It is a herculean task to manage kids, who are stubborn. Usually, it is something the child acquires by observing the people around him/her. When the immediate family members are stubborn in their own ways it rubs off on the child as well. If a child from his infancy is exposed to a marital life that is full of arguments and yelling, it leaves a scar on the child forever. Hence, it is important that parents take responsibility for their actions rather than pushing the child and shaming them. Most of the times stubbornness stems from anxiety or fear of an overwhelming task and they want to escape an activity that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Children tend to be adamant to get attention from parents; it is the way they know for them to feel heard. When they obstruct the normal set patterns, it is being noticed: like not eating, bathing or going to bed, and they too are getting noticed in a way. Parents can make a stubborn child to his/her chores by giving them few options to choose from, all of which leads to completion of a task. Having lots of tricks actually helps to get going the chores that have stopped.
Let us look at few ways parents can discipline a stubborn child:
1. Increase your tolerance levels and be a good listener
When you have assessed that your child always says ‘no’ to whatever your suggestion may be, and does things in his own way without even looking at you. It is quite understood that he is stubborn and doesn’t want to take your advice or listen to you in the least. As a parent it can be very frustrating and end up yelling or screaming at them.
Remind yourself every now and then that by showing increased levels of tolerance you can handle your child in an effective way. At these moments listen to what your child is saying, is there something that is bothering them? Ask them softly what it is and why they’re acting that way. What is making them act that way?
Most of the answers are hidden in what children are saying, it could be about their day at school, time spent with their friends etc. The mundane things reveal a plethora of emotions.
2. Instead of commanding give them options
After all the tantrums have subsided, approach your child calmly not authoritatively and talk to them about the options that are available. Associate consequences with these options so that kids can relate to it, and if necessary also add why their way of doings things cannot give them a particular benefit they’re aspiring for.
It is better to let your child know the outcomes of the tasks that they’re doing. Will it be good or bad and how it will make them feel is something you can talk about on a regular basis. It is imperative that parents ask about their child’s feelings, it is because their feelings are not validated the child is rebelling without a reason.
3. Watch yourself before you tell them
Are parents reacting to each and everything and display their frustration by yelling or screaming? This behavior in parents represents itself in children, who are constantly learning the exact responses.
Before pointing a finger at your children and tell them how their behavior is, it is vital that parents do an introspection and reflect on the ways they behave around children. One cannot expect a saintly nature without showing the same; at least by reducing your reactions you can act as a role model for the kids to emulate the same.
4. Put yourself in their shoes and try to connect
It is often recommended that a shift in perspective is required, and often does wonders especially in dealing with children. Take the circumstances as your child would and you can perceive that it almost seems scary for them. Puberty causes hormonal changes that makes a child react aggressively, separate them from their emotion this helps in acting responsibly.
Every parent has been through the same cycle but in a tensed state they may say or do something that hurts a child intensely. This actually makes the child nurture the feelings of hate towards parents, always reassure your child that you’re here to help them.
5. Keep the surroundings in mind
The atmosphere at home can often trigger a child to act negatively. It is better to take your child of any surroundings that are not helping him or her to fathom the situation properly. Going for a walk, or spend some time with them in the nearby playground can help calming the child.
If a parent can see that it is the atmosphere at home that is playing a crucial role then talking to spouse can resolve the matter.
Implementing the above ways can bring about a change in your child’s behavior. If the problem still persists and seems to be worse it is better to reach out a nearby counselor or child psychologist.