If getting your child to do even the smallest tasks requires an exhausting battle each day, there is a good chance that you have a stubborn kid on your hands. But while it may be tempting to firmly dig in your heels right along with them, this will most likely just prolong the frustration for both of you.
So what is a parent supposed to do when the stress of it all has finally reached the boiling point? Well, luckily, we have ten surefire tips that can help.
1. Don’t Lose Your Temper
Take a deep breath. Go to another room for a minute or two. Or count to ten. Just be sure to do what it takes to stay calm and not lose your temper. Otherwise, the situation will only further escalate, which is counterproductive to getting the main goal of cooperation achieved.
2. Listen to What They Are Trying to Tell You
If your child is being stubborn about not wanting to do something, stop and ask them questions about why they are acting like that. There could be an important underlying reason. For example, if they keep refusing to go to school each morning, it could be because they are being bullied or the teacher is being mean to them.
3. Work With Them to Create a Plan
One of the best ways to gain cooperation with a child on specific tasks and goals is to work with them to come up with a plan together. Try making a chart that lists out the chores. Ask the child questions about each one and explain why the tasks and goals are all important.
4. Set a Good Example of How to Work Out Disagreements
If a child sees their parents fighting all the time, they will learn to copy the same behavior. So it is very important that they see a good example of how to handle disagreements calmly. That is why parenting experts suggest that any heated debates be reserved for times when the little ones aren’t around. Or, better yet, parents learn to work things out in an amicable manner.
5. Stop Arguments in Their Tracks
Sometimes, even when parents are doing everything right, kids simply don’t want to do what is being asked of them. For cases like this, it is best to nip arguments in the bud right away. This can be done by stating firmly and clearly what type of behavior is expected of them. Be sure to mention the importance of respect and how their compliance is necessary for their own safety and well being. Then, tell them the consequences that will occur if they continue their poor behavior.
6. Offer Choices
Allowing kids to make choices about small things that affect them helps them to learn to make better choices later on in life about major things. Keep the choices within reason though, such as offering small incremental changes to the time that they go to bed or the outfit that they wear to school.
7. Reinforce Positive Behavior
Complimenting children is very important for helping them to develop a good self-esteem. It also helps encourage them to keep working towards their goals and maintaining their positive behavior. So speak up with a few kind words each time that they go to bed without a fight or eat their meal without a fuss.
8. Try a Reward System
Kids love stickers and small treasures. And these items cost next to nothing to buy. So they work great for including in a reward system to change their stubborn behavior.
Whenever possible, work things out with your kids through compromise. For example, if they want to wear an outfit that isn’t appropriate for school, try offering an alternative that will make you both happy, such as a longer skirt, added leggings, or a different jacket.
10. Get Professional Guidance
If everything else has failed, and your child’s stubborn behavior has reached the point where nothing you do is helping to modify it, consider getting some counseling through a licensed family therapist for them and yourself.
As you can see, all of these ten tips for how to deal with stubborn kids are very simple to understand and apply. But the trick to making them work is consistency. Children learn good behavior more easily when they know what to expect and what is expected of them. So if they are constantly in doubt about what they are supposed to do, it can lead to them feeling anxious and confused.
And remember, there is nothing wrong with asking for a little professional guidance if you need it. So don’t wait too long to seek outside help if your child’s stubborn behavior has gotten out of hand.