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Fayette-Mom: Daily wardrobe fights ... with my son

Posted October 24, 2011

Jennifer Joyner

“I don’t want to wear that! It feels weird!”

“No! That’s too babyish!”

Such is the running dialogue every morning at my house. But surprisingly, the daily fights over wardrobe are not with my daughter, but with my son.

Sure, Emma has given me her fair share of grief over the years, like the year she refused to wear anything but dresses, and then the following year, when she wouldn’t wear dresses at all! Yeah, that was fun.

But Eli has always been the easygoing one, about everything, really. That was until last year, when he started getting really picky about what he wore.

Suddenly, half of the shirts in his closet were cast aside, deemed “too babyish.” He even refused to wear certain pairs of underwear, even though I argued that no one would see them but him. Since then, I’ve learned to always take him with me to buy his clothes, never sure what will pass his test.

And as he has gotten older, the process is even more complicated — no, those jeans rub his ankle the wrong way, these pants make his waist itchy. For every 10 items he tries on, only two make the cut. Frustrating doesn’t begin to describe this process.

I must say, I’m surprised my boy has turned out to be the most difficult in the clothing department. Has anyone else had this problem with their sons?????

Jennifer is a mom of two and WRAL-TV assignment editor in Fayetteville. Her food obsession memoir, “Designated Fat Girl,” came out in 2010. Read more about Jennifer and her book on her website. Find her here on Go Ask Mom on Tuesdays.



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  • lilypony Oct 25, 2011

    My 2 1/2 year old son will go through a few wardrobe changes every morning. I let him pick ou this stuff the night before, he rarely likes it, and if he did like it he won't ten minutes later. I started with the "I'm the parent and you'll wear what I say" attitude but it seems to make for a better day if I let him struggle with it. It is his job to fold and put away discarded clothes (granted a mess I have to deal with later, but it's an effort on his part) and he also knows that if he spends to much time dressing that he'll miss breakfast. We've had several hungry drives to preschool and now he hurries through his fashion crisis each morning. Giving him the power to make his own choices has drastically improved his 'tude in the morning. The clothes issues started about 15 months old so we've mastered the technique!

    I rarely take my kids clothes shopping, just over-buy and return what doesn't suit them. Again, give them the power to chose where appropriate.

  • warmfuzzz Oct 25, 2011

    Try letting him pick out his clothes the night before with the deal he has to wear what he chose. In the scheme of things it's really a minor, but fustrating, battle.

  • Love my boys Oct 25, 2011

    We have similar discussions every morning. My biggest battle is shoes - I prefer my 5 year old wear tennis shoes while he demands to know why he can't wear sandals anymore. We compromise - he picks out his shirts and socks but he has to wear his tennis shoes.

  • imsosorry Oct 25, 2011

    I say I am the parent and until they start buying they will wear what I buy.

  • hear my voice Oct 25, 2011

    I feel your pain too. My son also has sensory issues with clothing. He will only wear "soft" clothing like track pants; basketballs shorts and tee shirts, or Under Armor shirts. Wearing something like kakhi pants to church....just really bothers him.

  • todd23 Oct 25, 2011

    My son received a zip-up hoodie for his fourth birthday last weekend. He loved it and did not want to take it off. Well, this past weekend we went to put it on him and suddenly he just didn't want anything to do with it! We made him wear it but he was grumpy the whole ride to church.

    When he was three he started trying to pick out his own clothes when we'd go for the closet. We solved the problem by giving him the choice between two appropriate outfits (he'd often pick short sleeves in the winter).

    Still, I wonder what the deal was with the hoodie?

  • leshea1978 Oct 25, 2011

    I've experienced a similar problem that started about a year ago with my now 4 year old son. After daily morning "discussions" about what to wear, I came up with a solution that works. On Sundays, I let him pick out 5 outfits (already on hangers with tops and bottoms) from his closet. We lay them on his toy chest. Each morning, he can select from those already laid out. It totally works, no "discussions" in the morning about clothing and it saves us time. Good luck!

  • NiceNSmooth Oct 25, 2011

    Well we see who runs your house! You are the parent! Discussion is fine and opinion is fine but ultimate last say so is the PARENT!!!

    I understand a teen with clothing issues but any younger than that the parent should take control of the situation.

  • qrbyrd Oct 25, 2011

    My son is 14. He wears only pants with elastic waistbands. He hates jeans. And wears short sleeved t-shirts year round. He wears sneakers just for school, the rest of the time he wears crocs without socks even in the winter. He even has a pair of dress crocs (what he calls them) for church. LOL It's fine with me, he's clean and covered, that's what matters. You gotta pick and choose your battles. And I agree about clothes feeling funny. I have had the ankle rub too, very seldom do I wear jeans.

  • babbleon Oct 25, 2011

    Your son's sensitivity to how the clothes feels reminds me of my own issues. Have you considered sensory processing disorder?

    My son (and his dad, and me) all have it - for overstimulated me, a massage hurts and a light rub on the arm feels like sandpaper. For my under-stimulated son, he doesn't start to wake up until the lights are bright, he gets a hug and a little back rub, even some bouncing.

    I can not stand a lot of fabrics, especially synthetics. The ankle rub? I've been there. Cotton, silk and _lined_ wool only for me.

    There's nothing 'wrong' with it - I'm an MBA / employed professional - but *if* that's going on with your son, it's a real difference in what he physically feels. Maybe knowing that will help you be less frustrated and come up with filters to limit choices before he tries clothes on.