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A stubborn child can be one of the most difficult challenges for a parent to deal with. Parenting by itself is not an easy task- but when you add to the fact that your child simply won’t budge when you need them to work with you- you may feel as though you’ve reached an impossible block. Thankfully- you haven’t.

There are effective ways to deal with your child when they are being stubborn. So, if much like many other children, your child is being difficult, I promise you aren’t alone. First and foremost- the best advice I can give is to maintain authority, and do not give in to their stubborn tendencies.

We’ve all been there- we want our child to do something, or listen to a command we have given, and they simply sit there, much like a wall. This wall may seem impossible to overcome. However, here are 5 useful strategies to find your way through this hurdle.

1. Connect with them.

Rather than forcing them to give in to what you are telling them to do, level with them. One example would be that you are trying to get your child to go to bed, and they refuse to get up and go to bed. While it may be tempting to yell and scream- DON’T. Sit down with them, and say, “I know it isn’t any fun to go to bed when you want to continue playing. But, you need to go to sleep, and you can pick up on playing again tomorrow.”

2. Give them options.

When you need your child to do something, like get ready for bed or school, it may be tempting to skip to the point. Instead, say, “Would you like to brush your teeth first, or brush your hair?” By giving them options about the task at hand, you are still insisting they do what you need them to do, but at the same time, you give them options and let them participate in deciding where to start.

3. Negotiate

It may sound counterproductive, but there will be times in which it’s necessary to negotiate with your child. If you need them to listen, it may help to understand why they aren’t. Asking questions like “Is everything okay?” “Do you need anything?” May help you to understand why they refuse to budge.

4. Reward good behavior.

If they don’t want to budge- offer a small reward. “If you will start getting ready for bed, we can have a nighttime snack that you love.” Sometimes, even us adults don’t want to do what we know we need to. And it helps when we
incentivize even ourselves. Kids aren’t always so different.

5. Pick your battles.

Kids have a will of their own. And while there will be certain circumstances in which you can’t bend to their will, there will be some in which it simply isn’t worth the fight. Learn to pick your battles.