You know the saying 'pick your battles'...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by whatamess, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Yes, there are some rules that cannot be broken/bent. However, for other things that are not life-endangering, are we choosing our battles based on how big the meltdown will be compared to the request/demand? Because at this point I feel we have picked our battles to the point of requiring only the most basic of functions be fulfilled by difficult child. That being said, today, I had the usual confrontation with difficult child about wearing underwear! This battle has been fought every day for 10 months. I refuse to let it go. He is 12. He can't go commando in public for numerous reasons that I'm sure you all can imagine. He has a 'fit' Goes through the yelling and refusal and tellls me he will take it off in the bathroom, flush it, etc, etc. He actually will rage about this-sooo draining. I feel like this issue is symbolic of how much we have 'let go' to keep peace (funny but it seems there still is plenty of chaos despite picking our battles). He cannot be reasoned with about it either (I've tried Collaborative Problem Solving). I have purchased different types of underwear/boxers, given him permission to be underwearless at home (with shorts/pants/jammies on of course), explained the numerous reasons for wearing it. Would you give up this battle??
  2. I know all about picking battles, and I am sure that at a younger age this could be one of the things you let go, but I agree it is something that needs to happen at his age. We have daily battles with our younger son and have learned that somethings just have to be let go but there's others that can't. I wish there is something that I knew that might help ease the battle but all my thoughts are ones you have tried ie) different types, not necessary at home, etc...... wish I could be of more help, but we are here to lend a listening ear.....
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I think at 12, that's a worthwhile battle, but I'd fight it in the therapist's office. Does he respoct your dr? You've got to get an authority figure to talk to him about it. He's not going to listen to you.
    Best of luck!
  4. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    difficult child does not have a therapist. He will not talk to people he doesn't know well. We have tried and it hasn't gone well. I have been contemplating trying again, but it will be a long process just to produce a greeting, let alone delve into 'issues'. difficult child has certain people at school that he likes, but no one who would convince him to do something he didn't want to do just because they said he ought to.
  5. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    I'm sort of partial to letting this one go as long as he has appropriate pants so that he has some coverage.
    At least the battle isn't about taking off dirty ones before going to school.
  6. ML

    ML Guest

    Manster also fights me on this. Not really openly fights it, I just have to remind him because he would prefer not. Luckily when I tell him to put them on, he will. It's the same with socks. It must be sensory. I agree with letting it go as long as there is adequate coverge.
  7. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I agree with letting it go, but I know it's hard. Ultimately, he will have to face the consequences of being without undergarments. I found with my difficult child that, sometimes, when I let something go it stopped being an issue.

  8. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member

    Is there a man or older male teen that he respects who might be able to help? I'm thinking of someone who could approach it matter-of-factly as a guy thing -- "This is what men do" -- and not as someone trying to tell him how to behave. He might even be flattered to be thought of as a man and not a little kid anymore. Just an idea....
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Granted, Wee is only 8, but underwear has been an issue from the git-go. Its a sensory thing.

    I have noticed that he will wear athletic shorts under pants, so if he wears something that needs an undergarment, I allow it to be a pair of those silky athletic shorts instead. Otherwise, we let it go.

    On very rare days, when the planets are in line or something, he'll run out of his room and proudly announce that he can wear underwear today (and is). But we're talking a handful of days a year...
  10. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    Good advice here.

    I would add - collaborative problem solving depends on understanding your son's concerns, what's getting in his way. So if we take a step back - like a dance , you step back - your partner steps forward , and say to the kid , I am not telling you to wear underspants, I am not forcing you to wear underpants I just want to know why you are not so keen on underwear. Your kid may not know to say it in words so it is good to have quite a few tentative suggestions to help him out and drill down to reveal his concerns. Once we have his concerns on the table , we can share our concerns and follow through the cps process.

    In the mean time , if clothes you buy cover him , we can rely on this creativity on our part. If the lack of underwear becomes an issue at school or with friends and not one between you and him , there may be a possibility that he will be able to appreciate others concerns more easily.

    I don't like the phrase - choosing battles - yes to prioritizing issues and solve problems in a way that the kid feels he is being heard and understood

  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Part of Collaborative Problem Solving involves you talking to him, but another big part involves him talking to you. It should be discussion and compromise.

    What does he say about his reasons for not wanting to wear underwear? I remember having the opportunity to buy some pure silk boxers for difficult child 1. He loved them because they gave him the sense of freedom, but he was still decently covered. Other good fabrics are cotton jersey, synthetic silky fabrics, lightweight cheesecloth-type fabric. Boxer shorts are simple to make and could be a good compromise.

