How to Discipline a Stubborn Child. Any parent will tell you that stubbornness and children go together like peanut butter and jelly. Children tend to be especially stubborn during the positive discipline for toddlers pdf and teenage years, but stubbornness can happen at any age.
Teaching stubborn children to express themselves and deal with their stress in healthy ways is key to effective discipline. Discipline a stubborn child by remaining calm, listening to and understanding the child and setting a good example of acceptable behavior. The first three years of life are known as a “critical period” in child development, since a baby’s brain is constantly growing and learning, storing information that he will use for the rest of his life. Baby behaviors that might seem like stubbornness or even naughtiness are actually their natural processes of learning about cause and effect. For example, if you are in the habit of just saying “no” or making an angry face every time your baby does an unwanted behavior, it is possible that the baby is simply repeating the behavior to see if your reaction stays the same. By varying your response to the behavior, your child will see that he cannot always get the response he wants and he will try different behaviors. If your baby is stubbornly touching the same breakable item every day or refuses to stay out of the kitchen cabinets, instead of punishing or disciplining the child, rearrange the home to make it safe and accessible for her.
After all, it is her home too, and she learns best when she can explore it. Babies learn by exploring, and are not trying to be naughty by getting into things. Move your breakables and “babyproof” your home rather than trying to squelch normal learning behaviors. As your baby grows, you will discover new areas that need to be made safe for her.
This is all part of structuring her environment so that she is safe and has the most potential to learn and play without risk. Most babies and toddlers spend their days hearing “no” after “no,” and rarely engaging in the behaviors they choose. After you have changed your home environment to make it safe, make it your goal to say “yes” as often as it is safe and possible to do so. Saying “yes” will let your child take charge of his learning experiences and explore things that are interesting to him. Let your child spend time outside, doing arts and crafts, or splashing in the tub as much as possible.
Creative and physically-expressive activities will help to use up some of that toddler energy, helping him sleep better which in turn results in a more compliant and less stubborn child. If your baby is headed for a behavior that is off limits, say his name and then redirect his attention to a toy or distraction that he enjoys. Keep an arsenal of strategies ready to redirect your baby’s attention at a moment’s notice. For example, bring his favorite small board book, snack, or small toy in your purse when you leave the house. Keep the object hidden in your purse until you need it.
If you and your child are at a friend’s house and the child is headed toward an electric cord, say his name and then ask if he wants his ball. The distraction is likely to catch his attention and divert his behavior. One of the most common bad behaviors that babies and toddlers repeat is hitting, biting, or kicking. They do it to see what type of reaction they will get, not to hurt you or others.
It is important that you teach your child how to interact with others in a safe way. When the baby hits you, take hold of the hand she used, look her in the eye, and say, “We don’t hit. You can also use your hand to touch her gently, to show her the difference between hitting and a soft touch. Use this same technique to teach a baby or toddler how to safely interact with pets and younger babies. You can also try reading simple board books to her, such as “Hands are Not For Hitting” by Martine Agassi and Marieka Heinlen, to model appropriate behavior. Think of discipline as teaching. When your child refuses to cooperate or repeats the same bad behavior, your end-goal should be to teach your child to cooperate and not repeat the bad behavior.