This morning I was getting ready for work, and dressing my son for daycare. My dd decided that she wanted me to get her dressed not dad. Well when dh took her into her room to get her dressed, she lost it. She refused to let him change her. I looked in the bedroom and he had her pinned down with one leg while he put on her pants, I don't know how he managed to get her shirt on, but it didn't matter because he left the room when she was dressed only to come back five minutes later to find her dressed in her PJs again. I kind of half giggle now, retelling the story...
It bothered me to see my husband forcing my daughter to get dressed like that because I know what I feel like when I feel forced...I feel trapped and very uncomfortable... But I understand why he was doing it...we both had to be at work, and he was trying to help me.
My son who is 12 months also is a mommy suck so it is not like the situation would have been better switching kids.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how we can have our kids cooperate without physically forcing them to do it or is this something that comes along with parenting?
I find my husband "forcing" our dd to do things sometimes and I worry that it may turn into a major powerstruggle over everything one day...or am I crazy to think that arguing with a three year old could cause "bad blood"...
Thanks for any insight...
DS Feb 2009
I'm really laid back about clothes, though. Could you dress her in her "street" clothes the night before? There's no law about having to wear pj's... I actually heard/read about a psychiatrist having his daughter do that because she was too slow to dress in the morning.
I like the idea of giving her a choice to get dressed on her own though...we will have to try it...
Beacuse my daughter is so strong willed, we have had to wrestle her to the ground to get dressed many times (more dh than me)...It is hard sometimes because she has such a strong personality that she makes things so hard on herself...I have heard that these types of children can grow up to be very successful adults...I just want to raise her to be well behaved, but at the same time, to keep that "spark" alive in her...
Thanks again for your comments...
Did he allow enough time for her to get dressed? My dh always procrastinates (and sometimes even I do to), and it's 10 times worse when you're running late.
Second, it sounds like a power struggle. At some point, whether she really wants to get dressed or not, she digs in her heels and refuses. At that point, the parent has already lost the battle, because even if you win, you lose, KWIM? Enlist her cooperation in any way you can, and try to avoid letting her know that it's more important to you than it is to her.
Letting her choose what to wear is an easy place to start, even if it's a choice between two options. Allow enough time for her to dress herself as well as she can. Depending on the child, this might mean, "as soon as I button your shirt, you can put on your fuzzy sweater!" Slip-on shoes are a must.
Show her how it's to her advantage to get it done. "Your friends are waiting for you at school... let's get going so you don' t miss out on playtime." "I bet your teacher will be surprised to find out that you put your socks on all by yourself this morning!" "What snack do you want to take to school today? Okay, then, let's get those clothes on so we can get it!" Then there's the non-bribe bribe: "After you get dressed, you can carry my purse to the car for me!"
In a pinch, I have put on the clothes OVER the pjs. I don't mean to sound like I have a formula for how to get the child dressed... it's a daily chess game when you've got a devious and independent LO.
Our son's Montessori school has no trouble with kids coming in PJs or miss matched clothing - the child is in control of their dressing and will eventually figure it out.
I'd bet after a few days, with plenty of set up time (picking out her clothes the night before, having them ready for her to put on herself, and plenty of time to get herself dressed) she'll get into the swing of it pretty quick. I'd simply tell her she can handle it. When I tell my son I know he can do something (in a supportive way, not a told-you-so way, just to clarify since you can't "hear" how I'm saying it) he will either jump right in and try it or he will dig in his heals and take a few more times before trying it. Either way, he eventually gets it.
When my son reached that age we would not physically "fight" him on things, we didn't want him to learn that might means right (unless, of course, he was in danger).
Because she is so strong willed she can grow into a very productive adult but if you challenge her at every turn it might backfire. My son is pretty strong willed, too, and we have learned to pick our battles. If it involves personal or property damage we will step in but if it means he goes out in non-matching shoes or doesn't want to brush an awful head of bed hair or doesn't want to eat at the moment we are eating we don't battle over it.
The best lesson we've learned as parents is to ask ourselves why something upsets us. If we stop and analyze why his behavior pushes our buttons we usually figure out that it is because of something that happened to us when we were little (or it reminds us of someone else) and our fear/anger take over. When we're able to let go of our past "issues" and simply look at him and try and figure out why he is acting that way we are able to stay calm and meet him where he is. It's really helpful.
Best wishes - it's a tough one and I hope you find a solution that works for the whole family.
Momma to DD (12/04) and DS (11/09) .
I survived 16 mos! Ask me about breastfeeding a baby with posterior tongue tie, high palate, and weak oral motor skills- whew!
...that said, I couldn't trust DH to remember everything I needed for the day (especially since I seem to leave a trail of random things in random places) it helps to do as much ahead of time as well. And I always dressed DS in what he was going to wear the next day when he was in daycare- then it was just a quick potty and off we go!
Laurie, wife to DH (Aug/04), mom toDS1 (Nov/05) and DS2 (June/12).
"If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings"~ Leonardo da Vinci