What is the outer age limit.... - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-09-2012, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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...that kids vehemently resist things like nail clipping, bathing, hair cutting, teeth brushing, and on and on?

 

My son is just 26 months old but I am posting this in the Childhood forum because I suspect...fear...that this can and does go on with some kids well into their childhoods.

 

Ever since he was a baby ~at various ages did he develop aversions to the various things~ he has strongly resisted these regular hygiene practices. Each has its own story and ways of dealing with it. For example, I have to file his nails and cut his hair while he sleeps. The tooth brushing is not such a problem anymore but bathing is a whole story I will not even get into (we think it's related to an incident which he experienced as traumatic around water..). We have ruled out sensory processing disorder for all of this, and I think it's actually well in the range of normal. He is just sensitive and strong-willed about controlling his own body. Fair enough.

 

Anyway, I want to know what we might be in for here. What is the outer age limit that you may have heard of or experienced that a child will put up such resistance to these kinds of things? I think I have heard of kids resisting baths pretty much their entire childhoods, and also of parents who had to cut their kids' nails in their sleep until age 5 or 6.

 

I know I shouldn't even think of it like this and I try hard just to accept it, and in the meantime work on creative solutions and/or just relaxing with what is and focus on the good things...and that these are relatively small problems in the grand scheme of things. But I was just wondering....

 

Thanks for sharing your experiences!!love.gif


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Old 08-09-2012, 04:40 PM
 
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...that kids vehemently resist things like nail clipping, bathing, hair cutting, teeth brushing, and on and on?

 

 

 

At 26 months, both my DDs hated nail clipping, hair cutting and teeth brushing....bathing was never a problem though they both loved water.

 

DD1 outgrew all that around age 2.5 or early 3.

 

DD2 had sensory issues and STILL resists nail clipping at 6.75 (but does it under duress and in order to get them painted!), hair cutting is still nerve-wracking but she does it willingly when her bangs get long- since about age 4.5-, and teeth brushing around the same age. She still has some sensory issues and had OT for 3 years for tactile issues.

 

I think part of it is temperment, sensory processing (is it standard, high/low), exposure, and age.

 

Temperment can play into willingness to have *control* and/or be okay with change (hair cut! new environment in bath!). Processing can be ability to tolerate the sensations. What feels OK to an adult can be downright painful to a kid with sensory concerns or they may barely be able to process the sensation. Some of that gets better with age with standard developmental patterns. As in a 3 yr old resisting a hair cut is a lot more common and not worrisome, but a 10 year old resisting would be odd and unusual. Exposure- first/most recent/watching others go through it - all can impact reactions. Often slow desensitization can work and/or modeling (my DD still does better if she watches me clip my nails first) can help some kiddos.   Last, age. Now at 6 my DD knows that above activities are short, relatively painless, and also make her look/smell 'nicer' (which at 3-4 she did not care one bit!). She also does not want cavities so as much as she dislikes brushing, she does it. At this age she can relate the long term effects of any short term discomfort/dislike, cognitively at 3 she lived in *that* moment and since her teeth were not hurting she did not see the good in brushing them!

 

 

Give it time. 2-4 : kiddos are learning what they can control, what they like/dislike, and expressing themselves and their opinions. Yet, they are also much more egocentric and self-involved than they will be in a few years. This can lead to power struggles, fear of change, and all sorts of other perfectly normal 'quirks' for this age bracket!

 

At that age I often did "Wow- let me see how YOU do it (brush hair, teeth, etc)!" or I brushed my teeth with my DDs or I got fun colored tooth paste or we got our haircut at a 'fancy' salon (haha Borics $6 hairbcuts!).  For baths- we did bubbles, colored water, and had fun toys!

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Old 08-09-2012, 06:04 PM
 
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My 6 1/2 year old resists tooth brushing, baths, and nail clipping, but not in the freaked-out, crying, scared way a toddler might.  He just thinks they're boring or slightly unpleasant and less fun than almost anything else he could be doing, so he'll often say no or whine that he's right in the middle of something until I firmly insist.  He was pretty freaked out about water on his face or in his ears (or the possibility that it might get on his face or in his ears) when he was younger, so hair washing was tough and often led to crying.  That ended by 5 1/2 or so.

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Old 08-09-2012, 09:34 PM
 
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All 3 of my kids hate for me to cut their nails and brush their teeth and they are 4, 5, and 7!  They don't fight it but they complain the entire time.


