How to Discipline a Hard-Headed Child

By Jennifer Hench
Disciplining a hard-headed child takes both practice and patience.
Disciplining a hard-headed child takes both practice and patience.

Disciplining a child takes practice and patience. The issue is compounded when the child is hard-headed or stubborn. Attention to detail and procedure is of greater importance, as typical disciplinary actions simply may not work. Understanding how to deal with this type of child is part of figuring out the right actions to take in modifying improper behavior. It is essential to keep notes and realize what tactics and techniques work and do not work in disciplining a stubborn child.

Write down a list of the child's behavior that needs to be addressed. Include such poor behavior as hitting, screaming, not doing homework, missing school, back-talking, not cleaning up and other issues that are causing a negative environment in terms of your child and their impact on your household and daily life. Highlight the major issues and pick the behaviors that can be modified.

Record or photograph examples of the child's behavior. Record a video if the child throws a temper tantrum for no apparent reason or photograph evidence of destruction due to bad behavior. Keep this data to use when talking to the child about the negative impacts of his or her actions.

Sit the child down when they are well-rested, not hungry and no outside influences such as friends, family members or background noise are present. Talk to your child about the behaviors that need to be addressed. Use language that the child understands. For example, when talking to a hard-headed toddler, do not use words and phrases that they do not understand. Keep the language simple and avoid screaming and yelling. Do not threaten the child with actions that you are not willing and able to take.

Show the child the list of behavior issues and any videos or photographs of issues that need to be both discussed and addressed. Allow the child to talk and defend their actions. Ask what they were thinking and feeling when they acted in an unacceptable manner or disobeyed a rule or request. Continue the conversation until all issues have been addressed.

Tell the child firmly but calmly what you want them to do to correct both behavior and attitude. For example, if the child has been throwing toys, state that they are by no means allowed to throw toys, and next time the toy in question will be taken away for good, plus an additional punishment will be given.

Make it a regular habit to sit down and talk to the child on a weekly basis during times when they are receptive to talking. Do not discuss behavior changes in the midst of an incident or in the immediate aftermath of an occurrence. Discipline the child as soon as they have behaved poorly or improperly and take notes about the event to discuss during the next meeting. Maintain a routine of discussing issues and concerns to show the child that you will continue to address the problem of bad behavior.

Things You Will Need

  • Notebook
  • Camera or video camera

Tip

Praise the child when possible to avoid diminishing his or her ego.

Warning

Do not hit or threaten a child with physical violence.