How To Deal With A Stubborn Child

child stubborn

As many parents will tell you, parenting and raising children is never easy. But if you have a strong-willed child, it can make simple, everyday tasks all the more difficult. That’s because you might have a toddler who is refusing to do anything you say or cooperate with you, no matter how hard you try to plead.

Luckily, there are several different ways that parents can deal with a stubborn child, for lack of a better word. In adulthood, a stubborn person is someone who refuses to change his or her mind about an idea or an action that he or she is about to take. Children, of course, can be the same way. Stubborness is usually a reaction into an underlying emotional issue. But with kids, it’s an attitude that they themselves are trying to figure out themselves. If they fight hard enough, they learn that they get what they want. It might be a battle, but for many kids, it’s a battle worth fighting for.

As parents, it is our job to help our children navigate through their feelings. After all, dealing with a stubborn child isn’t always easy. In fact, it can often become a challenge.

Be Kind

child in bedroom crying
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It might be tough, but as parents, we should reiterate that kindness always wins. Just think of it this way: if your boss is being harsh with you, will it make you double down and cave in to his or her demands? Or will it just make you resent your boss even more? Respect is a two way street, and that’s something kids should learn very early in life.

Also, keep in mind that kids, just like adults, are more motivated to listen and do something that they are told when it’s asked in a more considerate and friendly way.

Don’t Make A Scene

stubborn girl arms crossed
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The last thing you want to do with a stubborn child is make a scene – especially in public. Because chances are your stubborn child might fight back and take on an even more aggressive stance. According to psychologists, a stubborn child might yell or fight back when he or she feels like they are being emotionally ganged up on or attacked.

As difficult as it may be, your best bet is to carry out any sort of punishment behind closed doors or at least as discreetly as possible. Remember that humiliating a child in public will do them more harm than good, especially when it comes to their self-esteem.

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Stay Firm

child getting in trouble from dad
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Remember, no matter how hard your child tries to convince you that he or she deserves that last cookie, an extra ten minutes of screen time, or an extended bedtime curfew, you are the boss. And as the boss, it’s your job to make sure that all rules and regulations are followed at all times. Stay firm with your child and reiterate why you are asking them to do their task or chore.

While some people suggest that you use bribery as a way to coax your child into becoming less stubborn, this won’t always work. In fact, your child might end up thinking that he or she deserves a prize or reward each and every time they are asked to do something.


mom son talking on couch
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The best way to get through to a stubborn child (or stubborn adult for that matter) is to listen. When we take the time out to listen, we are showing our children that we respect their opinions, their point of view, and above all, their feelings. Now, that’s not to say that you should accept their counter argument, but listening to them will help show that you definitely respect them.

Remember to also be humble and keep an open mind by reserving judgment. As much as we are trying to teach our kids the difference between wrong and right, they are still kids. Remind yourself that you are not always right.

Connect With Them

child and mom laughing whisper
Credit: iStock / Liderina

Remember to connect with your child. Get down on your child’s level and connect with them. Also, try and build a congenial environment at home. The more everyone is hospitable, agreeable and friendly, the more of a chance that you’ll get your child to eventually cave in and listen. After all, children to pick up all of their habits from us. What they see is what they usually copy on their end. If you are flexible, chances are that your child might adapt to being flexible themselves, too.

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