Stubborn Child of Preschool Age. Tips for Parents
As a rule, every adult puts his understanding in the concept of “stubbornness”. It seems that it already contains a certain negative connotation, dissatisfaction with the behavior of children, whom we call stubborn. Quite often, we mix the concept of perseverance (determination) and obstinacy. And in this case, through our actions and reactions, we can impede the development of the independence and initiative of the child, and these qualities are important for the future of our children.
Each individual has his own reserve of patience and tranquility, therefore, the same behavior of children for some may be unbearable, and for others, it can simply cause minor inconvenience. And, of course, stubbornness can irritate and bore, offend, and anger, and upset. This kind of feeling is especially likely when children, in their perseverance and “obstinacy,” don’t take into account either the interests or the capabilities of adults or the demands of the situation (for example, it is cold outside, and the child categorically does not want to put on a hat).
Thus, the degree of persistence of the child to insist on his own can be different; adults, by virtue of their condition (tired and irritable or benevolent, contented, rested), can perceive the behavior of children differently; the requirements of the situation may vary, but general characteristics corresponding to stubbornness can be distinguished. Stubborn behavior is characterized by categorization, unwillingness to hear and understand another person, to reckon with the interests, opportunities, desires of other people and the requirements of the situation.
In psychology, there are ideas about the causes of obstinacy and age periods when children are obstinately particularly active. What is behind the manifestation of obstinacy?
In the development of children, there are age periods when the desire to insist on one’s own, to do contrary to others (especially adults) is amplified. This is primarily due to the so-called crisis of three years and adolescence. At this time, the desire to do a lot, if not everything, in its own way, on its own is so strong that any actions on the part of adults that contradict it cause a reaction of protest. The child’s behavior is determined by the motto “I myself”. Despite the fact that all children go through periods of age-related crises, for some, they proceed in a mild form and quite quickly, while others experience them sharply, violently, with a strong aggravation of relations with their parents, and this process can drag on for a long time. How the crisis will proceed depends not only on the characteristics of the child’s self-expression but also on adult behavior. Studies show that these periods are milder in families, where adults show respect and interest in the child’s opinion, his point of view, where questions are often asked: “What do you think?”, “What would be interesting to you?”, “What do you think?” etc., as well as where the child is provided with a choice from time to time.
Childish obstinacy can be caused by feelings of resentment, anger, anger, addressed to parents.
In this case, it acts as a means of revenge when the child acts in spite of (“in spite”) adults. Such behavior may indicate a current crisis in the relationship between parents and the child, some kind of conflict in communication.
Stubbornness is an accessible form for a child to declare himself, his desires, and feelings. Recognizing your desires and expressing them in a form understandable to others is not an easy task for a child.
The situations of manifestation of childish obstinacy are also complicated because there is something in them that causes a very strong emotional reaction in adults. Often we are so emotionally involved in a situation where the stubbornness of children is manifested, that we can no longer calmly analyze them, find any sensible, reasonable solution. What makes these situations so difficult for adults and especially for parents? Perhaps the fact is that in children’s stubbornness many adults see a challenge to the teacher’s own competence, a threat to their authority in the eyes of the child. And it is precisely this fact that fuels our desire to fight stubbornness. When all the forces are directed to the struggle, it is very difficult to understand the reasons why the child behaves in this way. In this case, there is a danger of losing sight of the child himself, because all attention is focused on the goals that an adult sets for himself. The goals can be very different, for example: “I must make the child understand that parents must obey”, “I will prove that I am stronger” (smarter, older, etc.). The goals are different, but they have a common feature: the child becomes a means of achieving them. When adults, trying to prove their competence, persistently insist on their own, then the notorious stubbornness is manifested no less than in children. Thus, a vicious circle is obtained where the stubborn behavior of one person generates and supports similar reactions in another. but they have a common feature: the child becomes a means of achieving them. When adults, trying to prove their competence, persistently insist on their own, then the notorious stubbornness is manifested no less than in children. Thus, a vicious circle is obtained where the stubborn behavior of one person generates and supports similar reactions in another. but they have a common feature: the child becomes a means of achieving them. When adults, trying to prove their competence, persistently insist on their own, then the notorious stubbornness is manifested no less than in children. Thus, a vicious circle is obtained where the stubborn behavior of one person generates and supports similar reactions in another.
What kind of feelings can adults have when stubborn children are more or less clear to us, but what can a child feel when they are forced to do something that he does not want, are they struggling with his stubbornness?
Remember your childhood situation when you were stubborn, but adults didn’t reckon with your “I don’t want to”. This may be a specific situation that has arisen only once in a lifetime or repeats over and over again. Remember where it happened, how old you were. Relive the memory of how adults forced them to do something as they considered necessary, what they said at the same time. How did you feel in this situation? What did you want to do?
Now come back now. Through the prism of their memories, it is easier to understand and make out your own child. Often children perceive the struggle with their stubborn behavior as a struggle with themselves, they can feel helpless, hatred, sadness, self-pity, resentment, anger, fear. The child at this moment may have different desires: to fool around, hit the parent, break something, run away and hide, cry, scream.
How to move from opposition to a mutual understanding:
• If the child persists in his unwillingness to do something, it makes sense to clarify, ask what exactly he does not want. Friendly questions from adults give the child the opportunity to feel that they want to understand him, and this is nothing but the first step to dialogue.
