Stubbornness in children is a part of growing up especially in the toddler phase. Usually children are seen to have an unrelenting attitude where they are openly defiant to what they would like to do. As children and toddlers are not born with a set system of decorum , they are constantly trying to explore, experiment, and learn from their environment. We as parents have a role to see them through this phase by discouraging stubborn behavior at the same time being aware that we are dealing wit fragile minds and any untoward harshness can negatively affect young impressionable minds.
When my daughter was 3 years old she was although a very pleasant and cheerful kid, their were times when she could display a surprisingly adamant behavior at getting what she wanted. We often heard ,’I want Lego ‘, “I want play dough ‘, ‘I want new toys’. Perhaps only the ‘I want’ remained constant.Usually all our trips to the market would get hurried with her bawling her eyes out and often times us relenting by purchasing something to appease her.
A friend of mine , who had a 4 year old son was quiet a defeated parent considering he had his parents around his fingers .It often turned out to be quiet a hellish experience for them as parents oftentimes compelling them to make untimely exits from social gatherings and other times leading to one parent to stay at home with the kid , it was a joy killer.
- As told by her most visits to the market would turn out to be a chance for him to, yell and scream ,lie on the floor ,grabbing and pulling stuffs
- usually at social gatherings refusal to share his toys
- quick to grab other kid’s toys
- bold behavior , difficulty in taking No for an answer and outright refusal to obey instructions
- his tool of manipulation being crying, screeching and other emotional outbursts, a general creating of unpleasantness.
Although as modern child psychology attributes most of the childhood behaviors as natural and being in the inherent nature of the child , it will be tragic for the child if we as parents are unable to instill a healthy balance and a sense of society within them and make them aware of what is not accepted in society .
However if every time that our child is keen on acquiring his way and we are easy to flinch or get harshly vocal it might give way to feelings of anxiety and rebellion in the child at a very early age thereby hampering a positive development of his behavior. In order to provide encouragement to the child to positively mold his nature we can try the following:
- In moments of peace or when the child is relaxed, we can explain to the child how essential it is to not always get what we ‘want’ in life,
- the importance of sharing with other kids
- explaining to them that we can not expect from others without doing the same
- by not always giving them too much at an early age
- by not always appeasing them with little bribes;
- by not encouraging to make choices while shopping
- however it does not in any way entail depriving the child of a good quality of life but it means to keep it clear as to who is the captain of the ship
- Divide roles as parents; let one parent pose as a punisher so that during a temper tantrum bout you can remind how the negative repercussions of his actions could lead to that parent to impose punishment
- However ensure mild punishments such as the threat of a time-out only if the child is very difficult, otherwise avoid all harsh reinforcements most of all corporal punishment
- It is also important that we make our child realize that it is alright to be ‘disappointed’ at times!
- The best way in my book of dealing with a child’s tantrum is to ‘ignore’.Remember in the first place if a child behaves stubbornly it could be he is seeking your attention.
Besides this it is essential to encourage a healthy distraction to your child. Certain activities help your child grow out of a stubborn attitude such as
- opportunities to play, learn and grow.
- Regularly provide opportunities to read,
- get a creative outlet such as craftwork,
- learming new things like swimming,
- develop a hobby like painting ,
- opportunities for physical exercise
- and not to forget playing with other children
Problem also arises when we substitute our love with things. As parents it is important to remember that there is no substitute for love. Never forget to shower your child with loads of affections otherwise for it is essential for their psychological, emotional and overall development . Although genetic at times we can also not undermine the power of teaching by examples. No one is a bigger role model for the child than the parent , therein lies the key!