My daughter is stubborn. In many ways I enjoy that fact, but it’s rough dealing with her sometimes too.
Dealing with a stubborn child is quite an experience. Some days my daughter is cooperative as can be, happy to help, happy to do her chores.
Other days she doesn’t want to do anything, talks back and would rather go to bed or sit through several time outs than do even a lightweight chore.
The trick to dealing with a stubborn child is to try to make it less worthwhile to be stubborn. I can tell you from experience this doesn’t always work, but it can help.
One of the tools I use with my daughter is a chore chart. She knows what she needs to do every day. If she does it, she gets a magnet on that chore, which she finds quite exciting. If she does all her chores she gets an allowance. Sometimes we’ll even throw in a bonus and tell her that we can do a fancy dinner (standard dinner, but served on the good dishes) the next day if she does all her chores.
This often works to decrease the resistance to doing chores.
It isn’t always effective. There are times where it takes quite a bit more to really get her going.
A time out isn’t just a punishment. It’s a time for a child to sit and calm down. It’s time for you, the parent, to figure out how to handle the stubbornness.
I prefer working on redirecting stubbornness to breaking it down. As I see things, a stubborn child may well have more of what it takes to resist negative influences later in life. So even as I struggle with it being directed at me I do delight in my daughter’s stubbornness.
Redirecting it is quite hard. For such a stubborn child my daughter loves to give up on things she can’t do well yet. Of course what she is really doing is being stubborn about learning new skills. She’d sooner say “I can’t” than work at a new skill. I have no idea why.
My best recommendation is to find a challenge your stubborn child enjoys. If you find something they like to do but don’t do well, that stubbornness will stand them in good stead.
In my daughter’s case, that is probably physical activities such as jumping and balancing. It took her forever to learn to jump, but she loves doing it. She’s still not as good at jumping as most kids her age, but she is improving.
So she’s in gymnastics now and quite delighted about it. Her class involves lots of balancing and jumping activities. We have a balance beam at home so she has time to practice here as well.
My hope with this is that she will fight her way through and improve her skills. Seems to be working so far. She loves the class and was hard at work climbing and balancing afterwards.
Raising a stubborn child is like that. Often hard but when you see them directing that stubbornness toward acquiring a skill you can really appreciate the benefits of raising a stubborn child.