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Child Refuses to Wear Underwear and Other Clothing Items

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This is a guide about a child refusing to wear underwear and other clothing items. There are numerous reasons that a child might refuse to wear certain types of clothing. It could be out of stubbornness, physical discomfort, or a range of psychological causes. Here is some advice if you are struggling with this issue.


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By 0 found this helpful
November 29, 2010

My 8 year old, very bright grand-daughter who reads at a 13 year old level, plays guitar and violin, and has played soccer, will no longer wear "any" pants, skirts or socks in the past month. The doctors say she has anxiety and to put her in comfy clothes and send her to school. But absolutely "no" clothes are comfy for her. She eats a variety of foods and changes of detergents have no result. She cannot go to school and is very sad; she can't go to OT or therapy as she will not keep clothes on.

By Jennie from Albany, NY


November 30, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

You mention therapy and OT-does this child have autistic spectrum disorder or other special needs? If so, she may have a sensory integration issue and a skilled teacher or therapist can help with a program for her. If she is not a special needs child why can she not understand that if she refuses to wear clothes she is choosing to not be able to go to school, therapy, etc.


Remind her that she can go to school, etc with all the kids when she chooses to dress like all the kids do. It sounds like there is something else going on and a psychologist/therapist is needed. She can probably go in her PJs if necessary. Is the refusal to wear clothes an attention getting behavior?

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February 1, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I think the problem might be the hem and labels in clothes. They make them itch, feel like spinter's. I have a 22 yr old that started months ago, first started taking the hem out of socks, then & still take the hem out of the bottom of pants & shirts. I read alot of blogs written by autistic adults that all mentioned they don't like hems & labels in their clothes. Hope this helps.

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January 6, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

I am in same scenario! I am seeing a specialist but in meantime Google clothing and sensory in same phrase... It is unbelievable! This is a sensory disorder! My daughter won't wear jeans or shirts or socks and I am looking for a new wardrobe and don't know where to go...


She hates the seams in the shirts and in the crotch and so far I can only find seamless socks... All the sites I have googled encourage short sleeve shirts and sweats good luck!

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September 15, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

When my daughter was 4 we had to turn the underwear inside out same with socks but the socks had to have color on the toe and heel. Still have the sock issues and it only took 8 stores this time to fine them. Underwear in ok now but now My daughter doesn't wear jeans, sweatpants or shorts. Once in a while a skirt put definitely not skorts. She will wear dresses but they can't have a line in the front or back. Also seamless pants are ok sometimes but I have to watch which ones I buy. As for the tops to go with the seamless pants they can only be short sleeves not spaghetti straps.

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October 19, 20171 found this helpful
Best Answer

I realize this is an old thread but...A person can have sensory processing disorder without being on the spectrum, although it can be one of a number of spectrum characteristics. SPD is also more prevalent in those with generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. It is not attention seeking behavior and to treat it as such and reprimand or shame a child who has this disorder risks alienating a child already struggling.


These kids have a visceral reaction and it's usually an ongoing issue, although it may get worse with increased anxiety. This post reminds me that we have a long way to go in recognizing and treating neurological and mental health issues in our children and stop treating them so dismissively.

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November 29, 20100 found this helpful

My 5 year old granddaughter will not wear underwear. She has difficulty with different clothing and cries like crazy if she has to wear socks. She will only wear crocks with the material attached to the inside. Any suggestions?


By stella from Regina, Saskatchewan


Child Refuses to Wear Underwear and Other Clothing Items

Set down a few ground rules on who is the boss and what is appropriate. If her feet get cold enough without socks in the winter, she will give in. I am in my 70s and just don't see all these problems people have with little kids not wanting to wear certain items of clothing. (10/27/2010)

By Joan

Child Refuses to Wear Underwear and Other Clothing Items

Your granddaughter could be allergic to latex, which is in the elastic on the underwear and socks, and it could really bother her to wear these items. It might be a good idea to have her checked for allergies. (10/27/2010)

By Patricia Eldridge

Child Refuses to Wear Underwear and Other Clothing Items

Yes, Patty Lynn is correct. I would take her to have her checked for allergies. My grandson has allergies and can't wear certain items. His ankles break out in blotches. My daughter can only use certain laundry detergents. (10/29/2010)


