Answer: Here are ten tips that you can rely on to curb their stubborn behavior.
1. Listen, Don’t Argue
Communication is a two-way street. If you want your obstinate kid to listen to you, you have to be willing to listen to him first. Strong-willed children may have strong opinions and tend to argue.
They may become defiant if they feel that they aren’t being heard. Most of the times, when your child insists on doing or not doing something, listening to them and having an open conversation about what’s bothering them can do the trick. So how do you teach a five-year-old stubborn child to listen to you? You approach him or her sideways, in a calm and practical manner and not head-on.
2. Connect With Them, Don’t Force Them
When you force kids into something, they tend to rebel and do everything they should not. The term that best defines this behavior is counterwill, which is a common trait of stubborn children. Counterwill is instinctive and is not restricted to children alone. Connect with your children.
For example, forcing your six-year-old child, who insists on watching TV past her bedtime, will not help. Instead, sit with her and show interest in what she is watching. When you show you care, she is likely to respond. Children who connect with their parents or caregivers want to cooperate. Establishing an unshakable connection with defiant children makes it easier to deal with them,
Take that first step of connecting with your kid today – give them a hug!
3. Give Them Options
Kids have a mind of their own and don’t always like being told what to do. Tell your four-year-old stubborn child that she has to be in bed by 9pm, and all you will get from her is a loud “No!”. Tell your five-year-old stubborn boy to buy a toy you chose and he will NOT want that. Give your kids options and not directives. Instead of telling her to go to bed, ask her if she would want to read bedtime story A or B.
Your kid could continue to be defiant and say, “I am not going to bed!”. When that happens, stay calm and tell her matter-of-factly, “well, that was not one of the choices”. You can repeat the same thing as many times as needed, and as calmly as possible. When you sound like a broken record, your child is likely to give in.
That said, too many options aren’t good either. For example, asking your kid to pick one outfit from his wardrobe could leave him confused. You can avoid this problem by minimizing the options to two or three outfits picked by you, and asking your stubborn kid to pick from those.
4. Stay Calm
Yelling at a defiant, screaming kid will turn an ordinary conversation between a parent and a child into a shouting match. Your child might take your response as an invitation to a verbal combat. This will only make things worse. It is up to you to steer the conversation to a practical conclusion as you are the adult. Help your child understand the need to do something or behave in a specific manner.
Do what it takes to stay calm – meditate, exercise, or listen to music. Listen to soothing music, play calming or relaxing music at home so that even your kids can listen. Once in a while, play your kid’s favorite music. That way, you can gain their ‘vote’ and also enable them to unwind.
5. Respect Them
If you want your children to respect you and your decisions, you need to respect them. Your child will not accept authority if you force it onto him. Here are a few ways you can model respect in your relationship:
Seek cooperation, don’t insist on adherence to directives.Have consistent rules for all your children and do not be lax just because you find it convenient.Empathize with them – never dismiss their feelings or ideas.Let your children do what they can for themselves, avoid the temptation to do something for them, to reduce their burden. This also tells them that you trust them.Say what you mean and do what you say.
Lead by example is the mantra you should follow here because your kids are observing you all the time, according to Betsy Brown Braun, the author of You’re Not The Boss Of Me.
6. Work With Them
Stubborn or strong willed children are highly sensitive to how you treat them. So be watchful of the tone, body-language, and vocabulary you use. When they become uncomfortable with your behavior, they do what they know best to protect themselves: they rebel, talk back, and display aggression.
Changing the way you approach a stubborn child can change how they react to you. Rather than telling them what to do, partner with them.Use statements like “let’s do this…”, “how about we try that…” instead of “I want you to do … ”.Use fun activities to get your kids to do something. For example, if you want your stubborn kid to put his toys away, start doing it yourself and ask her to be your “special helper”.You could also time the activity and challenge the kid to put the toys away faster than you can. This is a sneaky trick that mostly works.
Remember that the purpose of working with your children is to become their friend.
Sometimes, it is necessary to negotiate with your children. It is common for kids to act out when they aren’t getting what they want. If you want them to listen to you, you need to know what’s stopping them from doing so.
Start by asking a few questions like “What is bothering you?”, “ Is something the matter?”, or “Do you want anything?” to get them to talk about it. This tells them that you respect their wishes and are willing to consider them.Negotiation need not necessarily mean that you always give in to their demands. It’s all about being considerate and practical.For example, your child may not be willing to go to bed at the set hour. Rather than insisting, try and negotiate a bedtime that suits both of you.
8. Create A Congenial Environment At Home
Children learn through observation and experience . If they see their parents arguing all the time, they will learn to imitate that.
Marital discord between parents can lead to a stressful environment in the house, affecting the mood and behavior of the kids.
According to a study, marital discord may lead to social withdrawal and even aggression in children.
9. Understand The Child’s Perspective
To better understand your stubborn kid’s behavior, try to look at the situation from their perspective.
Put yourself in your child’s shoes and try to imagine what they must be going through to behave in such a way. The more you know your kid, the better you can deal with their stubborn streak.
For example, if your child is not willing to do his homework, it is possible that he or she is overwhelmed by the task. If there is too much to do or if your child is not able to focus, you can help by breaking the homework into smaller tasks that can be completed in short time. You could include short, one or two-minute breaks between the tasks to make the activity less stressful for him.
10. Reinforce Positive Behavior
There will be times when you would not know what to do with stubborn children, to control their anger and aggressive behavior. But if you react without thought, you may develop a negative attitude towards the problem and even reinforce his negative behavior unwittingly.
For example, your kid may be saying “No!” to almost everything you say. Think about it – do you say “No” a lot? If yes, you are reinforcing negative behavior by example.
One way to change your stubborn kid’s negative responses is the “Yes” game, a clever strategy recommended by marriage and family therapist Susan Stiffelman.
When playing this game, your kid has to say “yes” or “no” to everything. Questions like “You love ice cream, don’t you?”, “Do you love playing with your toys?”, or “Do you want to see if your dinosaur f
loats in the bath tub tomorrow?” are likely to get a “Yes” from your child. The more your kid responds positively, the more he is likely to feel like he is being heard and appreciated