My son is now around 6 years old. Today he pulled my sister's clothes in a gathering. This is so embarrassing. He did this after a few months.

What does this gesture mean and how do I make him realize that this is not permissible? Shall I punish him?

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    Hi, welcome to the site. Can you explain a bit more of what you're asking? What does cloth mean in this context - is this an article of clothing (like a headscarf or a skirt) or something else? Also, what does "after a few months" mean - do you mean he did it more than once? Or after knowing her/seeing her for a few months?
    – Joe
    Aug 23, 2018 at 18:53
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    Also, consider adding how you/she responded in the moment to the child, and what his response was.
    – Joe
    Aug 23, 2018 at 19:27
  • I have a 6 year old and can guess what you might mean, but clarification may be helpful. Do you mean he tries to lift up, or pull down clothing, as he thinks it's amusing to embarrass an adult? Aug 28, 2018 at 20:23
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    Does he only do this in public situations, or in private also? He may also be doing it out of curiosity about adult bodies. Aug 28, 2018 at 20:32
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    Do you mean pull on clothes, like tug at the hem of your shirt to get your attention? Or something else, like pull down or lift up your shirt?
    – Becuzz
    Sep 21, 2018 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


The first thought that come to me is this:

Establish a habit of "one-on-one time" at the same time every day.

(We do it right before pajama time, perhaps the specific time of day does not matter).

Let me explain: We had a lot of sleep issues with our 1- and 3 year olds. We hired a sleep consultant who was great had many concrete and effective suggestions. Many of them helped with much more than just sleep issues -- one-on-one time is one of those generally useful suggestions.

One-on-one time is a period of, say, 10 to 15 minutes every night where you are giving your child full undivided attention and they chose the activity that you do together, e.g. play with blocks, train set, play a game, or - if they ask for it - read them a book. As long as the activity is safe (probably not TV and not overly activating/exciting, assuming it is near bedtime), this is a way to really make sure you give your child quality time. It's at the same time every night and the same duration - use a timer. I am amazed at how well kids comply with limits set by timers. Consistency is important.

It's like this: you have to give to get. If you are going to impose restrictions (like "please don't pull my clothes") you'll need to be sure you're giving a little in return. Now, I may be completely off base here. You may be showering you child with plenty of one on one attention already. If so, apologies for the unwarranted advice. But in my experience, we are all so busy, we very often have "quality time" for our kids. We do not realize it, but such quality time falls by the wayside. We do the necessities of feeding, dressing, bathing etc but children need more than that. If you work in the daytime (as both my wife and I do) that quality time gets lost in the shuffle. Over a short time, our kids really liked one on one time and would be upset if we could not give it to them. We had the distinct sense that giving them that attention softened their resistance to the behavioral changes we wanted to them to make, regarding going to sleep without a fuss.

So, in summary: consider trying one-on-one time. That may soften the ground so that your child may be more willing to heed your request to stop pulling clothes. My intuition is that the child may want attention and feels they not getting enough. As a result, they go for negative attention. Thus, if you establish one on one time, it may fill the void that they feel and thus cause them to stop seeking negative attention. In addition, it may make them more willing to follow your requests to stop pulling your clothes.

Well, I hope this helps, and if it is off-base for you I hope that it at least helps someone else out there.

  • Thanks Bill for a great answer. I've edited the reply somewhat to reflect a more generic situation. I hope the meaning has not been changed.
    – user19497
    Oct 22, 2018 at 9:20

I would think he needs attention. Maybe just spend some time with him. just sit with him, or do something that makes him happy. You didn't say what kinda kid is he overall. Is he an angry kid, or one of those kids who always get their way with tantrums. A little more info would be helpful. Observe what makes him does this (pulling on cloths). Does he have friends? Does he do this out of anger or to get reaction out of the other person?

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