Be Smarter Than Your Stubborn Child

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Five Effective Strategies to Make Sure You Don’t Raise a Stubborn Toddler

Some kids are just born to test boundaries, defy rules, and take charge, leaving their parents mortified and concerned.

One mother, Alexa, explained that her son would throw a tantrum if she makes him wear blue shoes instead of his favorite green ones. He would push his food away and refuse to do things whenever she asks him to. His teachers would say that he is a natural-born leader, but for Alexa, he is more of a dictator. What can she do about it?

Effective Strategies to Make Sure You Don’t Raise a Stubborn Toddler

Stubbornness, even on a good day, can be downright infuriating. Toddlers can come across as bossy and aggressive, but there is a positive side to this boldness. Having a stubborn child means that they have the ability to stay focused, which is a great element in boosting learning. They are persistent and determined, which means that even if they don’t succeed on their first try, they will keep trying until they accomplish their task.

Stubborn kids were born to lead, not to follow. This does not necessarily mean that you can just let them do whatever they want. They want to rule, but so do you!

Here are our top strategies on how to handle stubborn and aggressive children, without turning them into wimps:

Turn everything into a fun challenge.

Your toddler has pulled his toys off the shelf, and now when it’s time to put them back, he then walks away and refuses to clean up his mess.

What you can do:

Play the beat-the-timer game. Stubborn kids like obstacles and challenges. For example, you can ask your child to put his toys back on the shelf in five minutes. You can even encourage him to beat his best effort by jotting down his accomplishments on a chart, to keep his interest every time you pull this game off. Sometimes, dealing with a stubborn child means looking for a sneaky strategy to make him do what you want him to do without being bossy yourself.

Avoid using directives.

When doing a stubborn toddler discipline, it is important that you choose your words carefully. Use supportive words, rather than threats.

What you can do:

Instead of saying, “We can’t go to the playground unless you eat your breakfast! Try “As soon as you have eaten your breakfast, we will go to the playground.” And if your stubborn toddler starts crying and replies, “But I really want to hang out with my friends and they must be there by now,” do not scream back or tell him what he has to do. You can say, “Of course. We can certainly do that, after you have finished your meal.”

stubborn child

Offer choices

Your rebellious toddler is throwing a fit again—just like yesterday and the day before that. Reason being is that he doesn’t want to wear the clothes that you prepared for him. He insists that his yellow mustard cardigan would be a great accessory for his green shirt. You think it is hilarious, but your child is running late for school and both of you should get going soon.

What you can do:

During the night before, prepare two to three ensembles that your child can choose from in the next morning. You have the control of laying out his outfit together while allowing your child to make choices for himself.

Help your child out with homework

We are not talking about doing your child’s homework yourself. But when your stubborn kid whines about homework, you can help by breaking down his tasks into smaller parts.

What you can do:

Offer your child a two to three-minute break for every ten minutes that he spends on his homework. Let him do some laps, or jumping jacks, as a form of relaxation.


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