Remaining calm in the face of frustrating behavior can be difficult.
Some kids are born into this world with clenched fists. As toddlers, they’re demanding and refuse to cooperate. As preschoolers, they might as well have the word “no” tattooed on their foreheads. Tantrums are as natural as breathing for these troublesome tykes and parenting them can be a challenge. At times, you may even fantasize about the stork flying Mr. Cranky Pants back to where he came from. Since that’s not an option, however, learning to understand and deal with your stubborn child is the most reasonable -- and least problematic -- option.
1Accept her stubborn streak. It’s as innate as her sense of humor and blue eyes. Rather than wishing it away, reflect on ways in which this willfulness is a blessing. She’ll grow up knowing what she wants. Stubborn people are rarely wishy-washy. She won’t spend her 20s flitting from job to job trying to find herself. That’s not to say stubborn and lazy don’t go hand in hand. Stubborn children are often extremely bright, and with intelligence there can be a tendency toward being lazy – everything comes easily to them, so why not? Understand her stubborn personality and guide her in a positive direction.
2Deal with your child calmly. A stubborn child will always be looking to go for the fireworks -- if we maintain our composure in the face of trouble, he won’t try to up the ante. Do not have an emotional reaction. Starve his misbehavior by not feeding it with your energy. Redirect your energy towards rewarding positive behavior. Of course, this is often easier said than done. When you do lose your cool, take a few moments to calm down. Then apologize and start again. Your calm will rub off on him.
3Communicate your expectations and what the consequences are when they’re not followed. When it’s time to leave the park, give her a two-minute warning. Then tell her it’s time to go. If she runs away or refuses, tell her there will be no more trips to the park for a while if she doesn't comply. If she continues to refuse, be firm about the consequences. Don’t back down. A stubborn child will pounce on any weakness and use it to her advantage. Calmly gather her up and carry her away kicking and screaming if need be -- then no trips to the park for a week. You don’t need excessive reprimanding. She knows what went down, and rubbing it in her face could have explosive results.
4Choose your battles. We’ve all heard this advice, and with a stubborn child, it’s especially true. If he wants to wear his Spider Man costume to preschool, no harm, no foul. A willful child needs to feel some control over his universe in order to feel secure. Let him make the decisions that aren’t really that important in the grand scheme of things. If need be, offer him options -- that way, he's not being told what to do, he'll feel like the choice is his own and you're getting what you want.
5Establish a connection with her. This will help put her in a positive frame of mind, and more likely to do what you ask without a fight. For example, ask her to pick a book before bed and compliment her choice. “Oh, I love this book. I’m so happy you’ve chosen it. Good idea, sweetie!” She’ll feel powerful, smart, loved and hopefully bedtime won’t be a battleground.
6Encourage him to own his mistakes. A common quality in stubborn adults is the refusal to take responsibility for mistakes. They’re the ones that blame everyone else when something goes wrong. The problem with this, besides being incredibly annoying, is they don’t learn from their mistakes. Be a good example and admit when you’ve made a mistake.
- Dealing with an obstinate child can be frustrating and difficult; if need be, give yourself a time-out to regain your calm and composure.If bedtime is a battle, play her some soothing music before it’s time for shut-eye. Music can have a calming effect that will take the fight right out of her.