• More often than not, I don’t want a child hiding either some fears, fears, or certain desires of the child. If these are fears, then he, first of all, needs support and, having received it, he will probably be able to overcome his “I don’t want” with the help of his parents, which in this case most likely means “I can’t”.
• If some other desires are behind the unwillingness to do something, then you need to understand what the child wants. This is not an easy task, because, as mentioned above, it is difficult for children to realize their desires, they often feel them as vague anxiety, dissatisfaction. If it’s difficult for him, propose several answers to your choice, but not in the affirmative, but in the interrogative form: “Masha, do you want to listen to a fairy tale now, draw with me, hang it from plasticine or something else?”
Pay attention to the following points:
– The set of proposed options is formulated as a question, not a statement or proposal.
– The word “now” is used, which focuses on the desires that arise “here and now.”
– Parents are interested in the child’s opinion but they don’t offer an exhaustive list of possible desires.
– Clarification of desires isn’t an interrogation with addiction. The most important result is the feeling that the child is interested in him, they want to understand him.
If the child insists on his desire (often contrary to reasonable arguments from the parents), then the first step is to clarify what he wants, to find out specific details.
When it becomes clear what the child wants, do not rush to fulfill his desire or, conversely, dissuade him (such a temptation is all the stronger the more unrealistic the child’s desire is, and the desires can be different, up to absolutely fantastic).
The next step is the recognition of the child’s right to his desire. Please note that the recognition of the right of the child to want what he wants, and the agreement to fulfill this desire are completely different actions with completely different consequences.
When we feel that someone recognizes our right to this or that desire, the state of joy, lightness comes to the fore, and also the disposition to dialogue, cooperation arises or strengthens. Based on our experience, it is easier for us adults to understand the value of adoption and recognition of the right to desire for a child.
When the child’s desire is indicated, concretized, when the parent indicated his acceptance of this desire and the child’s right to it, a constructive discussion of its implementation becomes possible.
Sometimes a child’s desire is quite realistic, but it can not be fulfilled immediately, but only after a while. In this case, we need to talk about when it will be possible, discussing not the abstract “later, someday”, but the very concrete “when”. It is important that when determining the specific “when”, adults take into account their real potential since a violation of the agreement on your part can lead to the emergence (or strengthening) of distrust on the part of the child in your words. Of course, there are impossible desires (it is difficult to turn winter into summer, to get the moon from the sky). Not everything is subject to us in reality, but we can all do in a land of fantasy. To invite a child to dream about his desire, to emotionally live it, to imagine how it could be is sometimes a more effective way of satisfaction than realizing the desire.
What does it mean to be sensitive to the world of the child? This means giving work to the eyes and ears, that is, to see the child, to hear what and how he says. Despite the banality and obviousness of this phrase in real interaction with our children, we are significantly expanding opportunities in order to build relationships with them on the basis of mutual understanding.
How to behave with a child who is stubborn
• Stubbornness occurs against the background of constant stress, in the conditions of which the child is forced to be. Stimulants of the stress state can be constant conflicts in the family, inconsistent upbringing of the child, as well as rearrangement of family roles (for example, when the mother is forced to play the role of a man in the family or the grandmother is raising the child).
• Try not to let your love turn into permissiveness and neglect. Set a clear framework for the prohibitions (it is desirable that there are few of them – only the most basic ones) and allow the child to act freely within this framework. Strictly adhere to the established prohibitions and permissions.
• Do not fix attention on obstinacy, “do not remember evil”.
• Remember to compliment your child when he deserves it.
• Don’t be biased towards the child, make reasonable demands appropriate to his age.
• Do not agree with your child just to make him “behind you”.
• Before blaming a child for stubbornness, think: are you yourself stubborn? Often the stubbornness of the child becomes a reaction of protection to the excessive stubbornness of the parents. Do not be too dominant in relation to the child!
• Try to captivate a stubborn child with a game – in this way you can defeat this or that manifestation of obstinacy without prejudice to children’s vanity. The child must fulfill your requirement with the thought that it coincided with his desire.
• More often put yourself in the place of the child and look at the world “with his eyes”.
• Give your child the right to choose. For example, you are going to go for a walk; you should not ask him if he wants to go for a walk if you know his answer in advance. Ask if he wants to go for a walk in the park or in the courtyard, he wants to wear this or that clothes for a walk.
• Try not to create situations in which there would be an opportunity for manifestation of the obstinacy of the child.
• Play with your child – this improves the relationship.
• Do not use forceful methods, do not show your moral and physical superiority – this way you will develop an inferiority complex in your child, harden him.
How not to behave to parents with a little stubborn
➣ In no case do not demand from the child the impossible and do not try to humiliate his self-esteem.
➣ Don’t fight with a child for various reasons and trifles.
➣ Don’t try to gain solid victories in your educational activities regarding the especially rigorous implementation of the main regimen moments (food, sleep, etc.). Remember that a healthy child cannot obey you implicitly, but, involuntarily supporting obstinacy, you create the basis for neurosis.
➣ If your child is especially stubborn, before re-educating him, make sure he isn’t a left-handed (with some dominance of the right hemisphere, children often develop stubbornness).