By xintexas

Child Refuses to Wear Underwear and Other Clothing Items

I agree the child should be tested for allergies. Maybe the laundry soap or fabric softener are causing discomfort and itching or a burning feeling. Double rinse the clothes after washing and dry without fabric softener sheets. Try to use cotton undies and avoid nylon and other synthetic fabrics. (10/29/2010)

By Christine

Child Refuses to Wear Underwear and Other Clothing Items

Please find a child psychologist for her and ask about Sensory Integration Disorder. You can Google it for info to see how closely it might fit. A good friend of mine's son has it and yes allergies seem to play a big part in it, but there is behavioral treatment available also. Good luck! (10/29/2010)

By elle

Child Refuses to Wear Underwear and Other Clothing Items

I am surprised to see the number of folks who are familiar with this situation, as I can relate to all of these examples. I could never stand anything tight or "rough" and I always rolled down my underwear and pulled my pants below my waist (to avoid any rubbing or pressure on my stomach). Now that I'm older I buy Hanes (all cotton) bikini underwear and worn jeans from Goodwill; and need to use "additive-free" detergent and fabric softener. (10/31/2010)

By Raechyl

Child Refuses to Wear Underwear and Other Clothing Items

Does it really matter? Why not let her try on clothes and just allow her to pick out what she'd like to wear. It may not make you happy. Sometimes it's a way of having a bit of control when children feel they have none. Just part of growing up. (11/19/2010)

By Joan

Child Refuses to Wear Underwear and Other Clothing Items

My 5 year old daughter is the same way, she absolutely refuses to wear socks and hates wearing underwear. She hasn't worn any kind of sock in years. She will wear her shoes without a fight, whether Keds or ballet flats or Mary Janes, but only as long as she doesn't have to wear any socks or tights with them; although she's OK wearing footless tights as long as she's able to have her bare foot in the shoe without socks. I didn't really care if my daughter didn't want to ever wear socks, since I don't wear socks much myself, but the no underwear issue seemed like something troubling.

She's been avoiding both socks and underwear for almost a year, but her not wearing underwear only really became an issue this fall. After I had given in and agreed that she did not have to wear socks with her shoes if she did not want to, she started dressing herself for kindergarten everyday and seemed to be doing very good. However, apparently she was not wearing underwear to school for almost 3 months before I found out.

When I first started making her wear underwear to school last month, I found out that she was going to the girls' room and taking her underwear off and putting her pants or dress back on without underwear and go back to class. I've tried to talk to her about why she needs to wear underwear, but nothing seems to work. She claims to "not like the way it feels" but she doesn't seems to mind wearing all manner of pants from jeans to soccer shorts to dresses without underwear. So, I'm not so sure.

One of my friends said her daughter was the same way between 5 to 9 years old and was always playing games not wanting to wear underwear. She said that after she couldn't take it anymore, she eventually decided to let her daughter not wear underwear at all and started taking both her daughter's socks and underwear from her drawer and told her that she could only have them when she was a big girl and decided to ask for them. I guess it was reverse psychology, but for over a year she wouldn't let her then 9 year old daughter have underwear even when she begged for it. Needless to say, she and I disagreed about her parenting method; but I was surprised that it kind of worked.

She told her daughter that she'd be allowed to wear underwear when she turned 10 years old, if she behaved herself for the rest of the year. Apparently it worked somewhat and her daughter both acted better and now agrees to wear underwear at least two days almost every week.

I don't want to find myself having to fight with my daughter over underwear for another 5 years. After my daughter's kindergarten teacher asked me last week why she hasn't been wearing underwear to class, I decided to to set up a meeting with the elementary school counselor after the holidays to discuss what they'd recommend. I can't afford a private psychiatrist out of pocket and don't have adequate health insurance to cover it; so the school counselor is our best bet.

Addie (11/22/2010)

By Addie

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October 26, 20100 found this helpful

I have a 7 year old granddaughter who will not wear underwear or anything she feels is too tight. We've tried everything from larger sizes to trying every style of undies for children. She needs to stretch everything before she puts it on.

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August 5, 20100 found this helpful

My 7 year old granddaughter won't wear underwear. Mother has tried all types, she goes hysterical and breaks out in blotches on her face.

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