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Old 08-10-2012, 01:17 AM
 
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teeth brushing - i didnt push it the toddler years because of sensory issues. i knew it really hurt her to brush her teeth so i never pushed it. a lot of her sensory issues went away mostly by age 5. 

 

nails - finally at 4 i think i handed her clippers and said she could cut them herself. she has been doing that since that age. 

 

bath has never been a problem.

 

just something to think about - i would not rule out SPD. doesnt have to be red flag high degree of SPD - but just lowgrade that they would eventually grow out of. dd had it - not enough for diagnosing as a problem but enough that doing stuff from the out of synch handbook for kids really helped her. by 5 a lot of spd issues went away for dd, but some definitely remained. she is sensory seeking and also sensory aversion behav. 


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Old 08-10-2012, 04:35 AM
 
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Hmm, mine is 8 and still has her days :lol

 

Shes pretty much OK with brushing teeth and hair providing she does it all herself. However she has pretty long hair which she doesn't want to cut but can't quite get all the tangles our herself so I try and go through after her as much as she will allow. When she's in the mood for a pretty hairstyle I can get away with a lot more.

 

She's still not a fan of baths but will tollerate them, and recently showers.

 

Nails are usually OK, though I need to giver her plenty of warning that I;m going to do it. Again she's not quite able to do them all herself yet, can't quite manage the clippers in her left hand.

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Old 08-10-2012, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for your replies. It helps me so much to relax.

 

I have been meaning to go in and talk with his pediatrician about this and I really just need to do that. We discussed the bathing thing with her many months ago and she was convinced (also from knowing our boy just a little) that it was only very intense protest and not SPD (we were there asking for a referral to an OT). Maybe now she will agree it is, if nothing diagnosable and a real "problem", then at least something worth seeking outside help in, or advice or whatever she can offer. I also should check out that book. I think in general people and children tend to be overdiagnosed and it's a real plague these days, so I am very cautious of that way of thinking, but I agree he is very sensitive and we do need some support in making our daily routines around body / sensory issues smoother and easier for everyone.

 

Any and all tips and experience shared here is very much appreciated, so thanks again!
 


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Old 08-10-2012, 09:32 AM
 
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For my ds, 10 was the age that he became tolerant of the things he's most sensitive to. He still won't put his face all the way under water but he held still for an entire haircut with clippers for the first time this spring. Used to have to just sort of snip here and there over the course of a few days to give him a haircut. He took over doing his own nails pretty young (maybe age 5 or even 4?) and was pretty OCD about them for a while. I had to do them while he was both nursing and sleeping when he was really young. I forget when he started liking baths. He didn't like them as an infant  or as a toddler but he wasn't actually anxious about them (except as an infant when he didn't like not feeling held firmly). 


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Old 08-10-2012, 09:54 AM
 
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My daughter hated having her teeth brushed at that age.  And still now hates for me to brush her hair.  My tactic the whole time has been, 'You do it yourself first, and then I'll check it over and do any touch ups if you need them".  And I lowered my expectations and would only "touch up" if there was a big snarl in her hair, or if she barely touched her teeth and it had been a few days.  Also, I'd let her "touch up" my teeth while I "touched up" hers. 

 

That "you do it first, then let me check it over" has worked pretty well for many things with her, come to think of it. 

 

I'll just throw out a couple other ideas in case one works.  Instead of baths, can you do a stand up bath where there's no plugged tub, or get a shower wand so the water is only on/on him/used when absolutely necessary?  let him use the wand as much as possible. 

 

Nail clipping, I'd let him try to file his nails on his own and then you "touch up".  


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Old 08-10-2012, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter hated having her teeth brushed at that age.  And still now hates for me to brush her hair.  My tactic the whole time has been, 'You do it yourself first, and then I'll check it over and do any touch ups if you need them".  And I lowered my expectations and would only "touch up" if there was a big snarl in her hair, or if she barely touched her teeth and it had been a few days.  Also, I'd let her "touch up" my teeth while I "touched up" hers. 

 

That "you do it first, then let me check it over" has worked pretty well for many things with her, come to think of it. 

 

I'll just throw out a couple other ideas in case one works.  Instead of baths, can you do a stand up bath where there's no plugged tub, or get a shower wand so the water is only on/on him/used when absolutely necessary?  let him use the wand as much as possible. 

 

Nail clipping, I'd let him try to file his nails on his own and then you "touch up".  

