Photo by Ben White
As a parent, you might be aware that many children are prone to stubbornness. A child can be stubborn especially during toddler and teenage age. In some cases, it can be a way that can manifest itself so that you teach your child how he/she can manage it. In some instances, it can indicate that your child is testing his/her boundaries so that he/she can fight for freedom. Sometimes when your child is trying to express himself/herself he/she can do that by being stubborn. Therefore, dealing with a stubborn child will require you to be more patient as you observe and understand better his/her behavior pattern. Below are some of the ways on how you can deal with the stubbornness of your child especially when he/she is above 2 years old.
1. Try to listen
A stubborn toddler can have a strong option and in many cases, he/she will try to argue. As a parent, you must know that communication involves both you and your child. In case you wish your toddler to listen to what you say, then you should be willing to first listen to him/her.
A child can become uncooperative if he/she feels that he/she is not heard. If your child keeps on insisting that he/she will do or not do something that you tell him/her, the best way for you will ensure you have an open conversation to know what is bothering him/her. Ensure you approach your child in a calm manner. For instance, your child may refuse to eat food since he/she might have a stomachache. If you listen to what he/she says then he/she will tell you why he/she is not will willing to eat any food.
2. Stay calm
When a child makes a mistake and you try to yell at him/her you can make your conversation to be sour. As an adult, you have the responsibility of building a good conversation. Therefore, you should assist your toddler to understand why he/she is supposed to behave in a specific manner or do something which you think is good. You can explain to your toddler the benefits of doing what you are advising him/her to do.
In case you find yourself angry at your child, try to find ways of calming down. For instance, you can step outside your house so that you can exercise or meditate as you calm down. You can also listen to music. In case you had already shouted at your toddler, you can later apologize to him/her so that the toddler knows that it’s important for one to apologize when he/she makes a mistake. This can enable your toddler to calm down so that he/she can open up on the issues at hand.
3. Respect your toddler
You toddler cannot accept to be controlled if he/she is forced. Some of the ways on how you can build respect between you and your child are:
- You should have consistent rules for your toddler so that he/she knows the boundaries.
- Empathize with your toddler by entertaining their ideas and feelings.
- Allow your toddler to do some tasks which he/she can for himself/herself, without assisting him/her. This will imply that you trust him/her.
- Ensure you fulfil what you say. That way your toddler will know that if you promise to do something you must do it.
4. Work with your child
A stubborn child is highly sensitive on how you treat him/her. Therefore, you should be careful on how you use your vocabulary, body language and tone. When your toddler becomes uncomfortable with your behavior he/she will do what he/she knows best to protect himself/herself. As a result, he/she can display aggression, talkback and rebel. To avoid this you can do the following:
- Instead of yelling at your toddler, you can partner with him/her.
- You can use polite statements such as; why can’t we try this, let us do this. Avoid using statements such as I want you to do this now.
- You can use fun activities so get your toddler do something, For instance, if you wish your stubborn child to avoid playing with their toys, you can start by doing that yourself and ask him/her to assist you in doing that.
5.Learn to negotiate
Many people believe that it’s not good to give into the demands of their children as they fear that if they do that their children will not respect them. However, you should know that your child needs to feel that he/she has control over his/her life. As a parent, you should avoid controlling all decisions which involve your child. If the choice of your child does not compromise his/her safety or health then you can leave him/her do what he/she likes.
When you negotiate with your child it does not imply, you will always give into his/her demands. What it means is that you are practical and considerate to him/her.
6. Understand the perspective of your child.
To understand better the behavior of your stubborn child, you can get a solution from him/her. Put yourself in the shoes of your toddler so that you imagine what might be making him/her behave in a certain way. By knowing more about your child, you will be at a better position of understanding how you can deal with his/her stubbornness.
If you understand the frustration, anger or disappointment of your child and support him/her to overcome that he/she will cease to be stubborn.
For instance, your child may not be willing to do a certain task since he/she is overwhelmed by it. To avoid frustration, you can break the task into smaller tasks which the child can finish within a few minutes. You can include some breaks so that the task becomes less stressful.
7. Create a warm environment at home
Usually, children do learn by observing what other people are doing. In case they see you arguing with your partner or other people all the time, they can start to imitate you. If you have marital issues, you can create a stressful environment which can affect the behavior and mood of your children. As a result, your children can be aggressive. Therefore, you should try as much as possible not to argue in front of your children.
In summary, your children require discipline and rules so that they know that for every action that they do has good and bad consequences. Ensure your child is fully aware of what can befall him/her when he/she breaks the rules. As you control your child, he/she should know that what you are doing is not meant to punish him/her but make him/her realize that his/her behavior is not good. If you follow the above guidelines definitely you will be able to control your stubborn child who may be above 2 years old. You can also read more on how you can deal with your stubborn child by looking at here.