Stubborn Kids: Preschoolers
Stubbornness is a normal phase for many 3 and 4-year olds. During this time children respond negatively to many requests including pleasant ones. For example, they may complain as much about going to a friend's house as they do about leaving and going home.
Dealing with this negative phase is tough, but here are some thoughts:
- First: Don't punish your child for saying no. Saying no is something you can't change. Ignore it. Keep a sense of humor about this.
- Second: Give your child extra choices, such as which clothes to wear, which breakfast cereal to eat, which games to play, and which path to take on a walk. The more quickly your child gains the feeling that he is a decision maker, the sooner he'll become cooperative.
- Third: Don't give your child a choice, when there is none. Some rules, such as sitting in a car seat or going to daycare, are not negotiable.
- Fourth: Give your child some transition time when changing activities. If your child is having fun playing with trucks as dinnertime approaches, give him a 5 minute warning. A kitchen timer often helps a child accept the change better.
- Finally: Try to set a good example of how to be agreeable. When your child asks you for something, and you're unsure, say yes, or at least say, "Let me think about it."
If you have other questions about your child's behavior, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.