Matigas Ang Ulo At Sumasagot? 4 Ways To Discipline Kids Who Refuse To ListenKids should learn how to be outspoken (and how to say no) in a safe environment — their homes.by Kitty Elicay .
Parents want their kids to grow up as confident, resilient, and independent adults, but how to deal with their stubbornness and temperament at a young age? While an outspoken and strong-willed child is admirable, it can be frustrating when you’re trying to discipline and they refuse to listen and do as they are told.
How to raise a strong-willed child
But being spirited or strong-willed doesn’t mean you have a “bad kid.” They simply want to do things on their own terms. Some experts even say that children who love saying "no," and who talk back should be welcomed. Kids should learn how to say no in a safe, supportive environment — the home. It helps develop critical thinking and will be useful in situations where they really need to assess what to say no to, such as drugs or alcohol and risky behavior.
If your child has the same personality and you are struggling to deal with their attitude, Janet Lansbury, a parenting adviser, author, and consultant, shares on her website some tips on how to deal with an emotional, strong-willed kid.
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1. Accept your children for who they are.
As parents, we try to empathize with what our kids are feeling. But strong-willed kids will often have intense, overblown reactions to the smallest things, especially when they’re tired or stressed, and it makes it hard to empathize with them.
“What’s important to keep in mind is that often their feelings aren’t actually about the event itself. Rather, the event serves as a catalyst that helps children release other stored feelings,” Lansbury shares.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
If you find it difficult to empathize, accept your child for who they are, instead. “This is a difficult shift of perspective for a parent, but wonderfully freeing when it clicks,” adds Lansbury. It shows that you trust your child, and are normalizing the way they process their emotions.
2. Your child’s intense feelings are actually due to fatigue, hunger, stress, rather than whatever topic they are shouting about.
Tantrums and outbursts can be alarming and you might think that your child has a serious problem. But the reason for the meltdown might be shallower than you thought. Consider that your child just wants to let out their emotions — let them vent and “trust, allow, and accept,” that they will be able to calm down on their own.
Another tip: Introduce them to a quiet place — a safe space where they can cry without worrying about the consequences. Read here how a mom introduced the concept to her daughter and how she was able to lessen tantrums this way.
3. Set boundaries and explain it to your child calmly and firmly.
Rather than fearing your daughter’s emotional reactions, welcome it. As a parent, your child will still follow your lead so confidently set boundaries and explain to them why they need to be enforced. “When setting boundaries with a strong-willed child, we can expect a lot of venting and backlash. It’s all good,” Lansbury says.
4. Consequences should ideally be logical ones, emerging from the situation.
Consequences are different from punishment and should not be used as such. “They are honest expressions of our own limits and boundaries and, therefore, they build rather than erode trust,” Janet says.CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
Instead of saying, “If you don’t put your toys back in its proper place you won’t get merienda,” try this: “If you can help me clean up, I’d have more time to make you pasta for merienda. Maybe you’d like to help out with that, too!”
Though your child presents a strong exterior, at the end of the day, they’ll want nothing but your love and comfort. “When a child throws a tantrum, it is their way of telling you that ‘I need your help to control my emotions,’” says Tina Zamora, an educator and directress of Nest School for Whole Child Development, in a previous SmartParenting.com.ph article. “A lot of children do not know how to stop a tantrum. You are responsible [for] teaching them how to stop it.”
Remember that your child sees you as their safe space and meltdowns happen when you’re around precisely because she has a secure relationship with you. She trusts that you would know what to do. So the next time you start losing your patience trying to deal with her outburst, focus on this. Instead of thinking, “What’s wrong with my child,” think, “She needs me.” This change in perspective will help you calm down and be more responsive to whatever your child is feeling.
Teaching your kids how focus can also help them calm down. Click here for a mom's discipline strategy that she got from her child's therapist.