3 yr old suddenly not wanting to wear the clothes I choose - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Thread Tools
#1 of 10 Old 12-08-2012, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
mommy68's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 6,599
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Is this common for a 3 yr old? I don't remember either of my older children doing this. Even my 10 yr old daughter, who is extremely independent never argued or screamed about her clothing at this young of an age.


It's started in the last few days. She screamed this morning when I put on a top she didn't want to wear. A top that she wears often, just like all the rest. It's Hanna Andersson, soft and comfy so I know that wasn't the problem. I just let her cry over it for about 2-3 minutes. After I struggled to get it on her I took her in another room and we did something that distracted her and she got over it. She never brought it up again. Maybe she is just testing boundaries or showing independence in another way. I don't know.


Anyone else gone through this??

Single (divorced), self-employed working, college student MOM to:


17 yr old

11 yr old 

 4 yr old

mommy68 is offline  
#2 of 10 Old 12-09-2012, 12:54 PM
ZAMsmama's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I have nannied a couple girls with strong clothing opinions by 2.5-3.  I usually offered 2 outfit options and that made them happy, otherwise neither me or the moms were ever stressed about letting them wear whatever marvelously creative ensemble they would create.

ZAMsmama is offline  
#3 of 10 Old 12-09-2012, 01:21 PM
skycheattraffic's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,699
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My 20 month old is already starting to have her own ideas. I offer choices and usually the only thing I care about is that it's a weather appropriate outfit. Usually I can get her into anything with animals, stars or flowers on them. But if she really wants the pink bunny over the orange kitty, I don't make a big deal about it. Around special occasions I usually get away with "would you like to wear the pretty dress?" and usually she will be into it. As PP said, it's interesting to see what she comes up with wink1.gif
skycheattraffic is offline  
#4 of 10 Old 12-09-2012, 03:01 PM
JudiAU's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Where creepy facebook-featured threads can't find me
Posts: 3,610
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)

Totally normal. My five year old will want to choose his clothes once a week. My 3 year old will allow me to choose her clothes about once a week. She has strong opinions about what to wear. She has actually gotten pretty good at picking complimentary colors. And sometimes, well, it is just preschool. I just let it go.

JudiAU is offline  
#5 of 10 Old 12-09-2012, 03:44 PM
nextcommercial's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,589
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

First.... a three year old isn't really a toddler.  She's a preschooler.  Preschoolers are independent and have the ability to make good choices.  They LOVE their independence   They love their choices.  They are very oppositional when they feel like you  just made a choice for them.  Try letting her choose between two shirts.  Even if you really want her to wear the striped shirt, give her a choice anyway.  If it's really important, or non negotiable, let her know.  "Today, you don't get to choose, but after today, you can choose again, and you can choose your jammies tonight".


At three, she's developing logical reasoning skills, she's having conversations, she's remembering a conversation you had four months ago, and reminding you that "you said..."  They remember what you promised, and they hold you to it.  


Threes can dress themselves, (wrong, but they did it themselves) they can pour water, they can lock doors, they can do most things reasonably well, and they WANT to do it.  So, when you tell a three yr old he or she can't do something, it's the only thing they want to do.  If you tell them to do something, it's the only thing they DON'T want to do.  But, if you include them in on a decision, they are usually fine with it.  (again, within reason, you can't expect the world)


Walk through target at any given time, and the kid you see with the most insane, mismatched outfit is probably a three year old.  They are proud of that outfit.  They chose it, and dressed themselves in it.   It is like giving a 16 yr old  the keys to the car.  It's new and awesome.  The magic wears off by kindergarten though.

nextcommercial is offline  
#6 of 10 Old 12-09-2012, 04:38 PM
katelove's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,820
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
I'm impressed that you've been able to choose for this long to be honest :-) My 2.5yo has been refusing my choices for months now!

We let her choose 99% of the time, it doesn't matter if colours clash or whatever but we do insist on underwear if we're going out and there is one particular dress which always makes her trip over for some reason so that is an at home dress only or she will invariably get skinned knees.

Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012  mdcblog5.gif

katelove is online now  
#7 of 10 Old 12-09-2012, 09:13 PM
~adorkable~'s Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: State Of Bliss
Posts: 4,418
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, my twins are about to turn 2 and im sure its coming at some point.  i have so much to do to dress both of them and get out hte door for anything, that yes i premake up sets (sometimes but not necessarily matching but yeah often correlating in style or some version of the same color casue it is fun and easier on the brain.)


anyway i ahve been thinking a=how i will give then the power of choice and still keep my wits about me. here is my idea, let me know if you think it will work from those of you that have older kids.


im thinking of setting up a clothes rack at their height and at night placing two outfits each on them that are weather and activity appropriate for out next day. and then in the morning letting then dress themselves from the rack. seems like it takes me out of the equation in a big way but still focuses it a bit more than letting then into the full closet would.

partners.gif 2twins.gif  So what if I don't fit cleanly into a defined parenting style, my kids don't fit into a personality archetype either!

~adorkable~ is offline  
#8 of 10 Old 12-09-2012, 11:47 PM
katelove's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,820
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
I think it could potentially work, depending on the personalities of your children. If I offer my LO two choices and she doesn't like either of them she will just say "no, I want to wear the green skirt [for example]". Obviously it's my choice to say yes or no but she would never assume that two outfits I offered were the only clothes available :-)

Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012  mdcblog5.gif

katelove is online now  
#9 of 10 Old 12-10-2012, 01:28 AM
silversparrow's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 117
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

As an experienced big sister and child care provider, this totally normal behaviour. Children mostly live in our world, having to follow our rules and schedules. When they feel like they have no autonomy, they try to control the few things they can, like food and clothing. My advice is to let it go. Give her a few options or let her choose as long as it's clean etc. The less of problem you make of it, the sooner it will be over. And think about other ways you might be able to give her some autonomy: choosing between park or playdate with a friend; sandwich for lunch or last nights leftovers; apple or orange juice; choosing bedtime story and pyjamas.

This is not only normal but good behaviour, because it means she is independent and developing her personality. You just need to learn how to work with her through it.  

silversparrow is offline  
#10 of 10 Old 12-10-2012, 02:25 AM
LilyKay's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Germany
Posts: 482
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My now 26-month-old DD also can have very strong opinions which boots / hat to wear, which plate we should use for her food, ... and this started well before she was 2. I've let her wear a jacket in warm weather (but would not allow her to go without one in the cold). She even once threw a fit (literally throwing herself on the floor) because *I* did not wear my regular boots but something different! So yes, adding my voice to the rest here, absolutely normal!!

Mama to my little Lily luxlove.gif (09/2010), and a sweet baby boy joy.gif (12/2012)

LilyKay is offline  

Quick Reply
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off