 

 

Thanks! As I mentioned, the tooth brushing just magically got easy literally from one day to the next, about 2 months ago. It was one of the best things ever and I have no idea what happened! biggrinbounce.gif

He definitely insists on doing it himself and then I touch-up after, making a big game out of it and he lets me. He also has about six toothbrushes to choose from which helps, and I always buy new ones that I see that he'd like so we now have a stash for later too.

 

We have seriously tried everything with bathing and it is just tough. He also hates, HATES being naked (this is new, maybe for the last 4-5 months) so I literally get him in the bath with me, fully or partially clothed, and then gradually remove his clothes (I have found if I'm already in the tub he can lean on me and sit on my lap at first and it helps him relax. I then get out once he is ok). I find if I try to get him nekkie before, he freaks out and never calms down, whereas if we leave at least his shirt on, then he can manage. He protests as I lift him in, but it never lasts more than maybe 10 seconds and then he relaxes and gets distracted. He loves water play actually, and once he gets in there I have a hard time getting him out! It's weird! Hair washing is impossible and he screams like a banshee. We got one of those visor thingys that prevents water from running into his eyes and ears but that also freaks him out and he refuses to let us hold it on his head. So his hair only gets washed maybe every 2-3 weeks and it is like bloody murder.

 

As I write this I realize he does have some real sensory thing going on. Nothing major, just slightly more than what is normal toddler drama, but yeah it seems like it doesn't it? I will look into getting a book about that. I had avoided thus far because as far as I can tell this is pretty mild and I didn't want to waste my time reading a book that mostly didn't apply to him.

 

So from what I see here it seems like these sensory issues can naturally disappear on their own in later childhood, huh? Not that I want to ignore it but it gives me hope.


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Old 08-11-2012, 08:46 AM
 
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Yeah, it sounds like he is "highly sensitive." People can have sensory issues but not have spd. I'd only ever wash my ds's hair every month or two. I usually just let him play in the water and only soaped his bottom. He still probably only washes his hair about monthly and it looks fine.

 

This website is by someone who wrote books about "highly sensitive persons." There is a checklist you can do... http://www.hsperson.com/index.html 

It helped me once I realized just how sensitive my ds was because once I pinpointed what exactly bothered him, I could tweak things enough to get through the day. For instance, he would stop eating if food got too messy. I used to assume he stopped eating because he was no longer hungry (how crazy of me, lol). But it turned out he'd eat more if I spoon fed him messy foods or cut them up into small bites that he could use a fork to get into his mouth without the food touching his lips. Once I was able to help him eat and sleep better (he'd sleep very poorly if he was too tired or got too much exercise), his behavior improved AND his tolerance for other sensory discomforts improved. He is still sensitive but he has grown out of it being much of a difficulty. 


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Old 08-11-2012, 06:05 PM
 
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OP- my 3 year old did 6 months of OT for similar issues and progressed so so much.  I don't think this is the answer for everyone, but it changed our lives.  Good luck.

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Old 08-11-2012, 09:25 PM
 
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I turn 25 in two days, and I'm still filled with a sense of dread every time it's time for brushing my teeth.

 

PS: Avoid minty toothpaste if you can; it burns like crazy. Running water over the toothpaste after putting it on the brush helped a little.

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Old 08-13-2012, 10:07 PM
 
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DD1 (4) hates having her finger and toe nails cut so much that I just gave up about a year ago. They reached a certain length and then all broke off really short. I have no idea how it works, but her fingernails are all still really short, it's awesome! She gets hangnails that she won't let me touch, but it's only a pet peeve of mine. She does not always like to get into the bath, but loves being in there. "Take a bath" is on her chore chart now, so it's a non-issue. No bath, no prize. My kids cannot get away w/out washing their hair, esp dd2. She is a heavy sweater and her hair looks (and smells) gross after two days. DD2 (2) likes to brush her own hair. I do it after she is done & that is fine w/ her. That is a good tactic for many things. We also have a house rule that if you want long hair, it must be brushed every day. This is part of why dd1 has shorter hair :) DD1 does have sensory issues. Many things are more explainable to them at age three, although dd2 is unusually intelligent and we can explain things to her and she calmly understands. For us, body maintenance issues became easier to manage at age three.


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Old 08-24-2012, 06:51 PM
 
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Many boys fight hygiene until they are interested in girls. Definitely by about age 17 he will trim his own nails. Good luck in the meantime. 

If it's any consolation, when you are in your 90s and need help trimming your nails, you can give him heck. 

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