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he HATES clothing transitions! Help!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My son hates having his clothes changed, and he hates it when he sees me change my clothes.

There are occasions when he's fine with having his clothes or diaper changed, but often/most of the time, it's a full-on crying deal. He sometimes hits or throws things at me out of his rage. Occasionally, I can distract him with a favorite toy that he can hold in his hand during the clothing change. Sometimes, when I change my clothes, I can appease him by putting my old shirt over my new one (until he's not looking, when I can quickly dispose of the old shirt, and then he doesn't care ... as long as he doesn't see me changing).

He used to throw a fit every morning over having his diaper and pajama bottoms removed, though that's lessened. And in the evening, he bathes with his daddy which he loves, so he's okay with having his clothes removed and then applied.

But as an example, he just woke up from his nap after having had this diaper on for 6 hours (we had an outing, then he fell asleep). He didn't want the diaper off, but I asked him to please let me take his pants and diaper off before we painted. No problem. But I left the diaper there by the bathroom while we painted, and then he saw it after the painting (and playing) session and insisted on having it put back on. One time, just to see if he really meant it, I put said dirty diaper back on, and he was actually content! This time, I didn't, and he begged for it out of the pail, so I gave it to him finally (it's soaking wet), and he just continued crying and screaming.

Help! I can't quite figure out what the problem is, though apparently it has to do with transitions. I hope that some of you have some ideas as to causes or solutions! It occasionally tests my patience, and I prefer not having to quell those feelings. Thanks.
post #2 of 8
I wonder if it is a diaper thing and the awareness of having made pee pee or poo poo in his diaper--kind of like a modesty thing or something related to toilet training.

My 26 mo DD doesn't like transitions either--she's high needs and requires a lot of advance notice. I dread changing her clothes. The only way I can help her tolerate it is to put a lot of creative effort into it. For example: When putting a shirt over her head I say, "Where's Sarah? Where's Sarah? Oh there you are!" Or, with pants: Where are your feet, where are your feet (then pull them through) I see your feet!" I often show her the clothes and describe the picture or color in a soft voice. It helps.

I guess it's also possible that your DD has sensory issues. We're planning to look into that w/our DD. Good luck.
post #3 of 8
it might be a normal part of awareness of "this thing goes in this place" development. i used to work in daycasre with toddlers, andi have seen alot of them lose it when certain things are out of place, like a book on a shelf for toys, for instance

my sister was taking a class on preschool childhood development, and told me about a study where they had daycare workers leave one toy out in the middle of the room every night after the kids left , (after clean-up time) in the morning when the kids got there , no matter what the toy was, it bacme an object of violence or frustration venting.

so maybe this is your son's unique way of going through this particular developmental stage? he seems like he thinks his diaper, clothes, etc BELONG on him, and he cant change them, becasue he starts to identify himself as having THAT diaper, THOSE clothes. same thing when you change. i dont know its just a thought, i am no expert or anything. i am not sure how to handle it though, so i am no help!
post #4 of 8
That's kinda cute.....although I imagine frustrating for you! My younger brother went through an attatchment stage at about 2 years, he had a pair of green pants and a blue t-shirt that he could not live without. Would not take them off for anything. (He was pretty grubby by the end of the week!) He took his bath, and had to put the same outfit right back on. When it got washed, he sat naked, waiting for it to dry.
My mom just let him wear the same outfit all the time, until he got sick of it (or it disintegrated, I forget which came first) my mom is such a laid back parent!
I wonder if it's the same kind of thing as a special blankie or dolly.....the feel/smell of the clothing you and he has worn all day is comforting to him?
That probably didn't help, but it's a story!
post #5 of 8
maybe you've already tried this, but what if he puts the diaper in the pail himself? We don't CD so I don't know all the logistics but with our disposables we wrap it up tightly then let DS put it in the trash which has greatly lessened his attachment to the diapers, he used to do exactly what yours is doing. Once he had more control over the situation it got a lot better.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your suggestions.

Unfortunately, I've tried them already to little and only sporadic success.

I give him great and pretty frequent warning before most changes take place, including diaper/clothing changes. That helps some but not entirely. It helps a lot with changes of location (we're going to the store, etc.).

For a while, the idea of putting his diaper into the pail was one that he liked. Now, he has started getting upset when I pick it up to put it in the pail (he refuses), goes over to the pail, opens it, and cries.

As far as attachment to a particular item, that doesn't seem to be the case because his attachment is to whatever he happens to have on at the moment. When I change my clothes, for instance, it's not that he necessarily remembers what I was wearing and wants me to wear that: If I change out of his sight, he isn't even bothered by it. It's when he sees me changing my clothes. Although, sometimes he sees my pj's on the floor and wants me to put the top on. Once, my husband said that our son asked HIM to put on MY pajama top! But my husband's refusal didn't cause a problem, I guess.

I've also tried the peekaboo route. One thing that does seem to bother him is when his shirt gets stuck going on -- then it's dark and scary. I'd thought it hurt him (which I responded to by trying to put only zip/button things on him), until he learned the word, "dark" and explained that that was the problem. Anyway, now we make sure that we stretch out the neck hole so that it's not dark for long and he's fine with that. The, "where's your toe/hand" route occasionally works but not when he's in a position where he's exceptionally upset.

Actually, now that I say that, these days, the exceptional upset tends to come AFTER I remove the diaper. He's not upset until after it happens, sometimes many minutes later when he kind of registers that it's gone. It's not that he wants another diaper, just that old familiar one. I kind of wondered whether it might have to do with wiping him (since that is what comes after the diaper comes off) -- does the cold water bother him (we tried warm to no avail)? I'm thinking that the post-change problem may have started shortly after I took someone's advice and put tea tree and lavender oil into my wipe water bottle -- maybe that's stinging him? So I'm quitting that addition, but it'll take some time to see whether that eliminates the problem.
post #7 of 8
Well, this doesn't speak to all of the problems you mentioned, but my 2 year old also doesn't like changing his clothes- his mantra is that he wants to wear whatever he's wearing "all day long." So after his bath each night, I put a thermal, "long john" type shirt under his jammies, and the next morning, when I change him, I tell him he can wear the under-jammie shirt "all day long." This has helped us tremendously in the morning. He used to cry each day when I tried to get him into his clothes, but now, because he knows I'll let him wear part of his outfit all day, we have a much easier time.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I use the same method to keep my son in an undershirt, but it doesn't seem to apply to the rest of the clothing.
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