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How To Deal With a Stubborn and Rebellious Child

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Hello Sehat · Updated May 13, 2022

    How To Deal With a Stubborn and Rebellious Child

    Dealing with a stubborn child is certainly not easy for any parent. For example, when a child is lazy to take a bath, is a picky eater, or escapes routines like an afternoon nap, it may make parents vent their emotions in anger. But in fact, the most effective way to deal with a stubborn child is not by getting angry or yelling at the child. The solution could be in giving them your full attention.

    What’s the right way to educate a stubborn child? Find out some strategies and solutions to this challenging problem.

    Recognize the Causes Behind Stubborn Behavior

    Stubbornness is a form of rejection that commonly occurs in the developmental period of children 6-9 years old.

    There are many changes that are happening at this developmental stage of children, including important cognitive, social, physical, emotional changes.

    An important part of emotional development that parents need to apply is to teach their child when they are stubborn.

    Stubborn children tend to be very sensitive and cannot be persuaded by those around them. This is because they want their request to be fulfilled immediately.

    On the other hand, being stubborn or unruly is actually a way for your child to learn about the boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior.

    When your little one displays rebellious behavior, like refusing to take a shower or not sleeping at bedtime, they’ll see how you react. When children resort to stubborn behavior, it could be because they are simply following their parents’ example. For this reason, you should be careful of your own behavior in front of your little one because children easily imitate the people around them.

    In addition, stubborn children tend to seek attention from others. They often throw tantrums to get attention. And although such behavior is a natural part of a child’s growth and development, stubbornness should not be allowed to continue into adulthood. That’s why parents must learn how to educate a stubborn child.

    stubborn child

    How To Raise a Stubborn Child

    Dealing with stubborn children requires more patience than usual, but there is no need for anger or frustration.

    One way to deal with a stubborn child is to respond to his emotional outbursts. This does not mean you should give up with every request your little one makes. You can be assertive and show affection at the same time.

    Here are some strategies and solutions to educate stubborn and rebellious children:

    1. Listen to Your Little One

    Communication with children is the most important thing when dealing with stubborn children. But communication must go both ways. If you want your child to listen to you, you have to be willing to listen first.

    Stubborn children tend to have strong opinions and like to argue to have their wishes fulfilled. And they can become stubborn when they feel that they are no longer being heard by others. So try to approach your little one and listen to what they want. This will make them feel important and calmer.

    2. Don’t Force Your Child

    When you force a child to do something, usually the child will rebel and do the opposite. This is  one of the common characteristics of stubborn children.

    For example, you may force your child to stop playing with gadgets and go to bed because the child is addicted to gadgets. But educating a stubborn child in this way will not help. In fact, it will trigger further resistance from the little one.

    On the other hand, when you pay attention to what your child is watching, your little one will be more responsive and feel more comfortable. Your child will feel that his parents are giving him attention.

    3. Give the Child a Choice

    One way to educate a stubborn child can be by giving them choices.

    For example, when you want your little one to sleep and stop watching TV, try giving them a choice of which storybook they would like to hear before going to bed.

    Divert your little one’s attention and avoid getting into a battle of wills.

    4. Stay Calm

    The key in dealing with stubborn children is to be calm and patient.

    If you tend to get angry or yell, your attitude will only make things worse. It may even make your little one fight back even more.

    To prevent getting angry, do various activities that can help you calm down, such as meditation, exercise, or listening to music.

    5. Let Children Learn from Experience

    Prohibiting a child through words doesn’t always work. Sometimes the way to educate a stubborn child can be done by giving them a little freedom.

    According to the New Kids Center, the goal is for them to understand what you want to convey through experience.

    Their own experience can be a more powerful lesson in educating a stubborn child than simply telling them “No.” Children need to learn the consequences of their good or bad behavior as it is with adults.

    6. Have a Discussion

    Sometimes, you need to negotiate or bargain with your little one. This shows that you are not refusing your child’s request immediately, but are giving them consideration that will train them to make good decisions.

    If your child does not want to sleep even though you have asked nicely, ask them why and when they want to sleep. Afterwards, you can invite them to discuss the importance of sleep and determine together the sleeping hours that are suitable for them and to which they understand to abide by or agree with.

    7. Create a Positive Environment at Home

    Children are both good learners and excellent imitators. So try to educate stubborn children by creating a fun environment at home and setting a good example.

    If children often see their parents fighting, chances are they will imitate them when they grow up, especially when there is violence against children.

    Peace in the house can also make the child’s mood more stable, thereby reducing stubbornness in children.

    stubborn child

    8. Understand How Children Think

    Another way to deal with stubborn children is to try to understand your child’s point of view and way of thinking. Do you know how the child feels? Is the child stressed, scared, or sad?

    The more you know your child, the better you can deal with your child’s tantrums or stubborn nature.

    For example, if your child doesn’t want to do his homework, don’t yell at and scold the child right away. Are they having a hard time with the lesson? Are they tired or sleepy? Or are they scared of failure? Instead of getting angry, help your little one complete the task with you.

    9. Teach Children How To Behave

    Sometimes children need to be taught how to behave properly. Show good behavior in front of your child so that they will be nice to others too.

    According to Healthy Children, give praise when your little one successfully completes your command well. You can make a chart and put a star on it when your child completes a task. Or you can also give gifts to reinforce good behavior.

    No matter how hard the child’s attitude, believe that you can handle it with a calm attitude. Be patient, communicate openly, and your stubborn child will soon become a more disciplined and obedient child.

    Learn more about Parenting here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Hello Sehat · Updated May 13, 2022

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