Dealing with a stubborn child

Your child will lock horns with you over a million things—homework, playtime, studying, movies. The list goes on forever. So, if you want to know how to deal with your child during one of his bouts, read on.

Mansi Kohli
Tips for ParentWritten by: Mansi KohliPublished at: Feb 01, 2013Updated at: Feb 04, 2013
Dealing with a stubborn child

Dealing with a stubborn kidYou’re in a mall, passing through the toy section when you suddenly hear a child wailing at the top of his voice. He’s crying, screaming, kicking things about because he wants something and wants it now. The sense of déjà vu is all too strong.

Your sympathies lie with the poor red-faced parents. After all, you’ve been through a similar incident with your own kid just a day ago. You know exactly what it feels like to have dozens of pairs of eyes suddenly swerve in your direction, judging you and your parenting skills.

Well, guess what? This little incident is going to repeat itself in many forms in the next few years. Your kid may stop throwing tantrums in malls over the years, but be assured that he will lock horns with you over a million other things—homework, playtime, studying, movies. The list goes on and on. So, if you want to know how to deal with your kid in one of his bouts, read on.


Lay down the rules early on


First the basics- lay down the rules early on. You’re the parent, which means that you’re the one with all the powers (at least till your kid morphs into a teen). Make it clear from the start that there will be consequences for your kids’ actions. Your children are yours so don’t expect anyone else to step forth and do the disciplining. Remember, you have to play the ‘bad cop’ to ultimately be the ‘good cop’.


Actions will have consequences


Explain from the outset to your kid what will happen if he misbehaves. And follow through with the consequences. Remember, your kid is not the boss. For example, don’t buy your kid things just because he’s throwing a tantrum in the mall. This only lets him know that when out in public, he can get away with such stuff. And once he’s on to this, be sure that this scenario will be repeated again and again. Take your kid aside and firmly let him/her know that he’s not going to get the new toy that’s caught his attention. Don’t start with shouting at your kid at the top of your voice, this only adds to his embarrassment and will only make him dig in his heels more. But don’t give in. If need be, give your kid a swat on the bottom. Now, don’t translate that into beating your kid black and blue or even slapping your kid on his face. These actions are not allowed. But, if your kid is getting out of hand, then a swat on the bottom is usually good enough.


Try and see things from your kid’s point of view


Another thing to do is to try and see things from your kid’s point of view. Try to find out why your kid is behaving in a certain manner. If he’s not eating, find out what is it about the food that he doesn’t like. If he doesn’t want to study, it may be because the lessons are too hard or too easy for him. Bottom line, talk to your kid.
Get to know what’s on his mind. Once you know, come up with a solution with your kid. Don’t shut him out. Find out what works for him best too. You’ll be surprised how just a few tweaks here and there can have positive effect on your kid.


Don’t make unreasonable demands on your child


That’s one sure way to disaster and parenting hell. Understand that your kid has limits and respect those. Remember that little lesson your parents taught you—‘When you give respect you get respect’. Well the same applies for your child. Ask your kid for the moon and you’ll end up getting an earthly pebble. Be receptive to what your kid tells you. Parents who shut their kids out ultimately end up being alienated from their offspring.


Praise him for being good


Every child needs praise. This is a rule and not an exception. Just as you would discipline your kid for bad behaviour, you also need to praise him for being good. This only adds to your kid’s sense of security. Make him a healthier, happier and well-adjusted child. Every time your kid behaves himself in public or even in the house, praise him and reward him.

Last but not least remember that not all stubbornness is bad. There are times when your kid may be right and you wrong. Once again, all you need to do is be on the lookout to see what’s bothering your kid. Once you’ve identified the problem, you can go about seeing how to have it fixed. Your child is your sapling. Only with your love and attention will he be able to grow into a strong tree.