A frustrated mother writes: 

Every morning is a fight with my 3-year-old daughter.  I put her clothes out to wear the night before, but she always cries and wants to wear what she wants.  It’s wintertime and I had to let her wear a short sleeve shirt because she just would not stop crying.  What can I do?

As you prepare your little girl’s clothes the night before, prepare for the fight in the morning.  I speak as the parent of a 2-year-old and I know all too well the whining and the crying about wearing particular clothes or shoes.  Although I give my son freedom to choose some things, his wardrobe is not an option at this age.  I have established that I am the parent and though he screams sometimes, it usually subsides after about two minutes when he realizes that he is not getting his way.  By minute five, he has forgotten that he didn’t want to wear the clothes he has on!  Make her wear the clothes you put out, but be prepared for and endure the fight.  She is putting her will against yours and she has been winning.  Establish now that you are the authority and that although she may not like it, she will eventually submit.

Consider allowing her to choose one aspect of the outfit.  For example, you may put out two pairs of shoes and you can let her select one of the pairs to wear.  You are not compromising; you are affording her choice and using it as a training tool.  Soon, she will forget about the “big” choice of the entire outfit and then simply focus on one of the “little” ones instead. 

Need parenting advice? Email [email protected] and your questions may appear in future column!