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Child stubbornness is one of the most common problems that many parents face with their children. Raising a stubborn child is not an easy task, as everything may turn into a permanent struggle inside and outside the home on a daily basis, which makes many parents try to impose greater control over their child, or They take more disciplinary measures and punishment, which may not be the best solution in all cases of child stubbornness. Know the most important things you need to know about child stubbornness .. Causes and treatment

Stubbornness of children

Stubbornness is defined as an unwavering determination to do something or act in a certain way, simply put, it is the refusal to change thoughts, behaviors, or actions regardless of outside pressure to do otherwise, and stubbornness in children can be a genetic or learned behavior due to environmental influences. Dealing with stubborn children may require additional patience and effort, as parents will need to carefully monitor and understand their child’s behavioral pattern.[1]

Characteristics of a stubborn child

Not every child exercises their free will is stubborn, so it is important for parents to know if their child is stubborn or determined before taking any strong action, strong-willed children can be very smart and creative, and ask a lot of questions, which may appear as rebellion, They also have opinions and “doers”, on the other hand, stubborn children stick to their opinion and are not ready to listen to what anyone else has to say. Here are some other characteristics that a stubborn child may exhibit:

  • He has an urgent need to acknowledge him and listen to him, so they will try their best to gain attention.
  • He clings to his independence fiercely
  • They are determined to do whatever they like.
  • All kids get into tantrums, but stubborn kids can do it often.
  • They have strong leadership qualities – they can be “bossy” at times.
  • He raises a lot of questions about everything in the classroom.
  • Extremely intelligent and creative.
  • Determination tends to carry out whatever task he is assigned to, so he will not rest until he reaches a conclusion.
  • He will do everything at his own pace. [1][2]

Causes of stubbornness in a child

Not all children are born with a stubborn personality, but some have acquired this behavior for various reasons as they grow up. Here are some reasons why children grow up to behave in a stubborn manner:

Expect the interview

Children acquire their stubborn personality traits mainly because of the desire to have something. Sometimes children think that their only way to get what they want is stubbornness, for example, the child may be provoked to show stubbornness when the child discovers that only this method can It makes the parents fulfill his desires, so once this discovered theory proves that it gives a positive result, this child will start applying the same stubborn trick as a tool to get what he wants.

Get rid of pain

Children feel pain when parents try to control them in every possible way, for example, not allowing the child to play with the ball in the TV room may seem to be a matter that he has very much control over, sometimes parents have a positive intention behind the reason for their desire such as fear of throwing the ball on the TV and breaking it, However, from the child’s perspective, this measure is seen as a restriction of their freedom, which causes them to feel pain. This pain will lead to an accumulation of stubbornness, and whenever parents try to control children; They will be troubled and react to the event in a negative way. Sometimes the failure to freely make individual decisions is painful for children who value free will and their desire to get rid of this pain is one of the causes of stubbornness in the child.

Preserving identity

Some children greatly value their identity and independence in terms of their ideas, what they love, their beliefs, etc., such kind of children cannot put themselves in a situation in which someone differs from their belief or desire, because other people or children who disagree with them refer To this difference, so, on such occasions, they become so stubborn that they will not even consider other people’s point of view. This is a kind of pain avoidance, however, such kind of stubbornness can impede a child’s development and unreasonably affect their associations with other children.


Children’s stubbornness may be motivated by their desire to take revenge on other children or people who caused them pain earlier, and thus, they upset them whenever they get the opportunity.[3]

How to deal with a stubborn child

You may have a stubborn child who refuses to stay in his bed or kicks a spoonful of pills every time you try to feed him, or you may have a six-year-old who insists on wearing the same clothes every day and stops his feet to challenge every rule or instruction you give them, here are some tips that can be Be helpful while dealing with children’s stubbornness:

Listen to your child

Communication is a two-way street, if parents want their child to listen to them, they must be ready to listen to it first, stubborn children may have strong opinions and tend to argue, they may resort to challenge if they feel they are not being heard, most of the time, When a child insists on doing or not doing something, listening to him and having an open conversation about what is bothering him can do the trick. For example, if a child is in a tantrum to finish lunch, they should not be forced to eat, instead, they can be asked why they do not want to eat and listen – it may be because they are cheerful or have abdominal pain. If parents want their five-year-old child to listen to them, they should try to approach calmly and talk to them in a process rather than face to face, and this is one of the most effective methods of treating stubbornness in a child.

Communicate with your child

When children are forced to do something, they tend to rebel and do everything they should not do, the term that better defines this behavior is counter-will, which is a common feature of stubborn children, counter-behavior is instinctive and is not limited to children alone, so continue With your children and do not force them to overcome child stubbornness. For example, forcing a six-year-old who insists on watching TV after his bedtime won’t help, instead, sit down with them and show an interest in what they’re watching.When you show interest, kids are more likely to respond. Children who come into contact with their parents or caregivers want to cooperate, says Susan Stefelman in her book Parenting Without Power Struggles: “Establishing an unwavering relationship with stubborn children makes dealing with them easier.”

