You always want your child or children to be the best versions of themselves. You try and fulfill all their demands without any hesitation. You love them more than yourselves and you just want them to have a secure and happy life.
Some might enjoy parenting while there might be situations where parenting becomes like a burden.You can’t consider your kid(s) to be a burden because that has a negative connotation to it.
It might be difficult to bring up a stubborn kid who can be tiresome and challenging. A sense of dilemma always works to whether give in to whatever your kid(s) demands at one go or to exercise control completely.
Why are stubborn kids a problem?
- Stubborn kids do not listen to anybody.
- Stubborn kids also have the habit of harming other kids at school or elsewhere.
- They might not grow up to be compassionate.
- Handling the demands of a stubborn kid might be difficult.
You must remember that times have changed and you can’t exercise the same controls on your kid(s) that your parents did on you. So, to be your kid’s best friend you must learn to balance between when to let go and when to exercise control.
Ways to Deal With Your Stubborn Kid
Stubbornness is a trait that a child shows since infancy. While it can be challenging and frustrating to control your kid, you must remember that your child’s future depends on the way you control him now. Do not be fed up and maybe try to understand your kid.
Characteristics of Stubborn Kids
It isn’t so difficult to understand your child. Parents often mistake their child’s behavior as stubbornness whereas it might just be that your child is determined to achieve all that he wants. It’s time to be smart parents now! Beware of these stubborn behaviors characteristics:
- Highly intelligent and creative
- Loves attention and wants to be heard
- Question everything, which is mistaken as a rebellious behavior
- Extremely independent
- Will not leave any work in the middle of its way.
- Bossy most of the times
- Prefers to be by their own and do work at their will
- Adventurous and can even cross the line to achieve their goals.
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Psychology of Stubborn Kids
‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ cannot be exercised in today’s world. It will not make your child more rebellious but will also make them distant from you. Before you start scolding your kid for his/her inappropriate behavior or stubbornness, you must first learn why do they behave like this and what is the reason behind it.
There is a thin line of difference between determination and stubbornness. Determination has a positive connotation while stubbornness doesn’t. Stubbornness may be inherited and developed actions gained by the study of others. But by taking the right measures and channeling their stubbornness into something productive can mold them as holistic individuals.
Ways to handle Stubborn Kids
Have a stubborn toddler who refuses to eat their food and throws away the bowl or spoon every time or a strong-willed five-year-old who refuses to bathe or change clothes every day by throwing tantrums at you? Here a few tips to handle your stubborn child efficiently without either of you being too harsh and also getting the work done:
There are times when you and your child can’t come to the same conclusion and it becomes stressful. For instance, if you plan to go out for work or a long drive along with your child, try and distract him/her by telling stories of where you are going or interesting stories that will keep their creative mind busy before you start for your destination.
There might also be times when he won’t let you complete your daily chores at home. Try and make it a game by setting up a time limit.
Don’t argue and hear them out
Stubborn kids can be bossy at times and are always ready to face an argument. Play the trump card by not giving them that opportunity and hearing them out. Be attentive to what they have to say and start a conversation instead of an argument. By doing so, a mutual understanding develops and they would also listen to what you have to say.
Establish a connection
Do not ask your child to do what they don’t want. By forcing your opinions, it will only make them rebellious and make the situation ugly. Be understanding. If your child is engrossed in watching his/her favorite cartoon whereas they are supposed to do their homework then, sit down and watch his/her show for a while instead of snatching away the remote or unplugging the tv.
Once your child feels comfortable around you, you can ask them to do their homework now while you spend some time reading a book or doing your work.
Give them choices
Stubborn kids are extremely independent. Setting certain protocols for them and forcing them to follow the rules can instigate their rebellious nature. Offer them choices which will make them feel they have complete control over their lives.
Do you want some work to be done and you are not in the mood to engage in an argument with your child? Give them two to three options to choose from. Not only will they feel important, but also end up doing the work.
See the world from your child’s point of view
The best way to judge or come in terms of your child’s aggressive or rebellious behavior is to address the issue from their point of view. For instance, you had promised your child to take him/her for a movie but refused as the weather turned bad, you’ll have to explain to him/her the situation.
Your child won’t see this action as a broken promise but by offering another day to take him/her, you’ll be calm down the situation too.
Stay calm and maintain peace at home
Try and not fight with your partner in front of your child. Having a healthy environment at home is very important for your child’s overall development. Make sure your child feels happy and secured at home. Toddlers and kids tend to pick up behavior traits from what they observe.
So, instead of indulging in arguments and hurling abuses on your partner and making your child uncomfortable, make your home a fun place for your child to grow up.
