Stubbornness is a known phenomenon in the behavior of some children, where a child refuses to do what is told or insists on doing a certain behavior. Stubbornness is characterized by persistence, determination, and not to back down even in the case of coercion, which is one of the common behavioral disorders. It may occur for a short period or may become continuous, a constant quality, a behavior, and a personality of the child.
When does stubbornness begin?
Stubbornness is a behavioral phenomenon that begins at an early age. A child before two years of age does not show any sign of stubbornness in its behavior because it depends entirely on the mother or others who are providing its needs; so his position shall be neutral and characterized by dependency, flexibility, and relatively docile.
The first stage of stubbornness begins when a child can walk and talk before the age of three or after the first two years as a result of its sense of independence and the growth of its mental perceptions, so stubbornness is connected with fancies and desires of its mind.
As for the second stage, stubbornness in adolescence, where stubbornness comes as an expression of separation from the parents. However, in general and bypass of time a child or an adolescent discovers that stubbornness and challenge are not the right path to achieve his demands, hence he learns normal social customs in give and take. Moreover, he discovers that cooperation and understanding open horizons for new experiences and skills especially if the parents treat the adolescent with some flexibility and understanding, and open the door for dialogue with him along with firm tenderness.
Stubbornness has many forms:
● Stubbornness of determination and will:
This stubbornness should be encouraged and supported because it is a kind of determination. We may see the child persistent to fix a toy, for instance, and when it fails, it shouts to repeat its try over and over.
● Stubbornness which lacks consciousness:
A child makes up its mind to fulfill its wish without looking at the consequences of this obstinacy, therefore it is irresponsible stubbornness. For example, a child insists on watching a movie despite its mother's tries of convincing it to sleep so as to wake up early for school.
● Stubbornness with oneself:
We may see a child trying to disagree with itself and enters internal disputes with itself. A child may refuse to eat while it is hungry despite its mother's tries to force it to have its food, whereas it believes that it tortures itself by starvation.
● Stubbornness is a behavioral disorder:
A child wants to disagree with others because it takes stubbornness as a continuous means and a firm pattern in its personality, and here it needs a counsel of a specialist.
● Physiological stubbornness:
There are some organic injuries to the brain such as the types of mental retardation by which a child appears like a negative stubborn.
Reasons of stubbornness:
Stubbornness is a pleasant quality in natural situations -when it is not exaggerated- and would support self-confidence in children, of its causes:
The orders of adults: May be inappropriate in some cases, not suitable for the reality, and may lead to negative consequences, forcing the child to stubbornness as a reaction to the parental suppression which forces it to do everything. For example, a mother insists that a child wears a heavy coat that hinders its movement during play and would cause it not to win the race with its friends, or its color is different from the uniform which could cause a reprimand for it at school; therefore it refuses to wear it, and the parents are not aware of these dimensions.
Imitation of adults: A child may make up its mind following the example of its father or mother when they insist that a child would execute some orders without convincing it of the reason.
A child's desire to express its personality: A child is passing by the stages of psychological growth, and when the signs of stubbornness show up, it denotes the maturity stage, which helps a child to stabilize and discover its ability to influence. By the pass of time, it will learn that stubbornness and challenge are not the normal ways to achieve demands.
Consistent intervention of parents and the inflexibility of treatment: A child refuses the harsh tone, accepts the word "please," and resorts to stubbornness to get rid of the restrictions which confine its movements and prevent it from doing what it likes.
Dependency: Stubbornness may appear as a reaction to excessive dependency on the mother, the nanny, or the maid.
Feeling of helplessness: Child's sufferings, difficulties during childhood, hard experiences, shocks, or chronic disabilities make stubbornness a means to face the feeling of helplessness, failure, and suffering.
Supporting and responding to the behavior of stubbornness: The meet of children's demands and wishes as a result of exercising stubbornness teaches and supports stubbornness, then it becomes one of the methods that would enable it to achieve its objectives and desires.
How do you deal with a stubborn child?
Experts of education say: Many parents are the main reason of originating stubbornness in children. A child is born without knowing anything about stubbornness. Mothers treat their children with love, and believe that meeting all requests of their children is not part of correct rearing, so when a child insists on meeting all its demands and the mother insists on refusing these demands, a child learns stubbornness; in this case it is preferable to:
Not to force a child to obey and resort to warm and soft treatment in these situations. Simple stubbornness may be overlooked and we may fulfill the wishes of a child since they are not harmful and as long as they are within the acceptable limits.
Fill the time of children with something useful if it is young, and having discussions with him if he is old enough.
Warm convincing dialogue is one of the most successful methods at the beginning of stubbornness because the postponement of dialogue gives a feeling to a child that he had won the battle without right.
Applying punishment should take place directly at the beginning of stubbornness provided that the parents should know the proper type of punishment that will work with the child because the type of punishment is different in effect from a child to another.
The punishment of deprivation or not going out or not practicing lovely things may be effective with a child and does not do any good with another, but do not use the method of beating and insult because it will not work, but it may make a child feels humiliated.
Parents should not give children orders that we expect them to refuse because that will open the way before them not to respond and insist on stubbornness.
Do not describe the child of stubbornness, especially in the presence of other children, such as saying: (Other children are not stubborn like you).
Praise your child when it does something good or when it behaves well in any situation, and be sensible when giving orders.
Finally, you should realize that treating a stubborn child is not easy because it requires wisdom, patience, and not to despair or satisfy with the reality.
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