"Mummy, I don't want to take the
injection," said six-year-old Akash as he darted into the bathroom and
locked himself in. His mother Reena was at her wit's end trying to figure
out a way to persuade her son to come out and go to the doctor's clinic.
In another situation, eight-year-old Pradip refused to eat unless all the
peas were taken out of his plate.
Some children can put mules to shame. When they decide to dig their heels in, no matter how much you cajole and threaten them, they just won't budge. This can be a truly frustrating experience for harassed parents just trying to go about the business of raising good children. It becomes a battle of wills with both sides waiting to see who will give in first. While some children are more stubborn than others, all children display stubborn behaviour at some time or another.
And most parents find that they are at a loss in such situations. Their
instinctive reaction is to react with anger as they feel that their child's
behaviour is a challenge to their authority. However, they soon find that
anger only serves to fan the flames.
not necessarily negative
Stubbornness in children has always
been viewed as a negative trait by their parents. But may be they should
attempt to look upon it in a more positive fashion. A child's stubbornness
may just be his way of demonstrating that he can think for himself and
that he can assert his thoughts and beliefs. Stubbornness gives them a
feeling that they have a measure of control over the situation, which in
turn, boosts their self-esteem. Parents should also make a push to understand
the root of their children's stubbornness. Stubbornness can have a range
of causes. It may vary from irrational fears to resistance to change or
just a simple attack of rebellion.
In the face of stubbornness, parents
have just a few disciplining options. If the battle is about an issue of
values or safety, parents should be prepared for a real battle of wills
because there is no way that they can afford to budge from their stand
in such a scenario. Do not get angry or argue. Simply state your stand,
the reasons for it and the consequences of disobedience. Then follow through.
Hopefully, your child will just throw in the towel. If the issue is not
serious, there is no harm negotiating with your child and arriving at a
compromise. In some situations, it is even surprisingly effective to just
let go. Suddenly faced with no opposition, which constitutes a reward in
itself, the child's rebellion will have the wind taken out of its sails.
Some useful tips
Identify the problem and involve your
child in seeking a solution. You will cease to be the enemy and she will
feel that you are both on the same side.
If you want your child to do something,
try to time your request so that it does not interrupt her while she is
doing something else. This is one way of avoiding conflict.
If your child is not very happy about
change, give her adequate notice so that she knows what to expect and is
willing to cooperate.
Be assertive when asking your child
to do something. You are not asking them for a favour. Also, make clear
the consequences of non-compliance.
Keep in mind that your requests should
Praise her when she is cooperative and
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- The Indiaparenting Team