How to Win Over Stubborn Children
Read our tips for dealing with stubborn behavior (Hint: All it takes is a little reverse psychology to get an obstinate kid to see things your way.) Plus, get more discipline tips.
The power struggle: Your child constantly whines for your help when you know she's capable of doing homework herself, or is still finishing up assignments when it's bedtime.
Break it down. First, consider that your child's stubbornness or whining may actually be a sign that she's overwhelmed by her schoolwork or has trouble focusing. If that's the case, try breaking down her tasks into smaller increments (two math problems, three spelling words written out, etc.) and letting her jump up and down or run laps around the room as a break before she goes back for more work. Use the timer approach for tough cases: Your child works for ten minutes, takes a one- to two-minute break, then works for another ten minutes. Most kids can do almost anything for just ten minutes at a stretch!
Make it fun. Could your son do his required reading in a tent you make with a table and a sheet? By flashlight in a dark room? Could your child practice her spelling while bouncing a ball or jumping rope (as the main character did in the movie Akeelah and the Bee)? Give it a shot.
Do a disappearing act. If you're confident your child really can handle things on her own, purposely move to a different part of the house while she does her homework, suggests Brown Braun. Make it a rule that she must come to you if she has any questions, not vice versa. Of course, you'll want to check in with her about halfway through and at the end to be sure she's on track. But if your student has to climb a flight of stairs to ask for help or lug a heavy textbook to you, she may learn to take a minute to think on her own before she seeks you out.