10 Tips to Deal with a Stubborn Child

Handling a stubborn child is a significant source of stress for mothers. Given the overabundance of modern parenting advice, moms often struggle to deal with a stubborn child. That's why we've conducted comprehensive research, consulted experts, and gathered experiences from mothers to bring you these tips that will make it easier to manage your child and answer the question: How do I handle a stubborn child without hassle?

Sawsan Hamzeh
Published on:Sep 27th 2023 |Updated on:Mar 10th 2024
التعامل مع الطفل العنيد

Why are some Children Stubborn?

Lack of Maturity

Your child's refusal to comply with your instructions might be due to a lack of maturity or understanding of why he or she should listen to you. Remember, maturity takes time and will improve as your child gets older. However, every child is unique and will mature at their own pace.

Comparing the Child with Others

Do you often say to your child, "Clean your room as well as your cousin does," or "I want you to excel in school like your friend does"? These comparisons can hurt children's feelings and make them feel inadequate, leading to stubborn behavior.

Poor Communication

With all your responsibilities and never-ending pressures, it cannot be easy to maintain effective communication with your children. This often results in conversations filled with criticism, blame, and commands, which can frustrate your child and prompt him to act out.


Children mirror the behavior around them. Be mindful of how you and your husband behave with each other, your child, and others. Make sure you're setting a positive example.

Need for Freedom and Rebellion

The need for freedom is natural as a child grows and develops. It's typical for them to resist, especially during transitional phases such as starting school or entering puberty.

How to Handle a Stubborn Child

Listen to Your Child

Communication is a two-way street. If you want your children to listen to you, ensure you're listening to them first. Stubborn children often have strong opinions that deserve to be heard and discussed. For example, if your child throws a tantrum and refuses to eat, instead of forcing him, ask why he doesn't want to eat and what he'd prefer instead.

Offer Choices

The first answer to how to deal with a stubborn child is to give choices. A stubborn child is a natural leader who likes to take charge. Offer choices within certain boundaries that must be adhered to. For example, let your child choose between a cheese sandwich or a za'atar sandwich at breakfast time. Ultimately, he'll eat a nutritious sandwich, but it'll be his choice. Before going out in winter, ask your daughter if she wants to wear her red or blue coat. Ultimately, she'll wear something that keeps her warm, but the choice will be hers.

Keep Your Calm

A stubborn child is always ready for a confrontation. Don't meet stubbornness with yelling and irritability; it will only lead to a shouting match where everyone loses. Stay calm and address your child's behavior once your child has calmed down to ensure a more responsive dialogue.

Respect Your Child

Instead of expecting submission from your child, aim for cooperation. Set clear rules and values, and at the same time, respect your child and their opinions. Always show empathy and refrain from mocking them or their choices.


Negotiation is a crucial parenting skill. Be wise and patient; ask your child for their opinion, needs, and reasons for refusing your requests. Make concessions if they don't conflict with your established educational foundation. If your child refuses to go to bed at 7 PM, ask her if staying up an extra half-hour today would be okay, but make her promise to go to bed on time tomorrow.

Reinforce Positive Behavior

When your children are not being stubborn and are doing what's expected or showing any positive behavior, quickly reinforce that feeling. It doesn't always have to be material rewards; thank them, tell your children you're happy with their behavior, hug them, and let them know you're proud.

Clarify Your Expectations

The rules you want your child to follow should always be clear. Remember them continually, and don't hesitate to explain and clarify these rules if you feel your child doesn't quite understand.

Be a Role Model

Your children mirror the behavior they see around them. Strive to be a role model by showing patience and politeness in dealing with others. If you feel irritable or frustrated, take a deep breath in front of your kids to teach them positive ways to handle problems.

Establish a Clear Routine

Adhering to a daily or weekly routine helps improve your child's behavior and academic performance. So, have a straightforward routine and stick to it to ensure your child is calmer.

Pick Your Battles Wisely

Not every situation where your child opposes you needs to turn into a confrontation. Choose your battles. Some problems can be ignored or discussed later. Instead of constant instruction, try giving warnings. For example, instead of insisting your child wear a hat before going out in the rain, tell him that if he doesn't, his hair will get wet. Even if he steps out for a minute and realizes his hair did get wet, he'll know you were right and will listen to you next time.

A Final Note to Moms

Parenting is a long and challenging journey. So, don't get frustrated; take a deep breath and remember that there are plenty of solutions and ongoing support to help you deal with a stubborn child.


Check out All you need to know about separation anxiety


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Sawsan HamzehCertified Parent Coach and Teenager’s Coach

A mother of three girls, a Pharmacist by education. She worked in marketing for pharmaceuticals and baby food, before realizing that her true passion is helping parents in their parenting journey. She studies in the field of parent coaching and became a certified parent’s coach. She also studies mental and emotional development during different stages of childhood, in addition to the positive role of parenting on this development. She also studies everything related to teenagers’ mental, emotional, and behavioral levels. Then became a certified teenager coach. To help bridge the gap between teenagers and their parents, and build bridges of communication and bonding. In her years of experience in the field of Parenting, Sawsan found that many parenting challenges come from the parent's childhood traumas or societal thinking patterns. Sawsan believes her learning is not over yet, she learns every day from her first teachers; her lovely daughters with whom she lives a wonderful journey of learning, love, and dialogue.

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