This question made me snort into my cuppa. All I can picture is a toddler somewhere, perhaps sat in a sandpit, contemplating the question - how can I make my father less stubborn? That is your child's experience, they're making the completely reasonable request to go to nursery dressed in a superhero costume and wellies and stubborn old dad just won't let it happen.
Lead by example - I think it's a fair question. Could you be less stuck in your ways? Just because you have a few decades on the kid, doesn't mean you know everything. Have a think, is there any areas where you could just let go? So the kid wants to sleep under the dining room table for the night, will the world end? They feel like eating their peas one by one with their fingers - bigger picture, at least they're eating. Where do you think this child is learning the stubbornness from? If you backed down from a few things you might find that your kid also feels able to pull back a little, this role modelling business is the real deal.
Let them learn from experience - My mother has a plethora of sayings passed down to her from her father. Most of them are nonsensical (chicken merry, hawk is near?) but one has always resonated - 'If you can't hear, you must feel.' So your kid insists that wearing a coat on a wintry morning is surplus to requirements, unless you're reading this in a Siberian climate, it probably won't harm them to let it happen but twenty minutes later when their teeth are chattering so hard the buggy vibrates, they might just understand what you were banging on about. One hour of sub par parenting might avoid a tonne of future battles.
Give them choice - Being a kid is completely awesome apart from the fact that you spend most of your life feeling powerless. It's okay to trick your little general into thinking he or she is getting their own way. Rather than asking if they want their vegetables give them a choice between peas and sweetcorn. You will seem like their humble servant when all along you are a master manipulator.
Not too much choice - Choice can actually be quite overwhelming. Do you know why people like all inclusive holidays? It's not because anyone likes to queue for luke warm pizza, it's because it's wonderful not to have to think for a week or two. Sometimes when a toddler is given too many options for their mind to cope with they'll dig their heels in and do nothing. Plan each day and let your kid in on the plan, they'll never tell you but kids love to be parented.
Let them know you're listening - Sometimes stubbornness is just a desire to be acknowledged and you can do that without letting your child have their own way. A couple of weeks ago my son was having a full scale meltdown in the shopping centre because I was trying to do the unthinkable and get him into a lift. I sat on the floor with him outside of Debenhams and said, 'Are you angry? Is mummy horrible? You don't like the lift?'
'Roscoe sad. Roscoe crying,' he said (because he talks about himself in the third person Kanye West style). Then we had a cuddle and I let him press the lift button. It's like when you threaten to leave your mobile provider because they're doing their head in and then you don't, obviously, because you've got yourself tied into a three hundred year contract. Sometimes we all just need a little vent.
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