Give your child some options

Stubborn kids may have a mind of their own and don’t always like being told what to do, tell your stubborn four-year-old that he has to be in bed by 9 p.m. and all you get from him is a “no” out loud, Ask your five-year-old to buy a toy you chose, and he won’t want it, so give your children options, not directions, so instead of telling them to go to bed, ask them if they want to read a bedtime story, you may find this an effective way to overcome On the stubbornness of children, the child can continue his challenge and say, “I will not sleep!” When that happens, keep the nerves calm and tell them the fait accompli, “Well, this was not an option.” You can repeat the same thing as many times as needed and as quietly as possible When it feels like it’s settled, the child is more likely to give up. However, many options are not a good thing either, for example, asking your child to choose a set of clothes from the wardrobe may confuse him, you can avoid this problem by reducing the options to two or three groups that you choose and ask your child to choose from Between them.

Respect your child

The imposition of parental authority is one of the reasons for children’s stubbornness. The child may not accept authority if it is imposed on him. Here are some ways you can express respect in your relationship:

  • Ask for cooperation, don’t insist on adhering to directions.
  • Set consistent rules for all of your children, and don’t be easygoing just because you find it right.
  • Compassion for them Never reject their feelings or thoughts.
  • Let your children do what they can for themselves, and avoid the temptation to do something for them, to reduce their burden, this also tells them that you trust them.
  • Say what you mean and do what you say.

Negotiate with your child

Sometimes, it is necessary to negotiate with your children to overcome the problem of stubbornness in the child, it is common for them to act when they do not get what they want, if you want them to listen to you, you need to know what is preventing them from that, you can start by asking some questions such as “ what’s bothering you?” “Is there something?” Or “Do you want anything?” To get them to talk about it, this is telling them that you respect their desires and are willing to consider them. Negotiation does not necessarily mean that you always give in to their demands, it is all about being considerate and practical. For example, your child may not be willing to sleep at a specific hour, instead of being persistent, try to negotiate a bedtime that works for both of you.

Promote a positive behavior for the child

There will be times when you do not know what to do with stubborn children to control their anger and aggressive behavior, but if you react without thinking, you may develop a negative behavior towards the problem and even unintentionally reinforce its negative behavior, for example, your child may say “no” to everything You say roughly, think about it – do you say “no” too often? If yes, then you are reinforcing the negative behavior by example. One of the ways to change the negative responses of your stubborn child and reduce the behavior of stubbornness in the child is the “yes” game, which is a smart strategy recommended by some marriage and family therapists, when playing this game, your child must say “yes” or “no” to everything, Questions like “You like ice cream, don’t you?” “Do you like to play with your games?” Or “Do you want to know if your dinosaur is floating in the bathtub tomorrow?” The more likely you will get a “yes” from your child, the more positive your child responds, the more likely they are to feel heard and appreciated. [1]

Reducing stubbornness in children

Calm nerves
Screaming at a stubborn child will turn a normal parent-child conversation into a screaming match, the child may take your response as an invitation to verbal fight, this will make things worse, it is up to you to direct the conversation to a practical outcome because you are the adult, help your child understand the need to do something or Act in a specific way. You must do what is necessary to keep the nerves calm, such as practicing meditation, sports or listening to music, and you can also listen to quiet music in a loud voice so that the child can listen, or his favorite music from time to time, which helps in overcoming the stubbornness of the child. Working with them Stubborn or strong-willed children are very sensitive to how to deal with them, so be wary of the tone, body language, and vocabulary you use, when they become uncomfortable with your behavior, they do what they know best to protect themselves: rebel, speak up, and show aggression. To treat stubbornness in a child, change the way you approach a stubborn child, as this will change his reaction to you. Instead of telling them what they should do, share with them, as you can use phrases such as “Let’s do it…”, “How about trying that … Instead of “I want you to do…”.

  • Use fun activities to get your kids to do something, for example, if you want your stubborn child to put his toys away, start doing it yourself and ask him to be your “own helper”.
  • Limit time to activity and challenge the child to banish toys faster than you can.This trick is often effective when dealing with children’s stubbornness.

Creating a suitable environment in the home Children learn through observation and experience, if they see their parents arguing all the time, they will learn to imitate it, marital quarrel between parents can lead to a stressful environment in the home, which affects the mood and behavior of children, according to a study, may lead to conflict Marital withdrawal to social withdrawal and even aggression and stubbornness in the child. Understand the child’s point of view To better understand the child’s stubborn behavior, try to look at the situation from their perspective, put yourself in your child’s shoes and try to imagine what they must go through to behave in this way, the more you know your child, the better you can deal with his stubborn behavior. Empathize with the child even if they do not give in to their demands. You can understand their disappointment, anger, or frustration and support them when they are assertive, for example, if your child is not ready to do his homework, if he is required to do a lot of tasks or if your child is unable to Focus, you can help by dividing homework into smaller tasks that can be completed in a short time. You can include short breaks, one or two minutes between tasks to make the activity less stressful for them.

Punishment of a stubborn child

Children need rules and discipline, so the child must know that his actions have good or bad consequences. Therefore, it is necessary for parents to make sure that their children are fully aware of the consequences of breaking these rules in order to control stubbornness in children. The consequences should be immediate, especially when you are dealing with children so that they can relate their actions to the outcome. Reducing playtime, or television time and commissioning some small work can be one of the methods of disciplining the child. The father and mother can also be creative in inventing punishment based on the problem . It is important to remember that the idea is not to punish the child per se, but rather the idea is to make him realize that the behavior he is committing is wrong and bad. [1]

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