm winter coat in years. On the rare day when I need one, I grab an old coat of my husband’s out of the closet. My kids refuse to wear coats. If the temperature is freezing, I keep them in the car, just in case. It’s very rare that they actually wear one.

    When the kids were younger, we had friends who were originally from California. One mom would try to put her spare jacket on ME at the playground because it was 60 degrees.

  38. James December 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

    I got a grim laugh out of the concept of “parenting as a spectator sport”. It’s actually worse, though. No one expects the quarterback of a football team to listen to the arm-chair QBs yelling how he should play the game. In contrast, everyone expects parents to obey those who criticize their parenting.

    Three additional things jump out at me about this:

    1) Apparently no one had the common courtesy to talk with the mother prior to going to the police. If they had, they would have realized that the mother had taken all due precautions, and probably have seen that the baby was just fine. Instead, these people immediately went to authorities to complain about the woman’s behavior. That is absurd. We are adults, and one of the responsibilities of being an adult is handling your own problems. This doesn’t have to be a huge confrontation, either–just going up to her and saying “I thought your baby might be cold; would you like to use my blanket?” would be sufficient. It shows that you’re concerned and offers a real solution without being confrontational.

    2) The police believed the people complaining about the woman’s behavior, and not the mother herself. We can assume that a mother knows her children better than a stranger would; after all, the mother spends time with her children. And different children have different capacity to handle cold, based on metabolism, body size (a scrawny kid is usually colder than a beefy one–trust me on this!), and acclimation. All of this can be determined by walking up to the woman and saying “Ma’am, some concerned folks asked me to talk to you. Is your baby warm enough? Can I get him a blanket or something?” (Most squad cars I’ve encountered have blankets for use in emergencies, to keep victims of car crashes, fires, etc warm.) I can see the police looking into this as a way to get annoying busy-bodies to shut up (“All right, all right! I’ll go talk to her! Just stop pestering me!”), but to fail to actually see if the baby is in reality in any danger is simply a failure on the police officer’s part to do his job. This police officer allowed noisy busy-bodies to dictate how he responded to this situation, and that’s not just wrong, it’s DANGEROUS.

    3) Both the busy-bodies and the cop failed to offer to help the woman. The solution both offered was to kick her out of the event. Which is simply pathetic. Why should this mother–and her children–suffer because busy-bodies can’t mind their own business?

  39. Betsy in Michigan December 1, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

    There’s a whole lot of stupid going on regarding appropriate outdoor gear, on both ends. At my son’s charter school, in MICHIGAN, the little snowflakes aren’t allowed outside recess if the temperatures are below the low 20’s. Trust me, as a child growing up in the state, no child ever experienced frostbite from recess. When I pull up stats and nonprofit groups etc. about how important unstructured outdoor time is, I am told that we have kids who can’t afford really warm outdoor clothing, yet if admin tries to offer them something (like, I’d run a coat drive in a minute!), they get offended. I get that 60% of the kids are eligible for free and reduced lunches, but there are boots and coats galore at any Salvation Army. I think a large part of the problem is simply lack of common sense in understanding the need for appropriate gear. A couple of years ago locally there was a young man who died walking alongside a road after a winter party. Sheriff said the outcome would have been different if he’d had a coat. SO if you are one of those folks (for sensory reasons, one assumes) who wears shorts and no coat when it’s 20 degrees out, do, as Pentamom suggests, keep a coat in your car at all times.

    This school supposedly tries to address the whole child by encouraging and teaching healthy eating, reduced screen time, and exercise, but we are raising a generation of kids (in the north, no less!) to be afraid of the winter outdoors (hence all the busybodies telling folks how to dress their kids!). People who have to park right next to the mall to go in. Truly, if the rest of the package there wasn’t working for for us at the moment, we would leave over this unresolvable issue. I have had to take my kid for a walk around the block after school sometimes (if there’s no snow to play in)!

    Children will tell you if they are too cold at recess and need to go in. Simple as that.

  40. Katie December 1, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

    As far as not leaving the shower and walking outside in 30 degree (and once -2 c) weather I have done that in both Iceland and Hungary at the bathouses. It was a great experience. Average Americans (and Canadiens) prefer to overcompensate for their wimpyness with pointless oversized gas guzzler SUVS.

