Stubborn Child Behavior

Children between the ages of 2 to 4 are willing to become autonomous when they start walking. During this period, the child may want to walk without holding hands, climb up the ladder by themselves, eat by themselves or dressthemselves. Proper support of the child’s autonomy effort will contribute to the child’s development.

stubborn child
source: cleape.com

In this period, persistence is observed in relation to the development of the child’s sense of autonomy. He/she may not want to fulfill their parents’ wishes and to take into account their warnings. This is normal for the child’s development and the parents’ attitude towards the he/she is very important.

One of the most common mistakes made by parents is to label such as; stubborn and persistent, and to complain to others such as; He never listens to me, cries constantly and insists on buying a toy ”. This attitude of the parents will cause him/her to accept and reinforce the negative behavior. Instead, it would be useful for parents to talk about the positive aspects of the child.

So What Should A Parent Do With Stubborn Child?

Work with them – So often parents and other adults tell children what to do. This is a problem. They are sensitive to your words, demeanor, tone, atmosphere and overall attitude towards them so they’ll do what they know how to do – defy, talk back, sass, refuse, and make other outward displays of anger and frustration. You need to change your approach and partner with them even if it’s hard, challenging, the last thing you want to do … it will eventually save you time, energy and frustration.

Negotiate – One thing I have learned is that children who are “acting out” need something they are not getting. So ask questions like: What’s going on? How can I help you? Why are you upset? What do you need now? And yes, I also am a proponent of negotiating with them– it sends the right message. You are basically saying, “Yes, I realize you are a powerful being and let’s make a deal.” Again, it is another form of partnering with kids so they win and you win. There’s nothing wrong with this!

Inspire them – Highly sensitive children are very influenced by your words, actions and what they see around them, so use that. Henry, my sixth grade client, refused to do his homework. He hated math and felt like a failure. What he was extraordinary at basketball, so I told him a story about how Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team as a sophomore and went home to cry. He was amazed. We then talked about learning from mistakes, and how they are all stepping stones to our success – but we must apply ourselves. Henry agreed to try his homework again.

Source: psychologytoday.com Maureen Healy

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