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Help - 5 yr old DS refuses to wear any of his clothes - is he controlling me and how do I stop it???

(21 Posts)
FBmum Wed 19-Aug-09 10:50:20

I am completely stuck as to what to do next. 5 yr old DS started to complain that he didn't like his trousers or shorts about a month ago - he said they felt funny if he stretched his legs and he only wanted tracksuit trousers. I accommodated this (possibly my first mistake) and bought him tracksuit shorts. He then progressed onto refusing to wear any of his tshirts or tops if they rose up when he lifted his arms up. Yesterday, at the end of my tether, I took him to Asda and bought him SIZE 9-10 tshirts, which he tried on there and said he was happy with. This morning, he is refusing to wear any of the shorts or new tshirts. I am refusing to help him find something to wear (as there isn't anything he will happily wear!) and our normally happy little life has disintegrated into tears, shouting, ignoring and a general battle of wills. I realise I have probably contributed to this by getting him new clothes, but his behaviour seems to be all about control, attention and is a bit too close to OCD for my liking. Please - any advice???? sad

SolidGoldBrass Wed 19-Aug-09 10:53:12

It's hot and sunny and he is only five. Cover him in sunscreen and let him go naked. This may be what he wants and he will get bored with it - or it may be that winding you up is what he wants and this method will show him the wind up is not working - and he will get bored with it.

edam Wed 19-Aug-09 10:55:02

SGB is right. Some children are particularly sensitive to texture, btw, so he could be right about finding clothes uncomfortable.

coolpersephone Wed 19-Aug-09 11:00:51

Agree~put him in loose boxer shorts,say you understand clothes feel annoying sometimes but it usually wears off.
I do feel your pain though ~ my ds became irritated by various things at that age,shoes/trainers/clothes/tickets/sand on feet/sand in trainers/dirty trainers etc etc it was difficult.

Even now he has a tendency to machine wash great big adult sized trainers!

FBmum Wed 19-Aug-09 11:03:10

Thanks - I am trying that - we are outside and he keeps asking me to get him dressed - I am just saying "no, I got you dressed already and you took them off, so now you have to sort yourself out" - he is getting mad and trying to hit me out of frustration - I will keep on with it - luckily we don't have to go anywhere today....!

GypsyMoth Wed 19-Aug-09 11:03:44

Dear lord!! You are the adult, take control and nip this in the bud NOW. What you going to do when school goes back? Pander to him then again? You'll just have to show him you mean business

FBmum Wed 19-Aug-09 11:06:45

I agree, non-daily mail reader, but how do I nip it in the bud? I am not prepared to physically force the clothes on him as he would take them off again anyway - and I have tried the "stay in your room until you are dressed " thing very receptive to all advice!

coolpersephone Wed 19-Aug-09 11:06:45

You do need to be in charge butin a kind non threatening way ~ because if anxiety is at the root of the behaviour you might make it much worse.

coolpersephone Wed 19-Aug-09 11:11:50

Try to take the battle out of it.Tell him you are not at all cross,but you would like him to get dressed to go out[think of alluring idea]

Ask him to dress himself [while you wait in the kitchen or whatever[not cross]]then you can go to town and /or the park/spend his pocket money etc

Stay pleasant and calm and wait to see what happens,if he gets dressed,move on quickly to the outing and don't go on about it.

SpawnChorus Wed 19-Aug-09 11:13:56

Not quite the same, as my DS is only just three, but he is also kicking up a huge fuss about wearing any clothes, and especially pants and socks.

I've tried letting him choose what to wear, but that hasn't helped.

Yesterday I managed to call his bluff and said that if he didn't get dressed he'd have to go out naked. I then stood outside the front door preparing to go while he grumbled. He eventually caved in and dressed himself (still no socks though).

It's a bloody pain though, and I'm dreading next week (back to morning starts for Nursery).

