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My son is five and for the past couple of years he has refused
to wear anything that has a button on it. Not only that, he
doesn't want my husband or I to wear them either. He creates a
big fuss if we put him to bed and there are buttons on my
shirt. He is so stubborn about it that he will go to bed
without his usual book or snuggle goodnight. He says he's
afraid of them but his temperment (anger at us) makes me think
he's just trying to control the situation. In the past I may
have taken off my jacket to appease him but lately, I tell him
that there are things I prefer he wouldn't wear but respect his
choice and he needs to respect mine. He's getting more and more
stubborn about it. It's getting frustrating. What should I do?
It does sound too strange to be true, but I have a friend in her
30's who has a fear/repulsion of buttons that she has had since
childhood. She has moved back to England, but I think I could put
you in email contact with her if you wanted to hear from someone
who has the same phobia your son claims to have, and it would be
a strange one to make up. Email me if you want me to put you in
contact with her.
I'm sorry to hear about your son's button phobia, but glad to
find out that my 4-year-old daughter isn't the only one to have
it! I'm pretty sure with her that it's is a genuine phobia,
not just a power thing. She's been this way since she was a 1
1/2 when her curly hair got caught on her father's shirt
button. It's gotten a bit better (she'll allow one button on
the back of her dresses and has mostly gotten over worrying
about buttons on the clothes of others), but I've also learned
never to buy her clothes with buttons down the front. Her
teacher taught her how to sew buttons on a doll blanket, but
although she was very proud of being able to do it, she made me
a gift of the blanket and asked me to keep it in my own room.
Still, you might try it with your son -- maybe it would help
him to feel some control. My daughter is otherwise extremely
confident and doesn't seem to have any other phobias at all
though, so I'm hoping she will just grow out of it.
I have a good friend who had the same childhood concern about
buttons. From his experience, he said that it was not a control
thing, he just genuinely was terrified of buttons. They made him
neauseous. Then he just outgrew it around age 7 or 8.
this page was last updated: Dec 21, 2008
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