Sunday, May 27, 2012

Parenting Tip - The Stubborn Child

Here's part of an email I wrote to one of my daughters after she asked for advice.  Maybe it will help someone else as well.

How to make your kids a priority in your life and how to enjoy them and feel love for them.
*  Make a joy journal--no requirements, or rules to do it every week-- just jot down things randomly whenever you see something your children have done to make you smile or feel joyful.  Keep the journal in plain sight in your bedroom so you don't forget to write in it.

*  Pray to feel charity for your children.

*Read about the age group characteristics of your children so you're not frustrated at normal things they do and you can understand why they're acting the way they are.

* Do fun things with them that YOU like to do whether it's reading out loud, making videos, cooking, watching a movie and eating popcorn, singing, etc.

* Read about the 5 kinds of love and figure out what you and they and your husband need--  physical touch, words of appreciation, service, gifts, quality time

Dealing with a stubborn child
* Talk to her about how people communicate differently.  It's okay if it's hard to verbalize her feelings when she's mad, though it's something that needs to be worked on to become a strength later on in her life.  Communicate to her through letters--maybe she'll become a great writer with all her practice in writing letters back to you. 

* Communicate your love through notes to her left here and there.

* Give her a journal that she can write in and you won't read.

* When she's angry give her a direction that can help her express her feelings like, "Write down 2 things about why you're mad," or "Write down 2 things why you don't want to do this....".

*Have her color her feelings.  "Go draw a mean angry picture about how you feel right now".

*What is she interested in?  Notice her and what she does in her spare time.  Then encourage and join her in that activity sometimes.

*Use the rewind idea.  When she's talking disrespectfully, ask her to rewind and say it with a different tone or nicer words.  Ask your kids to help you with your tone of voice.  Many times I've caught myself saying okay words, but my tone of voice was degrading and rude. 

*Be off the wall and fun when a "mood" is threatening.  Talk with a southern accent, or an English prim and proper tone or a Chinese accent.  I do this at school when I'm frustrated with a class and it charms them like nothing else.  Or get in a karate pose and jump and kick all over the room, then when you have her attention, sweetly give directions or restate the problem, then walk away into  another room, letting your actions tell her you are assuming that she is following through on whatever the problem or direction was. (The karate stuff lets you get your frustrations and anger out, too!)

* Hug and kiss your stubborn child and say, "You just need some love and attention."  After smothering her with love and kisses, repeat what she needs to do, and walk away-- allowing her to choose to do it or suffer the natural consequences.

* Maybe your child can only get your attention through being stubborn.  Try giving lots of attention and positive reinforcement and see if the stubbornness subsides.

* Kneel down by your child and offer a prayer out loud. Simply say that you and she are having a frustrating time, but that you love your child so much and want to try and help her.  Ask God to help you understand your daughter.  Mention the things that you love about your daughter--her abilities and cuteness.  Close the prayer, hug your child, then rock her, smooth her hair and wait to see what happens.

Just remember, a stubborn child is hurting somehow.  Pray to find out what the reason is, then try to address the issue.

Good luck!

Thanks for reading,

Pictures from The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen


  1. I have been meaning to ask your advice on this exact subject but have always forgotten when we are together. These are awesome ideas, I can't wait to use some of them. You are awesome! Thank you!

  2. Oh good, I hope they help. I'm never sure if my ideas really ever help anyone or not. Good luck.

  3. I don't have kids, but I love these ideas!




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