    The alternative - let him go without, but make it clear that he has to own any consequences. So if he is 'caught out' say, in school changeroom or with torn trousers that leave nothing to the imagination, he has to put up with the embarrassment. One big argument in favour of wearing underwear - zippers. I gather it is painful to catch your 'pink bits' in the zip.

    Discussion is the key. Surely he will talk if you give him the chance? Just ask him to explain why, tell him you will take it on board and try to think of a solution that will keep you both happy. Encourage him to also think of possible solutions. This is an important technique to teach him. The important thing here isn;'t you getting what you want, or him getting what he wants, but both of you learning how to work towards compromise.

  12. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    He says they make him sweaty. Well, that's what he said 10 months ago when this began, now I think he just thinks putting on an extra piece of clothing is pointless. He will also take off his socks at any chance. He never had these issues until recently and he is rather hyposensitive, so I'm not quite sure about the sensory aspect. Let's pull in everyone's favorite term(lol) ODD, for instance he will refuse...every day to hang up the towel from his shower. It lies crumpled on his floor...everyday. Everyday, I call him from what he is doing to come hang it up. He tellls me he will leave it on the floor everyday, that he doesn't care, etc. Even though it is more work for him to come back upstairs to hang the darn thing up, unless I am standing right there to remind/tell him to go hang it up, he will leave it. He doesn't care. He doesn't get it. He thinks I'm being unreasonable. He says his room will just get messy again, so why clean it....he is really not reasonable about many things. When I said we have chosen our battles, this has meant slowly giving up expectations that has now added up to him becoming minimally participatory in chores, academics, formally learning new concepts (academic) he no longer ties shoes...he removed and tried to flush the laces, he refuses to wear pants with zippers, the goal at school is to maintain behavior with a slight nod to academics. If something doesn't satisfy an immediate need in him, he is unlikely to do it.
  13. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Being new behavior kinda changes the way I see it, but I will tell you this about teen boys. They are gross, and I, personally, didn't fight a lot of it. Both of my older boys are now acceptable. One is even a neat nick.

    With the towel, I'd remove all other things that could be used for drying oneself after a shower and make sure he can't get to them. Then, I would have his name embroidered HUGE on his towel (so that company that uses your bathroom knows its HIS, not anyone else's). Then, I might even buy a heater to enhance the mildew process. I'd let nature take its course there. In a very short time, he is going to care how he looks and smells to his peers, and he'll likely fix that on his own.

    And, of course, he can't have friends over if the public space of the home isn't picked up.

    The room? I'd let it go, barring food for rodents and bugs. Its his space. Its also his issue if friends dont wanna hang out because his room is gross. Natural consequence. (I also won't put clothes away in a room that's a disaster.)

    He's hitting the age where his body is changing, even tho his maturity may not be keeping up. Since these things may not have been big problems in the past, it may be that they'll come back around and not be problems again in the future. I hear your concerns and I understand them; I have similar concerns with my Wee. But the alternative to CPS and TEC is living in constant chaos again, and that got us nowhere but the doctor for blood pressure medications for me...

    Hang in there.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If he says they make him sweaty, then boxer shorts that are loose would solve that problem. He might be OK with a synthetic satin if it breathes OK, but he might need a light cotton. Again, it's a guy thing, particularly as they are developing. It can be a big problem for them until they find ways to cope with the sudden increase in size of dangly bits. husband might have some ideas - we live in a sweaty country.

    Shoes - we chose velcro fastening for the boys for a while. Some situations require laces, so they have to be tolerated at those times. Really, a lot of this sounds like laziness. Natural consequences are what will work best. A towel on the bathroom floor is also often sitting in a puddle and getting walked over. When he picks up a wet, muddy, smelly towel he might realise why picking it up is a good idea.

    Hey, at least he is showering.

  15. idohope

    idohope Member

    MY difficult child (female) refuses to wear underwear. It is likely a sensory issue. In discussing this with therapist she asked me if difficult child is any immediate danger from not wearing underwear and the answer was no and we gave up on that battle. difficult child accepts that underwear must be worn when clothes shopping. Our family was under such seige we could not battle about this every day.

    It was not easy for me to put this aside. I worry that she will expose herself accidently or that as she gets older if this becomes known that it will be sending a message that she does not mean. But in working with the therapist I came to accept that there were more important issues that we needed to focus on first.

