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4-Year Old with Clothing Issues

My 4 year old son (only child) has been having problems with every item of clothing I place on him. He has crying fits and tantrums when I try to dress him.  This has been going on for about six months now.  It began with the waistband on his pants, then the sleeves on his shirts, then his shoes (he claims they have bones in them) and now he's included his socks,jacket, gloves, and hat.  I ask him what it is that bothers him, but he can't explain it.  He uses only one pair of socks over and over, although he has several pairs that are exactly the same.  He knows when I have changed them. He won't wash his hands because he doesn't want his sleeves to get wet, even though we pull his sleeves all the way up.  I have to remove his shirt completely.  I can't put lotion on him because he can't stand the feeling. Today, I wiped his bottom with a wipey instead of toilet paper and he cried for 30 minutes because he still felt wet (I had wiped him dry for five minutes with a towel)  I dread morning time when I have to dress him because it is a constant battle trying to find he perfect thing for him to wear.  We go through several shirts, pants,and socks before his is somewhat satisfied...actually, by this time I have lost my composure and I threaten to walk out the door without him. My mother, sisters, and niece have tried to dress him and he gives them the same dramatic routine.  I am at my wits end!!  What can I do to help him?
7 Responses
242606 tn?1243782648
It is likely that your son displays a type of neurolodevelopmental dysorganization called tactile defensiveness, a form of sensory integration problem. Children with this condition are often uncomfortable or distressed with even rather minor sensory stimuli. Their brains do not filter tactile stimulations in the normal fashion and they react strongly because of the discomfort they are experiencing. It would be useful to have your son undergo an evaluation by an Occupational Therapist. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the clinician can design a program of treatment, likely including a component you can do at home.
Avatar universal
My english is not good, its not my first languaje but i try to tell you what i think about your child situacion. It could be sensorys problems, i have a niece that she had that problem and she could not stand many things like clothes, cutting her hair she used to say she felt pain. She was diagnbostic with a sensory problems and with terapy this disappear. I hopr this help a litle.
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My son also had this problem. Not so much with clothes, but he would not do any activities at school like finger paint, shaving cream play, or the rice filled bin play. For the longest time at the beach he would sit in my lap all day so his feet would not touch the sand. He has grown out of it now. He is 6yrs old. The occupational therapist at his school (when he was 4yrs) suggested desensitizing him with brushing and things like that. He will probably outgrow this.
Good luck.
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I wouldn't rule out autism...are there any other problems? I know that with autistic children, there are sensory issues and tantrums....
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I just want to say that this sounds like my son! However my son is 10 but he has the exact same issues as your child. I have to just let him work through his frustrations (i.e.,crying, screaming, etc)and after he has dealt with it he is ok. It is very difficult to stand by and watch your child act this way because you feel so helpless. He doesn't receive OT but was diagnosed by a friend of mine who is an Occupational Therapist. Like your child, my son will wear the same things over and over and will only wear certain things!! I feel what you are going through. I just wish I knew if it gets better!!!
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A related discussion, Clothing related issue was started.
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A related discussion, 4yr old daughter and getting dressed was started.
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