My in-law's 4 year old son hates to take showers and has a fit every morning. They say after he is in awhile he is ok, but every morning is just misery for the parents. What can they do?
From: Mark, Redondo Beach, CA
This is all about learning to pick your battles. Why is it so important that a 4-year-old take a morning shower? I bet it's because it's convenient for the parents because they take morning showers. And why do adults take morning showers, anyway? Mostly it's to wake us up, to be fresh for the work day, and to look our best, ie., do something about our bed head. That's what's developmentally appropriate for us, as adults.
There are zillions of reasons in the course of parenting why parents need to impose their will/wishes/control over a child. Save the battle for what's really important. This also gets into my philosophy of parenting, which is to feed into a child's strengths. That promotes a sense of security and self-confidence which leads to self-esteem and trust, among other things, and eventually to a willingness to try new things. Of course, feeding into a child's strengths requires that parents have an idea of what's developmentally appropriate for him/her, given stage of development and individual abilities. Which gets us back to that morning shower. It's not developmentally appropriate for a 4-year-old. Kids are dirty at the end of the day. A bath at the end of the day is fun and also soothing; it helps get them ready for sleep. Most kids hate showers because water pelting them from above is disconcerting, violent almost. To step naked & cold into water coming down at you from above? It doesn't feel good to them.
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