Tortington Wed 19-Aug-09 11:16:13

its about bribery negotiation

you get dressed - you get something in return

GooseyLoosey Wed 19-Aug-09 11:24:30

Never had this, but think I would just leave him to it. If he gets dressed you can go out and have fun. If he doesn't you will have to stay in the house - mummy will read a good book and drink tea while he gets bored. Absolutely no more new clothes would be forthcomming. Wouldn't make any more of an issue of it though in case there is an underlying problem - would wait and see if he can wear his existing clothes without any difficulties.

edam Wed 19-Aug-09 11:32:08

aw, I'd help him get dressed personally. No point stringing the argument out. But I'm possibly a soft touch.

logi Wed 19-Aug-09 11:46:35

My son is (5 possibly ASD) and he doesnt like to wear clothes at home he only wears pants ,he takes his trousers off at any opportunity.we only buy him soft clothes and no longer bother with pj s the only clothes he dosent mind are t-shirts...he also doesnt like his hair being brushed.I would ignore it as much as possible,when your at home it doesnt really matter.

FBmum Wed 19-Aug-09 11:47:03

Thanks for all your advice - he is NOW DRESSED (yay!) but only after I agreed (calmly-through gritted teeth) that if he agreed to wear what we bought yesterday, I would help him. Tempers still fractious though - he is now taking it out on 3 yr old DD - I definitely do need to nip this in the bud though, but I need to be calm to do it - I feel really exhausted right now!!

edam Wed 19-Aug-09 11:51:19

Hurrah! Know what you mean about being exhausted by battle with bloody-minded child, though. You need to have a plan in case it happens again.

GrapefruitMoon Wed 19-Aug-09 12:03:04

Is it a 5 yr old thing? Mine currently will only wear tracksuit bottoms (not keen on them but can live with it) and only 2 particular pairs of shorts. We are about to go on hols (hopefully hotter than here) and I hadn't planned to do any washing while we are away hmm

I got him to wear a third pair today by saying the others were already packed for the holidays so there has been some progress.

I was planning to get him some new ones of his choosing but of course there is nothing but winter clothes in the shops near me now...

GypsyMoth Wed 19-Aug-09 12:03:58

sorry,i came across a bit blunt!

my son sometimes is slow,and on a school morning,its a pain. i just say,fine,come as you are,would love to see your friends faces as you walk into assewmbly still in your pj's!!

secretskillrelationships Wed 19-Aug-09 12:39:58

I think this is probably about your DS trying to exert control. But he needs to know that you are in charge. Not in an angry or aggressive way, but calmly, not fazed in any way. You need to lose all the emotion around this.

I'd take the approach of ignoring his behaviour. If he wants help to get dressed I'd say 'You sort out what you want to wear and let me know when you've done it, then I'll help' sort of approach, and really mean it. Children know when we are faking! If you need to go out, then talk about appropriateness - everyone you see at the supermarket is wearing clothes but at the beach lots don't type thing. I also found my children responded well to consequences, again put calmly. 'I would like to take you to the park but to do that you need to be wearing clothes'. If he doesn't put on clothes assume he doesn't want to go to the park.

My DD went through a phase with clothes at just 2 (she's very, very bright!). I tried the 'this is the outfit you're wearing' approach to which she said 'no'. Then the 'this outfit or this one' to which she said 'neither' so then I decided this was one battle not worth fighting and moved her clothes a shelf down and let her choose herself.

I had to get over my embarrassment at some of the outfits she chose grin, especially round the local supermarket, and flashing her fanny at all and sundry when she went through a phase of 'forgetting' to put on knickers! But at 9 she has a much stronger sense of personal style than I have now and she knows how to dress appropriately for the occasion. She's even threatening to take me shopping as she thinks I need help (she's right!).

She also used to strip at the drop of a hat up to the age of 5 or 6. My take on this at the time was that she felt very comfortable with her body and did nothing to impact on that but I also noticed that she didn't do this when we had friends round!

PinkTulips Wed 19-Aug-09 12:44:13

ds1 is three and really enjoys being asked to pick his own clothes in the morning, i send him into his bedroom to choose them while i get dressed and he has them all ready when i get in. We haven't had any whinging about clothes since i started doing this and he's suprisingly good at picking matching outfits.

edam Wed 19-Aug-09 16:51:04

Secretskill reminded me, my sister used to strip off at every opportunity when she was five (or four, or three...). The neighbours would ring our doorbell and say 'Sorry to disturb you, but did you know your daughter has left all her clothes under the fourth lamp-post on the right?' She always folded them so beautifully... grin

(Is now a completely normal adult who wears clothes everywhere that clothes should be worn.)

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