Don't let your adamant little one get the best of you, though you may want to think twice before changing their stubbornness. Here's why embracing it could pay off.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 13, 2021. It has since been updated.
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on December 13, 2021.
“No, I don’t want to go to bed yet!”
“I don’t want to wear this!”
Are these the kind of regular complaints your toddler gives you?
It might be easier to convince your boss at work, but convincing your stubborn preschooler that he needs his veggies can be even more of a challenge. You might even get calls from your strong-willed daughter’s school about a few instances here and there, pointing out how she won’t budge when she’s set her mind on something. But research shows that you have nothing to worry about, apart from the little arguments you may have with them almost every day. When your toddler grows up and starts a life of his own, you will be happy that you didn’t let stubbornness get the best of you.
Based on a report by TIME, findings of a recent study available on PsycNET are encouraging parents to embrace their child’s stubbornness instead of trying to change it. After four decades of observation, the research indicated that stubborn children are the ones who become determined adults.
Published in the Journal of Developmental Psychology, the study observed 700 children who were 12 years of age and studied their behavior until they grew up to be about 52 years old. Adults who were stubborn when they were young turned out to be more ambitious and even received better salaries than adults who were more passive and laidback when they were children.
Some of the traits that the study analyzed in the children were impatience, their rule-breaking streak, defiance, and others. Stubborn children were seen to be more driven by their goals and achieved more as they grew up into adults. But that’s not all. If you find that your child isn’t afraid to break the rules or sometimes goes against what you say, this might help them in their future. Some adults with high-achieving careers were observed to be rule-breakers when they were kids.
Experts say that there can be a definite upside when it comes to raising a stubborn child. When they are so persistent with what they want to do, it shows that they stick with problems for far more time than other children. When they don’t give up so easily, they tend to find solutions and answers better than passive children.
While it’s challenging for parents, stubbornness can possibly be called a trait of some successful people. But don’t let your toddler exhaust you and get the best of you. Take comfort in knowing that eventually, your young gun will be able to hone their skill and put it to good use. They might eventually start achieving more academically and earn better livelihoods for themselves. If you find that your child has two extreme qualities of sensitivity as well as an iron-will, they may have a unique personality.
Another unexpected benefit of having that stubborn attitude as a kid is the confidence in their knowledge when they grow up. Your child is more likely to go with what they believe in rather than give in to peer pressure. As they grow older, they are more capable of speaking up for what they want and hence, getting more of what they deserve than their peers.
In an excerpt from the book The Energetic Keys to Indigo Kids, Maureen Healy talked about the unique Indigo Kids saying, “Indigos see, feel and experience life differently than their more mainstream counterparts. They tend to have an usually high level of creativity, sensitivity, giftedness, and angry energy to channel. This angry or warrior energy that defines many indigos isn’t a bad thing. It is the energy that breaks down broken systems (think: public school systems) and creates better ways of doing things. Of course, the challenge is to raise indigo kids to use their incredibly sensitive, highly responsive, and fierce energy as a force for good.”
Show them that you’re their partner: Don’t take the typical parenting approach of opposing them. When you are constantly telling them what to do, that’s when they talk back and retaliate. Change your approach and convince them that you are their partner and not their parent. It might be hard at first but once they see that you’re on their side and not against them, they will act out less.
Let it be a win-win situation for both of you: It’s difficult to negotiate with a 7-year-old. But when you see that they are upset or they are acting out, start talking to them and make them feel more understood. Ask them why they are upset and what you can do to make things better for them. Make them a deal that satisfies both your child and you.
Find ways to inspire them: Your child can achieve so much more when he is motivated the right way. The right triggers, the right environment, and the right stories can make them give their best shot at even what they hate doing.
Yes, it goes without saying that parenting a stubborn child can be challenging. But these are the children who can grow up to use their stubbornness in the most positive ways. They may have great potential in them, and as parents, you can help unlock this and help them find their path to success.