  41. lollipoplover December 1, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

    “Some kids (many? dunno. Can only speak about mine) run warm.”

    We called our hot tamales because they weren’t cold and stayed active enough to shed jackets. Indoors, we find it healthier for all of us to limit the heater (we mostly rely on a woodburning fireplace with blower that heats the house when we need it, and we use zone heat upstairs to only turn that on to warm up on cold nights. I like windows open and fresh air and our house temperature is quite cold, the way we all like it.

    Babies like fresh air, too! It makes them sleep better, I swear. I cannot believe someone complained to the police. At a football game. They’re children, not nuclear bombs. Sheesh.

  42. Andrea December 1, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    You forgot one: 4) Since the country has concluded that parents don’t care about their own children.

  43. Jessica December 1, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    BL–
    That was a serious Dad Joke, but I’m cracking up. Made my day.

  44. Reziac December 1, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

    I get the same things with my dogs. “It’s so cold, that dog should not be outdoors!” Meanwhile the dog is wallowing belly-down in the snow, because in the dog’s opinion it’s too warm out here and the snow is just right.

    Plenty of kids like that too.

    In Russia, a lot of schoolkids (along with their teachers) do a daily recess outdoors in winter — wearing nothing but swimsuits and pouring water on each other in below-zero weather. They believe it makes kids grow up stronger, and they’re probably right.

  45. BL December 1, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

    @Betsy in Michigan
    “At my son’s charter school, in MICHIGAN, the little snowflakes aren’t allowed outside recess if the temperatures are below the low 20’s. Trust me, as a child growing up in the state, no child ever experienced frostbite from recess.”

    My earlier years were also in Michigan, and more than once I walked to school in -20F weather. I didn’t have very far to walk, but some of my classmates walked 5-6 blocks at least. After school and on weekends we’d be out in the same weather building snowforts and sledding.

  46. Jane December 1, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

    I can assure you that Blackhawk helicopter parenting is universally found among liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, etc. You can’t generalize.

  47. Barry Lederman December 1, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

    “Oh please. This is just as melodramatic as the people you complain about are being. “Winter weather has arrived” is a bland introductory clause, setting the context for the information to follow. It’s not presented as breaking news or important information.”

    I disagree with POWERS comment on Lenore’s intro. Winter weather has arrived is indeed a bland introductory clause as you state. However, you left out the rest of the sentence, “Winter weather has arrived, and it’s time for a reminder about appropriate winter attire.”

    The bland introduction was not the problem. What the introduction was introducing is the problem. The fact the school deemed it appropriate to remind adults about appropriate winter attire is the problem. If the letter went on to detail appropriate winter attire, then its an even worse problem.

  48. pentamom December 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

    Qute, fair enough. But even if we’re stuck two blocks from home (which has happened to me), and i need you to help me push/shovel the car out or whatever, I need you to be properly dressed so I don’t have one extra thing to worry about, and so we can get the job done. If it’s <20F, "running warm" is not going to be good enough. And this is a common enough event (every year or two) that it's not worst-first thinking, it's just being prepared for a realistic possibility.

    That said, I'd be fine with "you don't have to wear it, you just have to take it" if they ever actually resisted putting the coat on But I haven't had a lot of resistance, I just get a knee-jerk "but you're just dropping me off" reaction, and when I point out that something could happen that would make them regret not dressing more warmly, they'll agree and put on the coat.

  49. BL December 1, 2016 at 4:06 pm #

    “The fact the school deemed it appropriate to remind adults about appropriate winter attire is the problem. If the letter went on to detail appropriate winter attire, then its an even worse problem.”

    Of course, schools know better than we do about dressing in cold weather:

    http://www.freerangekids.com/obeying-protocol-school-keeps-girl-outside-in-5-degrees-in-wet-bathing-suit/

    (rolls eyes and shakes head)

  50. Tina December 1, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

    My kids only really wear winter coats to play in the snow or if we are doing something outside in the winter. I once had a principal not let my kids out for recess in October. We live in Ma. She said it was because it was too cold for Columbia Fleece jackets. The needed winter coats. When I said that I knew what they were wearing and it was more than warm enough. She went on to insist that it was extra cold at the school because the school was built on tbe higest point in the city and they would be freezing. I then informed her that yes I am aware of where the school was located since I lived across the street. And that the kids were playing outside with all their friends as we were speaking. She ended the conversation pretty quickly after that.

