Friday, June 10, 2011

Focus Friday! How to Get Stubborn Children to Not Push the Limits

Some children seem to "get it" more than others.  Why is it that some children seem to test the boundaries and fight the rules while others go with the flow? 

First of all, all children will test at some point or another (and in some way or another).  It's part of a child's development and how they learn what's going on around them.  Some children are more tenacious and will challange until they learn that the person telling them "no" will not give in.  This can be very trying for the adult who's trying to do the right thing at the end of a long day.  So, how do we muster up the patience and draw boundaries effectively with children? 

Choose your battles ahead of time as often as possible.  If you have decided that eating vegetables is a must (for example) then be prepared to not give in during dinnertime.  A recent study just came out stating that you should not say no to your kids often...sounds crazy, right? Well, the researchers pointed out that saying no using other ways is more effective such as saying, "You can eat your brocolli or your carrots", instead of saying, "No, you can't have dessert!"  What this is doing is eliminating the need to draw the line in the sand creating a power struggle.  Another way to say no (without saying no) is to simply say, "Ok, you can have your dessert but you must eat your peas first." 

My child is one of those tenacious children!  A few days ago, I got so tired of her crying, whiing, and not listening that I finally had to put my foot down.  I gave her 2 warnings then began the time out.  What an exhausting experience!  She came out of the time out spot over 50 times (and let me tell you that carrying a toddler back to the spot while I'm 8 months pregnant is quite an ordeal!)  However, she finally stayed and after 1 minute of her staying there, I called her to me and nicely talked to her about why she was in time out and gave her a kiss and a hug. 

I started giving Sienna timeouts when she was 20 months old and it was exhausting at first.  Then, she quickly started realizing that I meant business when it came to time outs and did not want to be there.  Children will test the waters again but being consistant really makes a big difference in how they respond to rules. 

Remember, stubborness is not a bad thing.  Tenacity is a good thing and the ability to not give up will give your child serve your child well when he or she is older!

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