Put your coat on. Take your coat, honey; it’s cold outside. It’s freezing — where’s your coat?
Through the ages and stages of parenting, there’s been one constant in our household: My desire for my son to wear his coat in the winter, and his desire not to.
I know I’m not alone. I’ve exchanged stories of jacket battle fatigue with parents of every-aged child. The morning arguments with a darling preschooler or a stubborn fourth-grader, the consistency of the forgetting powers of a tween, the grumpiness of an older kid when they realize that, my goodness, it is cold after all.
I wanted to understand the psychology behind these daily battles — the cognitive or other barriers that might be preventing my child from seeing the eminent logic of my position on this. So I went to Tina Grotzer, who brings three relevant perspectives to the discussion. She is an expert on children’s understanding of causality — loosely, cause and effect — and on how that understanding informs their decision-making in a complex world. She is a cognitive scientist and a teacher with a background in developmental psychology. And, between her kids and step-kids, she's helped raise four children.