  51. James December 1, 2016 at 5:54 pm #

    Reziac: My cousin has a Siberian Husky, and I have an Alaskan Malamute. Once the temperature dips below 30 degrees F, these dogs will rip out the doorframe to get outside–they love it!!! If someone says “It’s cold, those dogs should be inside” my immediate conclusion is that the speaker is too ignorant of dogs for me to take their opinions seriously. Some dogs were simply bred to be outside in the cold. Then again, considering the number of people who are absolutely amazed that my dogs sit when told to sit (no joke–it’s happened in three states!), my default is to assume people know nothing about dogs until proven otherwise.

    Regarding wearing a coat to the car: If it’s cold, I always do. But it has nothing to do with the car breaking down. My lifestyle is such that I’m never 100% sure what I’ll be doing once I get to my destination. Even if I’m going into the office for work, there’s a fair chance I’ll have to run out to some jobsite and need a coat. At home, it’s even more likely–it’s extremely common for friends and relatives to view me coming over as an opportunity to get some work done (which I take as a good thing; I enjoy helping people and take it as a sign they view me as a friend, not a guest). So if it’s cold enough that I wouldn’t want to work outside without a coat I bring a coat, just to be sure I have it. This has nothing to do with worst-first thinking; it’s just being prepared for likely activities once you get to your destination.

  52. James Pollock December 1, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

    “Well, for one thing, it’s not against the law. So the cops have no business telling parents to “leave, because the baby ‘looks’ cold””
    Take a closer look at the rules for the stadium; you’ll find that you generally can be ejected for making the people near you uncomfortable. It’s probably not invoked much against people who aren’t breaking a law, since it’s usually fans who want to fight other people, or the publicly drunken people, who get tossed. But you can get tossed if the baby is fine and awake, but won’t stop screaming.

    ” If they decide to arrest me, I’ll just throw a law suit against the police department.”
    It’s fairly unlikely that the stadium has actual, on-duty cops working inside the stadium. The more usual case is that the stadium hires off-duty police to work as stadium security. They don’t have any power of arrest, but they DO have authority to eject people from the stadium. That said, some college games have state police, whose primary job is to keep the fans from storming the field after the game… they tend to cause damage to the VERY expensive playing field and goalposts aren’t cheap, either. If anyone gets actually arrested at the stadium, it’s usually because the stadium security attempt to remove someone, and the someone gets violent about it. If you get violent about being removed from the game, the disorderly conduct charge is probably going to stick. If you go quietly, you won’t get arrested, just ejected.

  53. Rachael December 1, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

    People only judge what they see. They can’t see the layers of clothing, only the outer one. And the baby had no hat on. I’m willing to bet that was what set people off. We were all raised to think that babies have to have a warm hat on if it’s less than 72 degrees and if it’s over 75 they better be wearing a sun hat.

  54. Diane L December 1, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

    Oh, thank goodness James showed up to tell us total idiots about the law. It’s pretty interesting that Donna and Richard, and whoever else on this site is an attorney, have the ability to comment without needing to school us in what we said that was wrong.

  55. Beth December 1, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

    @ “normal” James, I have a Husky/Malamute nix. I used to work a schedule in which I was home during the day a couple days a week, and you would not believe the people that came to my door in the winter to tell me my dog should be inside. They had no way of knowing how long he’d been out, they could see his breed, and still felt it was important to ring my bell and lecture me on appropriate dog ownership.

    What gets me about the school letters is this: the school has no problem sending all kids home at the end of the day, for weekends, and for school vacations. Yet somehow they believe that all parents are incompetents who can’t function unless they get letters from school telling them what to do? It’s inconsistent…or… are all teachers and administrators worrying all weekend about kids playing outside without a coat?

  56. sdw December 1, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

    I remember my Mongolian wife remarking one spring morning “Its not cold outside now! Its -12C!”

