Chatter 15 August 2012: Stubborn Kids

Unleash One...

Needing some help, my governess and I are finding it really hard to get through to my 6 yr old daughter. She's not trying and gets to a point that if she doesn't want to do something she just flat out refuses to do it. Don't know how to get around this so any help would be appreciated

I would try to find out why she doesn't want to do something. I was like that when I was young and would get really rude and obnoxious, turns out I have a very bad learning disability that no one picked up on. Not saying that's what she has but finding an underlying cause is most of your battle won.

Short, achievable tasks. Break things up into minutes, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and display milestones she has reached. Then the sense of achievement will come. Intrinsic motivation comes when you have experienced success.

Give her two choices, one being the thing that you want her to do and the other being something that she really won't want to do. Make her choose from the options

Reverse psycology is my best method. Sometimes you also have to get tough by taken something the love away or not letting them do it. Some kids work better being motivated by incentives.

Incentives and positive reinforcement. Reward system works a treat.

When you work it out let me know :) in all honestly it's hard but short bursts, and sometimes I'm still at a loss myself

I work with a boy who has learning and behavioural issues - on average at least half of my day is spent trying to coerce and convince him to get through the work we need to do. I often find that if he is refusing to do the work I try and find another way to come at it. I try to relate the work in question to him and his likes as much as possible. It also works for him to totally change the subject and let him tell me a story of his own and gradually easing in some questions from the work. With my child i find that the soft ans easy approach works best, i have tried the tough love and stern approach with him but that just gets me nowhere! People have also suggested reward charts etc which can sometimes work wonders. I agree with the post above though, in the way that if things are extremely difficult you may need to look into the cause a bit further.

I had that trouble with my 8 yr old then someone suggested a reward system so on the kitchen bench we have a jar and each time he does something without a tanty or shows initiative and thoughtfulness like asking if I want him to set the table he gets a token which is just a hand written note saying what he's done and in his room we have a list of how many tokens are worth things we wrote the list together and some of the examples are 10 tokens is 1 hr of laptop time or hire a DVD 20 tokens is invite a friend to sleep over or a toy to the value of $20 I'm getting some really good results 

It is unusual for a child that young to lack motivation to that extent. Can you try to find the reason for it? It is hard to tackle a problem if you don't know what it is. Is the work too hard? Is she unused to the long hours of school? Does she exhibit this behaviour in other areas of life or just in school? ...I am assuming you are referring to school work since you said 'she is not trying'. In terms of strategies...I am in complete agreement with Kate. External rewards are also useful in the short term. Lots and lots of praise when she does it right. Have you talked with her SODE teacher about it? Maybe the expectations could be modified so that you can work on building her up to it rather than trying to keep up with hectic workload and getting more and more stressed. Good luck. I hope you can work it out.

Some kids it is just a natural part of their personality to be unmotivated and stubborn. I myself was a natural debater and would spend hours arguing with Mum and the govie just for the sake of it. Also was a kid myself who just did enough to get buy

Sit down and talk to her about, ask her why she doesn't want to and explain the benefits if what happens if she does it.

As a teacher that majored in psychology I can't tell you how important finding the reason behind the behaviour is. Reward systems, bribes and coercing work in the short term, but eventually this problem will resurface. In high school when you aren't there to tackle the issue. 

It might be a simple reason, it's worth discussing with her.

Christine's idea is good - you can also use pasta - when the jar is full = reward, since that is visual and counting too! Good luck!

Above had a ripper of an idea (not stealing your thunder) she found the child loved lego so each reward was a piece of lego. I am finding this type of approach is working. Short bursts too. :)

So many great suggestions - and thanks, cos I'm only new to this, but they do go through stages of doing it and then not wanting to hey! My girl did a lot of this - she only likes to do things if she knows she can get it right. Now my boy has got to the same age and seems to be doing the same, but from a different "reason" - he "gets tired" (read bored - I think I have to challenge him, yet still not overwhelm him or he too doesn't want to do badly!)

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