All children enter into this world as individuals. They all look different and all have their own, unique personalities. Some children are so laid-back that they're almost asleep and some children are highly-strung and fret about anything and everything. Often parents discover that their own personality suits that of their child: Mom is relaxed and easy-going and their child is too. Consequently there are few fights about getting ready on time or having a neat and tidy bedroom. However, similar personality types can also spell disaster. Take for instance a mom or dad who is strong-willed. A child who also possesses this trait could come to blows with their parents when they want something or to do something that their parents disagree with. How can you manage such situations without anger or frustration? Here are some tips to help you on your way to understanding and tackling the problems associated with a stubborn child.
Firstly, it is important to recognize that even apparently negative characteristics can have positive aspects to them. The stubborn child is also a child who is determined and knows what they want. They are probably unswayed by the opinions of others and are therefore less likely to be drawn into trouble by other children. Celebrate this aspect of their personality whilst giving them advice on how to soften the harsher side of their persona. For example, you could tell your child how wonderful it is that they have their own opinion but that other people have good ideas too, so it's worthwhile listening to everything teachers, friends and family have to say.
When you do come to blows with your child and they will not budge, try to mentally distance yourself from the situation and ask yourself, 'Have I actually listened to my child's request?' Often parents assume that their child is being stubborn for the sake of it, rather than for having a rational reason behind their actions. Listen to what your child is telling you. If their request is unreasonable, then continue to stand your ground and refuse. However, if after short consideration, you feel that there could be room to negotiate, then do so. Do not automatically give in to your child and give them everything that they demand, but find a common-ground and meet somewhere in between. By doing this you are showing your child that you are not a stubborn person and that you are willing to listen. They are then more likely to enter into a negotiation with you in the future.
Secondly, don't assume that everything you ask your child to do will be a struggle and result in a fight. You are entering into a conversation with your child, not a battleground. Sure, they may be stubborn, but if you assume the worst, your body language and tone of voice is more than likely to irritate your child and they will consequently become defensive and unwilling to back down. Use a neutral tone of voice, be firm, but also be kind.
When tempers do flare and your child is being particularly stubborn, it is time to spring into action to prevent your child's stubbornness from ruling what goes on in your household. First and foremost, stand your ground. If you have considered your child's requests and they are totally unreasonable and there is no room for negotiation, then do not back down. Explain to your child why they can't stay up watching TV until 10pm, or can't have chocolate for breakfast. They will probably continue to whine and insist that they are right, so it is now time to enter the next phase of your plan: ignore them. Busy yourself with something else, ideally something that they would like to be a part of. Start playing a card game, drawing a picture or doing a jigsaw puzzle. Your child will hopefully be distracted, want to play along and forget what they were moaning about in the first place. Of course, this method of distraction is only available to parents when they're at home. Trying to distract your child when you're out and about is a little trickier. If you're in the car, start singing along to the radio. If you're in the supermarket, start counting the items in your shopping cart. Do anything that takes the conversation away from your child's moans and groans and towards something more positive.
If stubborn children always win every disagreement with their parents, they will learn that perseverance pays off. Don't give in to their demands and before long, your child will realize that being stubborn gets them nowhere. They will still try to push your buttons every now and then, but they will know that they will ultimately not get their own way. A stubborn child does not have to be a troublesome child.
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