  57. lollipoplover December 1, 2016 at 9:34 pm #

    “Since parenting became a spectator sport”

    My youngest biked to school today with her friend (both 10) like she’s done most days since kindergarten without incident. It was colder, but they rarely wear coats, just a hoodie.

    But today on their ride home, a car slowed and took pictures of them. They biking on and never spoke to the driver, who did say something to them. After reading these posts, I’m more worried about being reported for nonsense like “kids looked cold” than creepers trying to steal my kids.
    So I just called the non-emergency police line to report the car, just in case they try to report our kids as endangered. Can never be to careful with busybodies….

  58. James Pollock December 2, 2016 at 1:06 am #

    Oh, thank goodness Diane showed up to tell us which commentor she doesn’t like, and which ones she does. That’s the sort of contribution that really enhances the conversation and moves things forward.

    ” the ability to comment without needing to school us in what we said that was wrong.”
    Really?
    Review the comment from December 1, 9:01am.

    “So I just called the non-emergency police line to report the car, just in case they try to report our kids as endangered. Can never be to careful with busybodies”
    In this case, YOU are the one who called the police to report non-criminal actions because they did something you don’t approve of. YOU are the busybody in the story. Irony?

  59. sexhysteria December 2, 2016 at 2:49 am #

    After all, most parents are over 70 and senile, so they don’t realize what to wear or how to dress their kids for the season.

  60. test December 2, 2016 at 2:53 am #

    @Donna “Irrational fear is irrational fear, whether it is of children being kidnapped while playing at the park or CPS taking children away for completely stupid reasons. Next time simply tell the school in a clear, strong voice “go ahead and call.”

    I think that in this case it is more of lack of knowledge and thus lack of confidence on the side of parent. The school is taking advantage of that – possibly intentionally. Most parents dont know what CPS can or can not do. It is hard to be confident in such situation (and people who tend to be confident in such situations tend to be oftentimes wrong).

  61. James Pollock December 2, 2016 at 5:55 am #

    “I think that in this case it is more of lack of knowledge and thus lack of confidence on the side of parent. The school is taking advantage of that – possibly intentionally. Most parents dont know what CPS can or can not do. It is hard to be confident in such situation (and people who tend to be confident in such situations tend to be oftentimes wrong)”

    I think you’re both right. There is a subset of the American public which has a fear of CPS because they SHOULD have a fear of CPS… their parenting is or has been so poor that the agency would be right to take an interest in their family. This is often associated with either mental illness or substance abuse or both (or, of course, of being so tired of your child’s other parent’s lack of involvement that just leaving them in the park and driving away seems like a good idea.) That’s a rational fear.
    For people who aren’t poor parents, there’s a possibility that some combinations of circumstances might make it look enough like bad parenting… your kid has bad luck, falls down, and breaks his third bone in a six-month period. That’s going to get CPS’s attention, even if you are a terrific parent. There’s a danger in such a situation that CPS might see the injuries, and not see it as a string of accidents. That’s a rational fear, too… but it would only be rational IF you had that string of circumstances.
    It’s irrational if you are a good parent, and your friends and family and your child’s teachers and sports coaches and whatnot can see that, to worry that CPS is going to take your kid(s) away. OK, so it’s an irrational fear… so what? Well, if that irrational fear keeps you from doing something you otherwise would… it’s a problem. If that irrational fear lets someone take advantage of you… it’s a problem.
    The first step in overcoming an irrational fear is recognizing it as irrational. That doesn’t magically make it go away, of course, but it does give you the first steps towards fighting it.
    It *IS* possible that a stranger could abduct your kids. That possibility is so horrifying to some people, that they overlook how unlikely it is. The worst part is the feeling of powerlessness… if it WERE to happen, there’s not much you can do about it. Yowza. Ditto for good parents having their kids taken by CPS… it COULD happen, and if it did, it would be horrible… but the odds are so low, there’s “better” things to worry about, by which I mean things you can do that actually make a significant difference (Like making sure the child safety seats are properly installed in your car.)
    Yes, people will absolutely take advantage of you if you don’t know how real a danger is. Some of them are scammers, who want to separate you from some of your wealth. Some of them are bureaucrats who just want you to do whatever makes their lives easier. Some of them are busybodies who want to overrule your decisions and replace them with their own… and, infuriatingly, in some small number of cases they’re actually right to do so. (For example, if you are at the parade and some random stranger tells you “you should put on sunscreen”, even though you feel fine, it’s probably the case that you are turning red already. It’s possible that the busybody knows something that you don’t. To use a fictional example, when Sheriff Brody tells everybody to get out of the water on Amity Beach, it isn’t that he’s against tourists having fun in the surf. On the other hand, that fact that Sheriff Brody knows there’s a dangerous killer shark in the water doesn’t necessarily mean that all those people in the water don’t know it, too. In the movie, Brody yells “get out of the water” instead of “there’s a dangerous shark”. You’d probably get the same results… people deciding to enjoy the beach from the dry side… but it would be their decision to do so, not some authority figure telling them what to do.

