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Why does my 2-year-old hate to get her clothes or diaper changed?
Gayle
Not to worry, Gayle. Your daughter is behaving very “twoishly”—she wants to make all the decisions, and control you in the process. Here is a perfect example of a situation in which you need to negotiate and compromise, and not worry about losing control. First, decide whether it is really important that she be dressed in a certain way. If you’re just going to a friend’s house or the grocery store and she wants to keep her pajamas on, say something like, “Okay, but you’ll be the only person there in pajamas.” That’s letting her make the decision when the outcome isn’t really all that important. In that same situation though, if she has on a dirty diaper, insist on a compromise. “Okay, you can wear your pajamas, but we’re going to change your diaper. Nobody wants you around with a wet or smelly bottom.”

Maybe your daughter is just a “thoroughly modern Millie”: nobody seems to care much these days about what people wear. A few days ago I watched a news conference of the out-going and in-coming CEO of the world’s largest company. Neither man wore a tie—an infraction of the rules of dress that would have cost both of them their jobs a decade ago. Your daughter’s behavior is probably temporary. All too soon she will probably become acutely sensitive to acceptable and unacceptable clothing, and you may wish nostalgically for the time when she didn’t care.
Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education