How to Deal with Capricious and Stubborn Children
How often do you hear “I don’t want to do it”, “I don’t want to eat it” or “I don’t like it”? From time to time children demonstrate caprice and stubbornness. Capricious and stubborn children usually make problems for their family members and teachers and sometimes it becomes difficult to deal with it.
A stubborn or capricious child is one who does not accept orders, suggestions, requests, or advice. A child reluctant to obey and comply with the rules. To everything that parents ask, their response is always negative. Their attitude is rigid and disagrees with almost everything said.
Many parents worry about when their child will eventually call down and whether they stop all whims. However, it’s difficult to answer. Everything is depends on the society where the child is grown and how is treated. First of all, let’s distinguish capricious children from stubborn ones.
The difference between capricious and stubborn children
Children start to demonstrate disobedience from the very small age. At that time we do not assume it as defiance, as children don’t completely understand you. As a rule they reveal signs of whim at the age of 3 and stubbornness at the age of 4.
An impulsive child, who tries to conquer space for his/her own will. Stubbornness is the refusal of all human contact through a withdrawal towards oneself. They are, for example, children who put ‘on their backs’ in a corner because they don’t want to pick up toys, or don’t want to eat the food you put on the table for them, or that don’t want to play what you propose.
It is a normal part of child’s development process and all children go through this. But, what’s more important, in the adaptation period to the society defiance develops into stubbornness in strong children. And, unfortunately, it develops into caprice in weak children.
Strong children try to achieve or defend what they want. For example, in the kindergarten they may fight with other children to get something or to prove something. They don’t like admitting defeat.
Sometimes parents are able to break stubbornness of their child, in turn characteristic also. These children become weak and dependent on their parents. In other words, they are spoiled and less-confident.
Causes of disobedient behavior of children
Obedience, like any other value, is also learned in education. If the child does not learn to have limits, from the earliest age, when his conscience awakens, he will not accept any kind of limit and will become stubborn. Here are some causes on dealing with capricious and stubborn children:
Changes in daily routine. Momentary defiance usually occurs due to changes in the usual way of life. Maybe child is hungry or very exhausted. Sometimes because of illness they become capricious. As soon as the child returns to the usual life, whim also disappears.
Not being clear about the limits and norms. Parents should review the educational model they follow. Are your children clear about the limits? Establish ground rules, so your children will be aware of when to stop. Explain them what they must or must not do and what will happen if they disobey.
Behavior disorder. When the child has clear rules but continues to disobey, the child may have some type of disorder that makes it difficult for him to control his behavior. Although suffering from a disorder does not always lead to bad behavior, there is a greater predisposition to it because of the lack of self-esteem and insecurity that some children suffer.
Child does not get enough attention. This happens in the family where both parents work and cannot arrange enough time to play with their kid. Often after work parents are tired and have no willing to play. Therefore, sometimes exceeding the limits is an effective way to get the attention of the adult, even if it is through punishment.
Your requirements are very high. Sometime it happens that parents forget that their children are just kids. They are full of enthusiasm, they aspire to know everything – they are curious. Parents don’t like when kids make problems, so they try to strictly control them. As a result, under prolonged pressure children become even more stubborn. Children like when adults treat them as a friend, not as dictator. And of course in that situation the only way to show dissatisfaction is whim.
Suggestions to control and change stubborn behavior
The limits are a call ‘to order’ of this impulse. Clear limits, applied with understanding and patience, are necessary to find a balance between parents and children. Here are some suggestions that help parent and teachers to deal with stubborn and capricious children:
- Do not allow or accept the whim of the child. If we allow it, it will settle forever in his life. Establish rules within your family and demand from your child not to break them. Children should understand what is compulsory to do and what they must avoid doing. From the young age educate them good manners and strong character, so they will make fewer mistakes in future.
- Difference the stubbornness of anger. A child, like any other person, has the right to get angry, not to ‘agree’, but we must avoid that this becomes a stubborn attitude. Get to the root of the child’s dissatisfaction and if possible compromise. Suggest different options and let your child choose one, so in the end both sides will stay satisfied.
- Do not use force or harsh physical punishment to deal with the stubbornness and caprice of children. Sometimes correctly chosen words have considerably more power than punishment. Regular physical punishments lead the children to become impudent.
- Provide the child with an education based on values such as respect, patience, kindness, tolerance, etc. It is no use for parents to use discussion, unbridled authority, humiliation and anger to educate their children and then demand otherwise. You should educate by example. Children need “positive mirrors” to look at.
- You (the parents) must have the same degree of demand regarding their children. Stubbornness and resistance, well channeled, have great values. Resistance should be expected from every healthy child when he believes that his natural rights are diminished. Do not put limits on everything, because we will cut the wings to imagination and creativity. Life asks people to claim and defend their rights.
- Try to spend more time together with your children doing different activities together. For example, going to a picnic, cooking, biking or doing small constructions. Through the teamwork your children get happiness, love and knowledge from you.
- Don’t forget, they are just kids. So, sometimes allow them to make noise, to make mess at home or make clothes dirty when they play outside. They have the right to fully enjoy their childhood. In the future your kids will memorize these moments
with happiness on their faces.
- Moreover, when you are with children always control your emotions, actions and
words you say. In most cases children imitate their parents. Therefore, avoid
outburst of anger in order to not cause defiance in your kids. Also, do not shout
and be attentive to words that you use. Because later in similar situation they will
react in the same way towards you.
Overall, whim and stubbornness is an inevitable stage in the development process of each child. How to deal with capricious and stubborn children is all up to us – adults. With the right actions you can successfully handle with it or with wrong actions you may even worsen the situation. Anyways, it is impossible to dislike children no matter what they say or what they do!
Very useful article!