Coaxing Stubborn Child to Cooperate
Dear Dr. Laura,
My four year old daughter is stubborn and strong-willed. How can I stop her from fighting with me over everything? I hope you can help. I can't go through this even worse when she's a teenager.
You'll be happy to know that strong-willed kids who are sensitively parented are great teens. If their parents side-step power struggles and give them respect and early autonomy, they emerge as kids who take responsibility for their schoolwork and schedule, and are impervious to peer pressure.
Why sensitive parenting? Because you can't control your daughter, you can only control yourself. But if you control yourself and create a good relationship with your daughter, you'll be amazed to discover that you've solved 80% of the problem.
I think you'll be interested in my article Parenting Your Strong-Willed Child, which gives you ten strategies to encourage cooperation from even the most "stubborn" child.
Four years old is a great time to evolve your parenting so that you use more empathy and less force. After all, as you imply, force won't be effective when she's a teen. But empathy will help you build a close relationship with your daughter now, which not only will help her to be more cooperative, but will also lay a great foundation for the teen years. Click here for more info on how to use Empathy to help your child feel more cooperative.
Finally, you'll probably be interested in my reply to Karina, who wrote asking for help to stop fighting with her daughter. Click here.
I wish you and your every daughter every blessing.