Dealing with Stubborn Children
Stubborn as a mule
"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.
Stubbornness is 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
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