Work on your negotiating skills
Do not be too strict on your child and outright refuse when they ask for something. Instead, try and negotiate and come to terms with your child instead of exercising complete control. For example, if your child wants to play when he has to do his homework, talk, and come to an agreement where they can sit down to study for an hour and then again play afterward.
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Promote good behavior
‘Be the change you want to see in this world,’ Mahatma Gandhi had said, so remember to lead by example always. Your child is bound to inculcate the behaviors you portray. Treat your child’s stubbornness with a positive outlook and think before you speak.
Engage in a game where your child can reply in only ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Be smart enough to frame questions which has ‘yes’ as the answer to most of the questions. This will make your child feel appreciated.
Divide the day
Making up an efficient and friendly routine for your child will improve his/her behavior and also his/her performance at school. Make sure you have enough time allotted for your child’s rest. Lack of sleep can make your child cranky.
Place guidelines and consequences
The thumb rule to control your stubborn child is to set down some rules and regulations. Have a family meeting and decide on the set of rules. Ask for your child’s opinions and inputs, so that even they feel important.
But, do not be rigid regarding your rules, change them when you are on a holiday or when your child is in his/her best behavior. This will send them a message that following certain rules and being a good boy/girl can be rewarding too.
Problems you have to face while nurturing a stubborn child
Parenting is challenging and especially when you are dealing with a stubborn kid, it is surely not a cakewalk. It is like an added struggle amidst all your work pressure and other social commitments. Regimentation cannot always be a solution, instead of looking for alternatives that can be more effective. Here a list of problems that you will face with your stubborn child:
Toddlers and kids can be extremely moody eaters and more so if they are stubborn. Deal with their ‘food swings’ by making their food look attractive and tasty yet not compromising on the required nutrition intake.
You can also ask them to set up the dining table once in a while and treat them with their favorite candy or dessert if they can keep up to the expectations or just acknowledge their input.
Your child might just lack the amount of concentration or just not want to do his/her homework. Try and divide their homework into small portions so that they don’t feel the pressure and finish the work quicker.
Or else on your free days or free time, ask your child to help you out with the daily chores and revise with him/her the lessons that he/she has learned that day.
Dressing up a child can be a Herculean task. They will insist on wearing something that doesn’t suit the occasion. Try and sort out their clothes every week, so that does not get bored of wearing the same clothes over and over again.
Keep aside the clothes that don’t suit the weather or season. Keep two or three options of clothes handy for your child to choose from. A win-win situation from both ends!
Your kid is bubbling with energy right now. You, on the other hand, are exhausted after the day’s hard work, but your little one won’t just let you hit the bed so easily! To calm down his adrenaline, turn on some soothing music that eases the mind and makes your child sleepy. Music is therapeutic. Switch off the tv.
Let him/her decide on which pajamas or nightdress he/she wants to wear. Take your child with you to bed and listen to their whereabouts of the day or whether they wanted to share anything or not. And finally, kiss them goodnight.
FAQs Of nurturing a stubborn child
Why are some kids stubborn?
Kids want attention to what they have to say and when they feel that they are not being heard they tend to become stubborn. Pay attention to what your child has to say and encourage them accordingly. Make them feel important.
Is defiance a sign of intelligence?
Defiance shows a sign of high emotional intelligence. While other kids of the same age as your child’s plan on playing a game with certain rules, there are chances where your child will not play according to the rules his/her friends have set. He will make his own rules. They are not wrong but acting according to their gut feeling.
How to get my stubborn child to comply?
There are no shortcuts to get your stubborn child to comply. Time, patience, and love are the only ways you can get your child to comply. If they do anything wrong, approach them calmly and firmly rather than scolding them or engaging in an argument.
Try and understand their feelings rather than not taking their feelings into account as you consider them to be irrelevant. Be their friend first before being their guardian.
How do I discipline my stubborn child?
When there is a will there is away. Disciplining a stubborn child can be challenging. You don’t want to hurt them yet you want them to be disciplined. The only way to discipline your stubborn child is by observing them keenly and analyzing their behavior.
Once you can locate their strong and weak points, it’ll make you easier to deal with them. Try to channel their restlessness to something productive.
You should be proud of your child. Yes, nurturing a stubborn child can indeed be challenging but not impossible. Kids who have characteristics of stubbornness are seen to become achievers both in academics and in their personal lives.
They are strong-willed which gives them a higher pedestal of not having their thoughts be diluted by other’s opinions. Deal with your kid calmly and efficiently. Observe your kid’s behavior and learn about children’s psychology to bring out the best from your child.
Happy Parenting! Continue the good work.
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Mother of Two children. I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for Good parenting. I understand child development and know how to develop activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.