    I think the issue with picking battles is that just because we have accepted no underwear now it does not mean that we will never revisit that decision or that difficult child will never wear underwear. As she becomes older or if medical issuses (rash/yeast infections) arise then we will re-evaluate. It does mean that we need to stablize our home life before we can tackle underwear. My difficult child also refuses therapy but husband and I have have gone to figure out strategies for dealing with difficult child and the behaviors.

    Good Luck
  16. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    At 12 he will be experiencing sudden changes 'down there'. It's often nicknamed 'junk' these days for a good reason. Suddenly there is a lot of extra stuff to deal with physically as parts that tucked away neatly need additional consideration. He will be sweating more as well and ( as I'm sure you will have noticed) the sweat smells strongly because it contains proteins (aka pheromones) that were not there before. These go rancid if not washed off regularly and cause the stink.

    All I can suggest are ideas that I was given when I started to need to think about these things. The main problem is that the creases get a little damp and the skin is easily chafed so these suggestions are looking at dealing with this.

    Briefs that fit the leg snugly but not tightly keeps a layer of cloth between parts and helps reduce chafing. Another approach is boxer shorts that are the next best thing to going free bird. You got plenty of advice on materials. I NEVER use any kind of synthetic because of sweat problems.

    Whether he wears underwear or not he will be more comfortable using talcum powder. Many are perfumed and will be objected to because he will see it being unmanly but many perfumes irritate. You won't know until you try. Free use of talc on the feet will help deal with smells in that area too. The talc absorbs the sweat borne proteins and is easily washed away in the shower or bath.

    Marg's Man
  17. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Awesome! Thanks for the guy's perspective Marge's Man! Maybe we will try powder, he might appreciate that.
  18. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    whatamess - Great thoughts here so far. I just wanted to chime in and say that I understand - on the one hand, you know you need to be flexible with issues that aren't "big" enough. Yet, here you are with a 12yo who refuses to wear underwear, and it would seem that this could rise to the level of being a "big" issue as he hits the teen years.

    Our 9yo son has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) also, and we have similar problems. He wets the bed a lot, and we wish he would wear those overnighties to bed so that his bedding would be more protected. He refuses in a big way - can't stand how they feel, etc., etc. We tried a lot of different things, and nothing has worked . . . yet, anyway. I do think it's important for you to get to the root of the problem - why your son doesn't want to wear underwear. If it's because of sweating, then perhaps it is a sensory issue, or could it be something else?

    I read somewhere once that kids with autism may have a negative experience with something, and especially if its their initial experience, they'll continue to harbor that same perspective every single time they encounter a new similar situation. In a sense, they have to "unlearn" their previous habitual response.

    Our son has a thing about his bedding. He hates sheets and doesn't like regular bed-size blankets either. There was one fuzzy blanket he liked, but it was small, and as he grew, it became inadequate for keeping him warm at night. So, I went out and bought a new blanket (twin size) for his bed that had the same fuzzy feel. It was also time to replace the fitted sheet on his bed. I knew he wouldn't want a flat sheet, so I had no plans to use one. Anyway, the first night, I made his bed, and he cried about it. I found him with his same old teeny weeny blanket on in the morning and all of the new bedding ripped off the bed and piled on the floor. The same happened night after night. Finally, one night, he left his new bedding and blanket on the bed all night. Then, he started liking his new blanket so much, he'd want to drag it around the house all day long. He's still doing that, and the new awful blanket has become the new best blanket. I don't know why, but it's almost like he needed time to adjust and get over his preconceived ideas about the new bedding. Sometimes kids with autism embrace an initial fear reaction to new things. Or, they may suddenly become averse to something they used to accept. I suspect all of this is rooted in sensory processing, but maybe also the fear of change or a need for control of their environment.

    Maybe your son won't compromise on this for awhile. But, keep the door open through encouragement and the willingness to help him find something comfortable. He will probably change his mind at some point.


  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Great idea about talcum powder, Marg's Man.

    I agree that Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids stick to one idea and have to relearn things, WW.

    Oh, Shari, LOL!
    With the towel, I'd remove all other things that could be used for drying oneself after a shower and make sure he can't get to them. Then, I would have his name embroidered HUGE on his towel (so that company that uses your bathroom knows its HIS, not anyone else's). Then, I might even buy a heater to enhance the mildew process. I'd let nature take its course there. In a very short time, he is going to care how he looks and smells to his peers, and he'll likely fix that on his own.
  20. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    whatamess, what a great thread you started. You got some great advice that I can't add to, but I learned a lot.

    I want to encourage you by telling you that I know what it means to keep paring down expectations until it seems the kid is minimally participatory. It's hard, isn't it?