Why a Stubborn Child may not really be stubborn
What makes a stubborn child refuse to listen or co-operate or behave badly in public and at home?
Many a parent has told me they have a stubborn child, however in most cases there is a good reason for your child’s behaviour, it may just not seem obvious to you as view this behaviour as manipulative, naughty or a way of trying to control you. It is exhausting and it’s easy to see why a parent feels like giving up but this may be a defeatist attitude but at the same time you don’t want to give in so what is the best way to approach things?
5 Common reasons why your child won’t co-operate or listen to your requests and how to ease matters.
1. Communication is not clear or is not understood properly.
i.e. You are repeating the same request and your child ignores you, are your expecting your child to know what you are asking from an adults perspective rather than a child’s? Too many words and several commands one after another may be too much for them to absorb, especially if they are engrossed in play.
How to help- Talk slowly, use as few words as possible, remember a child has a short attention span
2. Lack of Motivation-Your child is unmotivated to do the task requested.
i.e. You want to go out to the shops and you’ve promised a visit to the park on the way but your child wants to play with Lego or continue colouring.
How to help- Make appropriate allowances for each individual child, they all respond differently and what motivates one may not work with another. I use a simple two or three step system whichever is appropriate, that will incentivise a child or may offer a ‘reward’ or sticker if he/she co-operates. Often positive praise is enough.
3. Timing- Your requests fall on deaf ears as your child has come home from a busy day at nursery or school and is exhausted.
i.e. Your child has ran around the playground or garden for 20-30 minutes and has now depleted themselves of energy and simply needs a break from the days’ activities.
How to help– Make sure your child has plenty of snacks and takes time to rest between activities to calm his or her mind.
4. Inconsistent-use false threats-Your child only co-operates when you offer a bribe or something he/she has asked for.
i.e. You want your child to tidy up their toys or help lay the table and demands that you give them a biscuit or i-pad time.
How to help- Stick to your guns or use a time delay tactic and agree to their request once the task has been completed or distract with something else.
5. Change your tone or language– No one likes to be shouted at.
i.e. You’ve asked politely several times and got no response so you raise your voice, then you feel guilty afterwards or your child begins to copy you. That’s when I use ‘the chocolate test’, it’s one of my favourites and works exceptionally well!
How to help– Assess the situation and work out how bad it is and whether or not your expectations are what they should be for the age of your child. If not, adjust and watch the difference.
If you are struggling to make head way with your child or want some behaviour pointers that will give you the tools and techniques that will get your child on top form, get in touch and book a ‘parenting-breakthrough’ call and we’ll soon have your child happily responding to your requests without requiring bribes or using the ‘naughty step’ or visit www.sanitynanny.com