When Your Kid Is Picky About What They Wear, Every Day Is A Battle

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I have written before about my son and how difficult he can be. He is not deliberately ill-behaved, nor is he a trouble-maker. He has just always been particular and not always able to articulate the reasons why. Now that he is in kindergarten and a little easier to reason with, it’s mostly smooth sailing. There is really only one sticking point with him now- his wardrobe. It is so tough when your kid is picky about what they wear. It can turn the average morning into a battle.

Even as a baby, I can remember dressing my son and thinking he looked…uncomfortable. In certain outfits, he would squirm and fuss more than others. As a young toddler, he quickly figured out how to take off the offending shirt or pants and spent a great deal of time at home naked. He would go through phases each season- preferring pants or shorts- and it was so tough to get him to transition. When he was two, he was so upset about having to switch to shorts in the summer that he walked around the house crying, tugging at his shorts trying to make them longer. It was unreal.

It got worse as he got older and came to a head around age three when he would tantrum if he couldn’t wear the same (dirty) shirt to daycare that he wore the day before. There was a point where only two or three shirts passed his sniff test and honestly, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to what he would deem unwearable. He loved jeans over any other kind of pants but what made one shirt acceptable and another something we should kill with fire was a complete mystery. It made shopping for him a disheartening task, to say the least.

As a toddler and pre-schooler, it was nearly impossible to reason with him and punish him for being so disagreeable. How do you make a two year old understand the concept of wasted money? You can’t. You just suffer through buying clothes that end up barely worn and resign yourself to the fact that everyone thinks your son only owns two shirts despite a dresser brimming with options. It is incredibly frustrating.

Now that he is older, it is easier because I can take him shopping and he can pick out what he likes but sometimes, it is still not a guarantee. He ends up with his favorites, like an adult I suppose, and becomes resistant to wearing certain items of clothing for no reason I can discern. I have made a habit of picking my battles and I typically build his wardrobe each season around any top matching any bottom so he can mostly select his own outfits. I have learned to hide his rattier play clothes because those seem to be what he prefers and I do like him to look halfway decent for school. Of course, he is now getting wise to me and sometimes, demands a crappy shirt he knows I am withholding. I give in once in a while but we have very cold winters and he hates long sleeves so at the moment, I am hiding almost all of his short-sleeved shirts. Such as life with this kid.

I realize that overall, this is small potatoes in the grand scheme of parenting troubles, but annoying regardless. The only time I get truly pushy is if something is seasonally inappropriate or if I want him to look nice for a holiday. Even then, I do try to accommodate. I gave up on dress pants long ago and now offer him “handsome” jeans, as he calls them, which is just dark wash skinny jeans that look a bit fancier than his regular ones. I bend where I can and also, let him know that sometimes, he can’t wear exactly what he wants. It is a work in progress but we still have a ways to go. Luckily, it only seems to be getting easier as he grows up.

(Image: bonzodog/Shutterstock)