3 Essential tips for coping with a stubborn child

Coping with stubborn children

Dealing with a stubborn child can be endlessly frustrating. They ignore you, they chuck things, they throw tantrums in public. They stare you straight in the face as they finger-paint your freshly painted hallway. They make it extremely difficult to keep your cool.

That’s why I’m here with a few simple tips for you to try next time you find yourself fighting to get your child to do as you say.

What are you trying to teach/achieve?
Think about what the end goal is if you’re struggling to persuade your child to do something. What will they learn from it? How can you best help them learn this lesson? Evaluate the importance of the end goal. Some things are just not worth the struggle, and it’s important to know that. Don’t forget to listen to your child, too. They may be being stubborn because of an underlying problem that you may be able to help with. It’s easy as a parent to think you always know best, but that may not always be true.

Pick your battles
If it feels like a constant uphill battle trying to get your child to do anything, it may be time to rethink your strategies. If it’s something important that they need to learn to do, then yes, it is worth it. But letting a few minor things slide will likely be better for you and your child. You will be less stressed and frustrated from trying to get them to do things, and your child will feel under less pressure from you and less like you’re nagging them. If it’s something you know you’re not going to win on, rethink whether it’s worth it.

Reword the question
So you know what you want to achieve, and you’ve decided this battle is definitely worth it. But you’re still struggling to get your child to do as they’re told. Maybe try asking or telling them in a different way. Instead of telling them, “Tidy your room,” ask them, “What do you want to do after you’ve tidied your room?” This shows that you expect them to do as you’ve asked, and makes you sound more authoritative. It makes it seem less like a choice they can take or leave. It also gives them an incentive if you’re going to let them decide what to do once they’ve done their chores or whatever it is you’re asking of them. They might then be more inclined to tidy their room because otherwise they won’t get to do what they want afterwards.

Very often when it comes to dealing with stubbornness it becomes about our own pride. We want to get our own point across and that becomes the main focus. As a parent, you need to step back and consider if it’s worth it. Certainly as a behavioural expert, this is one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn along the way (and many of you will know that a child refusing to do something could wind me up if I let it).

For more parenting tips like this visit my YouTube Channel here.

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