Kids, Sensory Issues & Battles Over Pants

This morning I spent a good 20 minutes trying to convince my six-year-old to put on some pants.

It wasn’t that she didn’t want to wear pants. (Though I know several grown-ups who would prefer this option.) It’s just that she didn’t want to wear ANY of the six pairs of PERFECTLY GOOD pants in her closet. All her favorite pants were in the laundry. “Go clean them, please” she sweetly but infuriatingly demanded.

I cajoled, I explained, I empathized. I insisted, I bribed, I threatened. I gave in and let her wear shorts. (The seven stages of dealing with obstinate kids?)

What is it with kids and pants? I went through the same dramas last winter with my son who was extraordinarily picky about pants that had to feel just right.

An informal survey of a few of my Mom friends made me realize two things:

  • This is quite common. Kids aged between 5-8 ish have these sensory issues with their pants, especially pants that – horror or horrors – have a button and a zipper.
  • This explains why so many pants that I’ve been fortunate enough to receive as hand-me-downs are in such excellent condition. Clearly, every kid that has ever owned them has steadfastly refused to wear them. And so they get handed-down, practically good as new. Again and again.

So my question for you parents out there …. Is this normal, have your kids thrown a wobbly when faced with the abomination of unsuitable pants? How have you handled? And have you contributed to the never-ending chain of perfectly good pants being handed-down?

Cos any day now, these six pairs of PERFECTLY GOOD PANTS are being shipped out. Some things just aren’t worth fighting over.

Source: Unearthed Comics

Leave a comment


  1. My oldest is nine and hates anything but leggings. She tries, once in a while over the past year, to get over it. She *wants* to wear jeans in her head. But on her body? Not a chance.

    I remember my mom going through this with my brother too. We’re not alone.

  2. My 9yo refuses anything but leggings. It’s gotten a bit better over the last year – I know she wants to wear jeans – but she just can’t.

    I remember my mom dealing with this with my younger brother, too. You’re not alone. 🙂

  3. Lisa H.

     /  October 29, 2013

    My son has Aspergers so all clothing needs to “feel right”. I buy all sweatpants so there is no issues. He also is obsessed with pockets and sweatpants with pockets can be hard to find. When I do, I buy tons of the same pants in different colors.

    And the day they started making tagless clothes with the printed tags was fantastic.


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