Blame it on the Queen.
“The Queen said you have to go to school” yes, I’ve used this line, many times. It works too. So does saying “The Government says everyone has to eat dinner” and “The doctor told me you have to get dressed”.
For PDA kids, instructions/requests/orders/demands are all difficult to take. The child feels like they have lost control and they feel they need control to manage their anxiety. Direct demands made by me have always been problematic for Polar Bear. I found out quickly that demands that come from outside sources worked far better than ones that came directly from me.
Why? I believe this is because the child cannot actively confront the person making the demand and because the child is unsure of what reaction they may get from said figure if they refuse. Blaming demands on the Queen tended to work much better for Polar Bear and I than when I blamed them on the Government or the Police. The Doctor was on and off. If I tried to blame something on the Dentist he would call me out on it, that one didn’t get past him. Even when he had a tooth out and the dentist told him to brush regularly he still tried to avoid doing so. We found a routine worked best for this demand, that and strawberry toothpaste 😉
Getting dressed for school was a big problem for Polar Bear. looking back I can see that he was avoiding going to school by refusing to get dressed at all. His logic: No clothes = no school. It wasn’t that he didn’t like school but that it was simply too stressful for him, he masked whilst there.
Role play also helps with this type of thing. Some parents find pretending a teddy or action figure has made the demand is better received by the child than when the adult asks. Some PDA children role play as animals or their favourite character, they are happier to take demands when pretending to be someone else. This can be helpful as long as the child doesn’t become too engrossed in their pretend world that they refuse reality. Otherwise, there’s no harm in pretending to be a cat and having ‘cat baths’ and wearing ‘cat clothes’ if it helps the child to accomplish those tasks without anxiety and avoidance.