Handling Stubborn Children
Your child reaches an age where they become more stubborn and some are more stubborn than others. You have to look back and see if this is something that might have rubbed off on your child by mimicking you or if they are just born that way. You have a child that won’t eat at least 4 peas on his or her plate before they leave the dinner table and they will not eat those peas and are willing to sit there all night with negative consequences. What do you do? Send them to bed without dinner? Threaten them? Or tell them there is no dessert. There are some children that a parent just has trouble reasoning with so you have to figure out how you’re going to handle the situation. If your child is being stubborn because you won’t buy him or her the toy they want, then just take them back to the car and go home. Don’t lose control and start yelling because then they know they have the upper hand. Take them by the hand or put them in their stroller and say time to go home now. They have to know there are consequences that will follow and you are the boss.
There are some kids that will lock horns with a parent or both parents. You can call it stubborn and if one of these kids is yours, you already know that talking directly to the child doesn’t work. It’s their way or the highway. They want to be in control and so do you.
You can try approaching your stubborn kids using psychology, instead of straight on for a change and see what happens. Stop the begging and try being a creative parent because it’s been known to be smart parenting. Instead of begging, pleading and losing control, try to be calm, show respect and use creativity to get the results you want. Kids are only human and want to be included in your everyday decisions about their daily routines. Some kids require more control in order to function properly. Try asking their opinion and let them make the choices which is often just simple answers that gets them to do what parents want. Eventually, let them think it was their idea, it usually works on your husband, so try your stubborn kids as well.
Some kids all enter the power struggle stage where they mess up a room, walk away and start in another room. They leave the mess up for you to clean up. Turn the chore into a game and use a timer and see who can pick up the toys the fastest. Stubborn kids enjoy games and especially challenges, so see how many toys your child will pick up in 5 minutes to start. You can also add a chart to help your child beat the last countdown when it came to picking up the toys. Then comes the reward which can be a good behavior sticker or a new privilege.
You can always ask the stubborn child if they want to be your special helper for the evening so the fighting stops. Reword your sentences and the way you choose your words to your child. Instead of saying we aren’t going anywhere until this is all picked up, try saying “as soon as the toys are put away we can go to the park” or somewhere else they like. If your child claims they wanted to play with a friend instead, just say ok as soon as the toys are picked up.
When you ask your child to be your helper because some chores need to be done, make this a special helper event and you probably will get more help from them with folding the laundry, setting the table for dinner and cleaning some glass on windows and the door. Try to think positive at all times.
When it’s bath time, your child knows when bathtime is over, it’s bedtime, so they are going to poke around in their bath. Most children will fight sleep so you could try some soft music to calm down the situation. Calming music has subliminal effects on small children and this works. The child will start unwinding and getting ready for bed and let your child use their favorite CD to play during their bath and storytime to help them unwind quickly. This works very well with kids that have strong wills, who are anxious and have trouble relaxing by themselves in order to fall asleep.
You are going to have battles with everything from food, to bedtime to picking out their clothing. You will just have to keep your cool and use reverse psychology. Every one of these subjects can be controlled with positive thinking. If your child has too many clothes, rotate them every few weeks so they think they have more clothes to choose from. This gives them a few outfits and lets them pick out their clothes if the outfit is appropriate and matches. Get rid of stained clothing and make sure the clothes are the right clothing for the weather conditions.
Don’t forget to pick your battles and before bedtime, keep it down to 2 or 3 outfits they can choose to wear in the morning to school. Let them think they are in control with the final decision because kids want to feel comfortable with what they are wearing all day too even if they are only 8 years old. Some parents lay out the outfit the night before and the child is fine with it.
If it’s homework time and your child is becoming obstinate, be creative again and see if they are overwhelmed because they are tired and don’t understand something. Some kids can’t focus and if that’s the problem, make sure you help to break their homework into smaller parts for them to do instead of all at once. If your child is antsy, let them run some laps around the house to get out the rest of their pent up energy. Use a timer and let them work for 10 minutes and take a break for 3 minutes to regroup. This is for children that are tough to break and almost all kids can focus for 10 minutes straight.
Don’t forget to make it fun for them to study. If they need more peace and quiet, tell them they can make a tent out of blankets and study inside until they are comfortable. If you have a very independent child, then don’t hover and let them handle their homework. You can always knock and ask if they need help and check the homework when they are about halfway through. There are always answers to raising a stubborn child, just make sure you keep your cool, you are in charge, but let them have some independence in order for them to gain more confidence and grow.