Dealing With A Stubborn Child? Follow These 8 Tips By Expert Child Psychologist To Enforce Healthy Discipline
In this article, our expert child psychologist explains the psychology behind a child’s stubborn behavior and provides incredible techniques on how you can help your child manage his behavior and reinforce discipline at home.
The terrible two’s is rightfully named. It is the age when the child’s favorite word becomes, ‘NO’.
Do you want to eat this? No.
Can you not do this? No.
Will you listen to Mamma? No.
Ever wondered where the child picks up this nasty habit of saying no? It is a no-brainer. A child learns the most from his surroundings. Most of the child’s behavior is simply an imitation of people he interacts with frequently.
“No, don’t eat that!
“No, don’t go there.
“No, don’t do that”
Of course, as parents, we are looking out for our child’s safety when we stop them from doing things, but a child’s mind does not comprehend that. And so, they learn the habit of saying no.
“A stubborn toddler is generally not a cause of concern. Such behavior is natural in children. They are at their crucial development stage. It is when they realize that they can do things on their own. And so they seek autonomy in all things. They are not being stubborn, they are simply exploring the concept of being independent” says the expert child psychologist at Holistic Living.
Yet, a toddler’s tantrums can drive the whole house crazy. Moreover, when concerning behavior is not regulated on time it can escalate into serious problems. For instance, a stubborn child may make unreasonable demands. When these demands are fulfilled with the aim to make the child quiet, it simply reinforces them and increases the frequency of their actions.
So, should you put cotton in your ears and tolerate their shrill cries? Not really. The expert child psychologist suggests some brilliant tips on how you can enforce discipline in your young ones.
1. Stay calm and composed
Ever heard of oil putting off a fire? That does not work. Similarly, if you expect your child to calm down while screaming at them to CALM DOWN then it is more likely to turn into a full-blown tantrum.
So, next time when you see your toddler having a meltdown, approach the situation with patience and understanding. Ask them in a calm and assertive voice, “I see you are having a tough time. Is there something I can do for you?”.
Soft parenting not only helps to regulate stubborn behavior but also helps your child feel safe and loved.
2. Set clear and consistent expectations
Clearly communicate your expectations and rules to your child. But make it fun. You can narrate the rules like a gameshow and set rewards for following them. Make sure that you stick to them as well, and be consistent with them.
3. Offer choices within limits
Give your child a sense of control and independence by offering them choices within limits. For example, instead of saying, “Put on your shoes,” you could say, “Would you like to wear red shoes or blue shoes?” This approach allows them to feel empowered while still following your guidance.
Remember, that your child is not always defying you. They are exploring the world around them, and making their own choices is one way to assert control over their surroundings.
4. Use positive reinforcement
Constantly reminding your child of what they cannot do or what they are doing wrong can severely harm their sense of self. It is of utmost importance to acknowledge and appreciate your child’s behavior. Praise them when you catch them being good. The expert child psychologist suggests to offer specific and sincere praise when they cooperate or make positive choices. This helps to reinforce desired behavior and encourages them to continue behaving well.
5. Use logical consequences
Will you believe me if I tell you that your little one who can pick random things from the floor and put it in her mouth can actually understand logic?
Kids have the capacity to understand the concept of consequences. For instance, when your child refuses to do her homework you can explain to them how doing her homework can help her be ahead of the class.
Or if that does not work, you can let them know that if she completes her homework then she will get XYZ privilege. Make sure that the reward is proportionate to the behavior and something the child actually likes.
6. Empathize and offer explanations
The expert child psychologist says that sometimes, children act stubbornly because they don’t fully understand or agree with the reasons behind the rules. A child who does not blindly follow instructions is a good sign. It means that they can engage in critical thinking, and have their own views.
In such cases, take the time to explain your reasoning and empathize with their perspective. Help them understand the consequences of their actions and how following the rules benefits them.
7. Offer alternative solutions
Encourage problem-solving by offering alternative solutions. If your child is resisting a specific task, ask them for suggestions on how it can be done differently or with more enjoyment. This allows them to feel involved in finding solutions and may increase their cooperation.
8. Lead by example
Majority of the child’s mannerisms are picked up from his surroundings. Your child learns more from watching you than in any other way. Therefore, if you wish your child to limit his screen time then ensure that you are modeling the same behavior.
Similarly, when you want your child to listen to you then you need to do the same for them, And this should not be limited between the parent and the child. It is important to be mindful of how you interact and behave with your partner and other family members as well.
When should you talk to an expert child psychologist?
Stubbornness in toddlers is a natural behavior. However, if the behavior is persistent, extreme, and harming the child’s well-being then it would be advisable to seek the help of an expert child psychologist.
Generally, stubborn behavior is only the tip of the problem. There are other underlying issues that need to be addressed and resolved. For instance, a child who is struggling with separation anxiety may throw tantrums as a way to grab attention.
Expert Child Psychologist can provide an in-depth assessment to understand the root causes of the behavior and help the child develop the life skills needed to manage them effectively.
Moreover, unhealthy family dynamics can also increase the likelihood of problematic behaviors in children. In such cases, expert child psychologist provides effective counselling and guidance on how parents can create a nurturing home for their children.
“Child counselling needs to involve parents as well. They play 80% role in the kid’s life, and hence it is equally important they learn how to develop a healthy parenting style and foster the child’s growth and happiness” says an expert child psychologist.