One of the most challenging things parenting entails is dealing with temper tantrums and stubbornness of their little one. Children could get angry for various reasons – be it for not getting their favourite snack when they want it or quarrelling with a friend for a toy. And one way of expressing the frustration is by refusing to do what is required (any everyday activity such as having a meal, going to bed and so on) and being uncooperative in general. In such instances, it is easy to get carried away and resort to either pleading or yelling. However, neither of these is conducive and can produce a negative effect on the child in the long run.
Dealing with your child’s adamance might require additional effort and patience. At the same time, the onus is on you to help them develop the skills to cope with a bad temper. Here are a few strategies you can adopt to help tackle your stubborn child:
- Hear It Out
Instead of simply shutting yourself off from their tantrums, try to listen to your child. When little ones are stubborn, they act defiantly because they feel that they are not being heard. If they insist on doing a certain thing, avoid talking down to them or arguing against it outright. Lending an ear and making way for an open conversation for what is bothering them can work wonders. For example, if your child is refusing to eat something healthy, do not force your way. Instead, ask them the reason behind their refusal and listen patiently. It could be because they are not feeling well or they simply want to be playful. The trick here is to approach in a calm and practical way instead of a confrontation.
2. Provide Clear Explanations
Sometimes, parents tend to simply say “no” to their child’s unreasonable demands and stick to it, instead of explaining why. For kids, this can be frustrating. While you need not provide a detailed explanation, backing your statement with a brief explanation can help the child understand the situation. It will also present you in a less imposing manner and thereby avoid a power struggle.
When kids scream or shout when throwing a tantrum, you need to stay calm. If you allow yourself to be provoked and become angry, and yell in turn, an ordinary conversation between you and your child will essentially turn into a shouting match. This can only make things worse. As an adult, it is up to you to veer the conversation to a logical and practical conclusion. Help your child understand why it is important to behave a certain way or do something that needs to be done. To keep your poise and calm, you could exercise, meditate or listen to music. It is a great idea to play relaxing music at home from time to time so that it has a soothing effect on everyone. Once in a while, play your kid’s favourite music to connect to them and help them unwind.
4. Provide Options
When children are adamant, they are bent on doing what they want and do not like being instructed what to do. In such a scenario, you want to provide options to your child instead of directives to cope with their frustration. For example, if your little one does not want to put away the toys after playing with them, you could suggest the option of putting them away or going to bed early. Do not make the second option appear to be a punishment. It is what it is – simply a less attractive choice. Your child could remain defiant and say, “I am not going to put the toys back!” If that happens, tell them in a matter-of-fact manner that it was not one of the choices. You may need to repeat yourself a few times but when you keep saying the same thing calmly over and over, your kid is likely to give in.
5. Commend Good Behaviour
When your child learns to deal with their anger in a positive way, make sure to show them that you’ve noticed it by praising them. If they calm down and make the right choice, compliment them using words like “Thank you for understanding and taking no for an answer. I appreciate it.” Encouragement can have a great positive effect, making your child want to do the right thing organically in the future.
6. Create a Healthy Ambience
It is no secret that children mimic adults. So, the way you handle your own frustration and anger is sure to influence your child. Practise positive coping methods like engaging in a relaxing activity or moving away from a frustrating situation. You child is likely to follow your example and do the same.
Adamance is not a bad thing because when put to the right use, it can help a person take a stance, sincerely engage in a productive pursuit and make breakthrough discoveries. However, as a parent you want to channel your child’s energy in the right direction. The more effectively you are able to handle an adamant child, the better they will learn to internalize and model good behaviour.