1.Anxiety. Crap, it’s cold out. Dylan should wear pants to school today, and a sweatshirt would be nice, too. I’m screwed. (Note to non-Floridians: It can actually get cold here in the winter. It was about 50 degrees this morning, which, relatively speaking, is pretty cold when the average temperature is usually around 85. Tomorrow morning is going to be in the 40s!)
2.Sympathy. I know you don’t want to wear pants, Dylan, but it’s cold outside and I don’t want you to be cold or get sick. I love you, and I want you to be comfortable. It makes me sad to think about your cold arms and legs on the playground at school.
3.Bribery. Okay, what will it take for you to wear these pants? A piece of chocolate? A lollipop? How about a popsicle for breakfast? Every kid has a currency. I heard Dr. Phil say this once. I’m not sure they ever met a person as stubborn as Dylan.
4.Compare and Contrast. Dylan, look, Daddy’s wearing a jacket today, and I have a sweater on over my long-sleeved shirt and jeans. Riley’s wearing layers, too. Unfortunately, Dylan doesn’t give a damn about anyone else.
5.Anger (with a pinch of force). I didn’t hurt him, but I did try to get the pants on him. Boy that kid is strong. Mike and I yelled for a bit and made it clear that We make the rules in this house! He cried so much that the front of his shirt was soaked, and then he hid, shaking, behind a chair in the corner of his room. Anger didn’t go so well.
6.Choice. Give him a sense of control over the situation. Dylan, you can either wear a sweatshirt over your long-sleeved shirt and shorts or you can wear pants. It’s your decision to make. More crying.
7.Defeat. Dylan went to school in shorts and a long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up above his elbows. Pants and a sweatshirt were packed in his backpack just in case his teachers have the magic touch, he decides he’s actually cold or he just wants to wear warm clothes like everyone else. Truthfully, I hope it doesn’t come to the last one. His independence is a part of his intoxicating charm, but, on occasion, it makes me want to drink heavily at breakfast.