“No, I don’t want to go to bed yet!”
“I don’t want to wear this!”
Are these the kind of regular complaints your toddler gives you?
Dealing with a very stubborn child can be an extremely frustrating situation for any parent. While many parents busy fighting with their children about putting away toys or eating vegetables, others may be concerned that this stubbornness could hold a child back in the future. While parents always have the right to be concerned, recent studies show that there could be a link between stubbornness and future success.
Stubbornness is a trait that is often recognized when a child is just a toddler. While a parent will try to teach respect to a child at a young age, it will always prove to be a challenge to get a stubborn kid to listen to you. This trait will then continue well into the teenage years and even into adulthood.
Based on a report by TIME, the results of a recent study available on PsycNET are encouraging parents to embrace their child’s stubbornness rather than try to change it. After four decades of observation, the study indicated that stubborn children are the ones who become determined adults.
The study, published in the Journal of Developmental Psychology, observed 700 children who were 12 years of age and studied their behavior until age 52. Adults who were stubborn when they were young turned out more ambitious and even received better salaries than adults who were more passive and laidback when they were children.
Some of the characteristics that the study analyzed in the children were impatience, their rule-breaking streak, defiance, and others. Stubborn children were seen to be more driven by their goals and achieved more as they grew up into adults. But that’s not all. If you find that your child is not afraid to break the rules, or sometimes goes against what you say, this may be helpful for their future. Some adults with high-achieving careers were observed to be rule-breakers when they were kids.
Experts say that there can be a definite upside when it comes to raising a stubborn child. When they are so persistent with what they want to do, it shows that they stick with problems for far more time than other children. When they don’t give up so easily, they tend to find solutions and answers better than passive children.
Time magazine put it this way:
“The authors postulate that such children might be more competitive in the classroom, leading to better grades. They might be more demanding as adults; when locked in salary negotiations, they may be the ones who demand more. They may be more willing to fight for their own financial interests, even at the risk of annoying friends and colleagues. The authors can’t rule out a more negative reason– these young rule breakers might be doing something unethical as adults to increase their grown-up salaries.”
Although there are situations in which being stubborn is clearly an advantage, it is still a characteristic that needs to be controlled. Most stubborn people will learn the hard way that it is not always a good idea to be closed-minded. The next time your stubborn child looks you dead in the eyes and do the one thing you told her not to do, take a deep breath and remind yourself, “this kid will probably be somebody’s boss someday.”
But since we all know taking deep breaths doesn’t always work, here are a few tips for dealing with a strong-willed child.
#1 Listen to them. Arguing with a stubborn child will get you nowhere. Be the adult and take the time to hear what they are telling you.
#2 Instead of forcing them to do something, connect with them. Make sure you communicate and not just order. They respond best to the gentle approach and they rebel when they feel forced.
#3 Give them options. Say, for instance, you want your child to turn off the TV and go to bed. Instead of just giving directives, give her options. Tell her it’s time to go to bed and ask if she would rather read storybook A or B. She may insist she’s not going to bed, but calmly let her know that that isn’t one of the options. Be persistent until she gives in.
#4 Speaking of staying calm, this is an important aspect of communicating with strong-willed kids. No matter how frustrated they make you, don’t give in to yelling as that usually makes things worse.
#5 Watch your attitude. It’s possible that your child inherited his spirit of determination from you. But does he copy your attitude? Do you say ‘no’ a lot or argue everything with your significant other. Kids do what they see so watch the examples you set for him.
You can raise a strong-willed child without killing their spirits while also encouraging their courage and strength.