  62. Bartimaeus December 2, 2016 at 6:33 am #

    “Winter is coming.”

    I’ve always wanted to say that.

  63. Jessica December 2, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    Am I the only person who leaves the coats IN the car? We live in Texas, and we leave a hooded sweatshirt (that’s about as heavy as you need for 90% of the year) for each person in the family vehicle. No need to wear it to and from the house, and no need for it IN the car – we only need it once we’ve gotten somewhere.

    I worry about all the kids I see arriving at my kids’ daycare in big heavy jackets. We have a drop off lane, so they’re walking about 15 feet from the car door to the school door. You’re not supposed to wear those jackets in the car in a carseat! It’s way more dangerous, it messes up the straps and makes it so if you get in an accident, the kid will be more likely to be ejected from the carseat. The heaviest thing my kids are allowed to wear in their carseat is a thin sweatshirt – not that they need it, because the car has heat.

    So when we get to school, they carry their jacket in. I don’t understand making them stand outside the car to put the jacket on to walk 15 feet and take it off (cause the school is plenty warm) or wearing it in the car and risking their life!

  64. Kirsten December 2, 2016 at 10:12 am #

    This is nuts! Though I will say that I’ve heard stories of the “Old Lady Hat Brigade” tormenting parents for generations over their infants’ lack of hat. I.e., I don’t think this one is new at all. On the other hand, making someone leave due to someone else’s ill-advised opinion about them is very now.

  65. Angela December 2, 2016 at 10:20 am #

    I am so glad no one has ever made comments about my children’s winter dress. My whole family runs warm – our furnace is set to 60 overnight and 65 during the day, and when Hubby and I slept in the unheated attic we often woke to our breath making clouds in the air. The kids prefer layering multiple shirts and a zip-up hoody over wearing winter coats; they always had coats to use if they were necessary, and I keep multiple blankets in the trunk of my car. My little one was 4 years old one February in Wisconsin, playing at a park with siblings and friends, and came home without her shoes. She had taken them off at the park and forgotten them, completely oblivious to the cold.
    I have had people complain about my dogs, though. Blue was a mostly-black dog, and it was a very warm summer day. I took all that into account, though, and made sure to walk him in an area where there are fountains and pools friendly to puppy antics. He was soaking wet, frolicking around me with his tongue lolling happily out of his mouth, when someone complained how ‘hot’ he looked. I shook my head and continued on.

  66. Steve December 2, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    When I was a kid I very rarely got cold outside, and I was usually just barely dressed. Kids’ metabolisms are firing away, keeping them warm. They’re fine.

    Now that I’m (just a little) older I’m not so blessed. But I still rarely wear a coat if my wife and I are going out and I know it’s a short walk from the car to the door. My wife doesn’t understand it, but a few seconds of cold never hurt anybody. And it never will.

  67. Puzzled December 2, 2016 at 11:15 am #

    This is weird. If you make people leave with whom you disagree, you won’t have anyone to look at and feel superior.

  68. DispatchaD December 2, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    Funny but this reminded me of a story my parents told me about my being a fairly newborn baby in March of 1974 in new england……my parents house was in sight of a restaurant they liked so they bundled me up and had me in my carriage and they walked over…..someone stopped them and scolded them for bringing a baby out for a walk like that. Call me crazy but my mom went almost a month pay her due date with me and i was just shy of 11 lbs….i think mom deserved dinner made for her and i can only hope thats exactly what they told the busybody…..

  69. Roger the Shrubber December 2, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    James is making me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps he will now argue the opposite – why my feelings should have no bearing on his ability to comment here.

    Katie – ‘Average Americans (and Canadiens) prefer to overcompensate for their wimpyness with pointless oversized gas guzzler SUVS.’

    Good god, Katie. Somehow you always shoehorn in your anti-SUV rant. You may be surprised to know that the crowd here that doesn’t respect those who feel the right to instruct us on how to parent also have little respect for those who feel the need to tell us what kind of vehicles we should be allowed to drive. Go choke on the exhaust of some diesel-powered 10-passenger behemoth.

  70. diane December 2, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

    @Jessica, I’m in Texas, too. I don’t leave hoodies in the car for everyone, but I’m pretty strict about travelling with water in the car during the summer months especially. Nothing like breaking down on the side of the road in 100 degree weather and having nothing to drink. Must be left over from a childhood in which we always were in old, broken-down cars, lol!

  71. Catherine Caldwell-Harris December 2, 2016 at 5:32 pm #

    In late november New England, cold and pouring rain, my twin 6 year old boys would not put on their shoes after finishing Karate class, where bare feet are required on the mat. How many times do I have to ask them? When my entreaties fail, my method is to let the kids learn from natural consequences. “Ok, time to go to the car.” And the kids ran barefoot across a parking lot. It was a far way to run in darkness and rain. By the time they got to the car, they were whimpering about their cold feet.

    Yay!

    The hardest part for me was the fear that a busybody would call the police; I worried that onlookers would see me as an unfit parent for “letting” my kids run barefoot in the rain.

    But no one did, this time.

    My kids will learn to wear shoes because it keeps their feet warm, not because I strong-armed them into it.

  72. Jenny Islander December 3, 2016 at 2:58 am #

    I know a guy with frostbite scars on his cheeks and ears because the high school announced the dangers of frostbite on every single frostbite day but showing up dressed for the weather was uncool. You had to look like the kids in California to be cool. For him, at 16 or 17, that meant a baseball cap and a jacket, not a parka and certainly not a ski mask. We had open campus at lunchtime then, so he walked 20 minutes down the hill to get some fast food, bolted it down, and walked 20 minutes back up the hill–and by the time he got there parts of his cheeks and ears were frozen.

    Did the parents sue? No they did not. Did the school fire anybody or go after the parents? No they did not. Did the police get involved? Of course not! He was warned of the consequences of his actions, and he experienced them.

    And he didn’t pick up any more frostbite scars either.

  73. Frustrated High School Teacher December 3, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

    I agree this is all crazy. Just more of the same insanity that Lenore comes up with. Keep it up Lenore.

    However, I’d like to take a moment to address Katie and her comments about SUVs

    I will not deny the fact that many Americans drive SUVs as status symbols. And, I will agree, if that’s why the bought it, they’re stupid. However, they are also purchased for very practical reasons. I see many being used by companies for hauling equipment, supplies, etc. for their business, helping keep our economy going.

    For me, I own one because I am trained under the National Incident Management System. My vehicle is equipped with multiple two-way radios, and other supplies for ground search and rescue operations, ground disaster relief response, or to act as mobile Incident Command Post. Oh, and the cost of the vehicle and modifications, it’s up-keep, and most of that equipment and supplies (except the radios) have been paid out of my own pocket. Why? Because I believe giving back to my community, state, and Nation is just something you should do.

    So, if you are ever in Texas, and your hotel, or home you are visiting, gets hit with a tornado, I’ll bet you’re happy I show up in by big “gas-guzzler”, filled with all those supplies, and half-dozen other people (mostly 12-18 year-olds) who give up their time and money to help you.

    So, just like you snipe (appropriately) at the busy-bodies in this story for not minding their own business about a not cold baby, I’m going to snipe (appropriately) at you for your busy-body, over generalization deriding of SUV owners.

  74. bluebird of bitterness December 3, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

    How things have changed. I’m so old I can remember the days when the teachers FORCED us to go outside for recess (which lasted an hour!) no matter how cold it was. This was back in the days when girls had to wear dresses to school, so on cold winter days our legs froze. (No matter how warm your winter coat was, it couldn’t do anything for your exposed legs.) The boys, meanwhile, were having a blast building snow forts and having snowball fights. When the bell rang and it was time to go back inside, the boys didn’t want to go because they were having too much fun, but the girls couldn’t wait to go back inside and thaw out.

  75. BL December 4, 2016 at 8:50 am #

    @bluebird of bitterness
    “This was back in the days when girls had to wear dresses to school, so on cold winter days our legs froze. (No matter how warm your winter coat was, it couldn’t do anything for your exposed legs.)”

    Where was this? In Michigan, they used to let the girls bring snowpants for recess.

  76. Beth December 4, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    a) I want to know how Katie managed to get to Iceland without using any gas.

    b) I went to school in the dark ages of girls always having to wear dresses. I don’t remember snowpants for walking to school (just for playing outside) but I do remember wearing regular pants under my dress for the walk to and front. Of course the pants came off during the school day, because zomg girls in pants???????), but we did wear them for recess.

  77. Neil M December 5, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    To follow-up on what EricS said, any time the police try to pressure you into doing *anything* is a good time to ask them if you have done something illegal. If they say “no”, ask them if you may end the encounter (by leaving, turning away, etc.). If they say you may not, you are in custody and thus may remain silent, request an attorney, etc. Police will then either decide to seek easier prey or to arrest you, but, let’s face it: if a police officer has a notion to arrest you there’s no talking your way out of it, and he/she probably made that decision before ever talking to you.

  78. Qute December 5, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    pentamom December 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm #
    Qute, fair enough. But even if we’re stuck two blocks from home (which has happened to me), and i need you to help me push/shovel the car out or whatever, I need you to be properly dressed so I don’t have one extra thing to worry about, and so we can get the job done. If it’s <20F, "running warm" is not going to be good enough.

    It's called lesson learned LOL! Truly it is.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative but living in the snowbelt and getting unpredictable snow squalls off of the great lakes which can dump several inches in a hour without warning I know all about getting stuck places. And have had to enlist help from the boys to get us to where we were going. Have you ever seen a teenager overheat in 15*F temperatures and eight inches of snow in less than 15 minutes? I have. Because I insisted he couldn't possibly be warm in what he was wearing and he went out to shovel the van from the driveway where it had gotten moored because of city snowplows. So he listened to me because I'm mom and he's a good kid and does what he's told. He had to come back in fifteen minutes later, with the job less than quarter done and he was pouring through with sweat, not from exertion but from the coat I made him put on. He came in to strip down, put on dry clothes (because living in this environment he knew that being outside and soaking wet was potentially dangerous). He went back outside dressed the way HE felt comfortable and then came back in an hour later, slightly chilly but not dripping wet with sweat. If my son says he's comfortable then he's comfortable and I have to trust him on that.

    I WILL argue ear coverage and gloves in prolonged exposure (such as digging out the 2 foot high snow damn because of city plows) but I trust the kids I raised to be square with me to dress themselves appropriately. If one of the boys says he's comfortable and I don't believe him then what does that say about me as a parent on a multitude of levels? It says I suck and I don't trust myself as a parent nor do I trust my kids. And if he gets cold then he's learned what his limits and tolerances are.

  79. fishydude December 9, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    When we lived in MA, I saw kids standing out waiting for the bus in -10°F weather without a coat and just a short sleeve shirt on. Damn fools were more concerned with looking cool than being dead from hypothermia. Not mention that many of these kids didn’t have lockers at school and would have to haul everything around all day.
    But these busy body parents are a product of the ‘rebel’ generation who, once in control of education, demanded conformity and submission to government. And now that someone they hate is going to be at the head of that government they are throwing temper tantrums.
    It is all related.

  80. James Pollock December 11, 2016 at 12:32 am #

    ” these busy body parents are a product of the ‘rebel’ generation who, once in control of education”

    Make up your mind which generation you’re talking about. parents of children entering grade school are between about 21 and 40, whereas the people in control of education tend to be over 50.