Why Is My Child Stubborn?

Today we’re going to talk about Why Is My Child Stubborn?  There could be several reasons, but I will give you a few reasons today, and let’s see if they resonate with you.

Have you ever had your child scream something like, “I know they’re talking about me right now?” Or “They hate me.” Or, “I just always screw up, or I never get things right.” Well, if this sounds familiar, then this video is for you. Children get stuck in what is called Thinking Traps. What are Thinking Traps? They’re when our emotions get the best of us, and we start to interpret our situation unrealistically, unhelpful, and it triggers anxiety, stress, sadness, and even anger. It’s like our brain is stuck, and we become a broken record inside of our heads. These negative thoughts often get repeated over and over and over again. And anytime that you say something to yourself over and over, after a while, you begin to believe it. That is why these Thinking Traps are dangerous and why we need to help our children. We don’t want our children to think negatively about themselves consistently.

Let me give you another example. This is a personal example from my own home. My daughter was crying one day, and she wouldn’t stop. She sobbed in her pillow and held her blanket tightly. I walked into her room, and I said, “what’s going on? What happened.” She responded with, “Well, my whole assignment is ruined. I’m going to fail for sure. I might as well just give up.”

I didn’t know what to do at the time. I sat there, and I listened. I tried to empathize, and I told my daughter that she doesn’t really seem to be thinking rationally. I told her, “I don’t think you’re going to fail. Please don’t give up. You can do this.” I was offering encouragement. But of course, she wouldn’t hear it, and she rejected everything I had to say. I offered advice too but, it didn’t help. I couldn’t figure out why my child was being so stubborn!

Why Is My Child Stubborn?

Why Is My Child Stubborn?

When kids get stuck in Thinking Traps, they seem so stubborn. Their thinking is irrational. Their thoughts are being distorted, and psychologists call these Cognitive Distortions. Their perception of reality is skewed. You hear children say things like, “He thinks I’m stupid,” or “My life is over.”

My heart goes out to parents because I know this is really difficult to combat and handle. After all, it’s very frustrating. Step one for helping your child is learning what Thinking Traps are so you can spot them when they happen. I’m going to explain to you in this video several of the most popular kinds of Thinking Traps. Then I’m going to end with four suggestions on how to combat those Thinking Traps, and lastly, I’m going to give you a bonus at the end. So, stay with me because we got a lot of great things happening today.

Thinking Traps for Why Is My Child Stubborn?

Fortune Telling.   This is when we predict the future will turn out badly. Your child might say things like, “I couldn’t get an A last semester, so I know I won’t get an A this semester either.  OR “No one is going to come to my party.  I just know it.”  BUT we don’t really know how things will turn out.

Black and White Thinking.  This is when we only see the situation in terms of extremes.  Good or bad.  Success or failure.  In your child, it might look like this: …. If they had a test and fail- now they are saying things like, “I am stupid.” “I don’t know anything.” Or if a close friend gets angry with them, now they are saying things like, “I am completely friend-less.  No one will ever be my friend anymore. I am completely unlovable.”   You see, there is not in between thinking- These kids use the words ALWAYS or NEVER a lot.  Everything is super good or super bad when most life situations fall somewhere in the middle.  If you get one traffic ticket- it doesn’t mean you are the worst driver in the world.  It just means you must slow down and reassess your driving tendencies.

Catastrophizing.  This is when we imagine the worst possible outcome is going to happen.  If your child fails that one exam, they may say things like, “Now I am never going to get into college!”  Or “my parents are arguing so they must be getting a divorce!”  This Thinking trap can also come out as Over-Estimating Danger.  This brings on a lot of anxiety, and you may hear kids say things like, “I’m am just going to die!” or “It will give me a heart attack.”  Everything is a disaster in their mind, but the imagined worst-case scenario usually never happens.

Mind-Reading.  This trap occurs when we believe that we know what others are thinking.  “I know they hate me because I see the looks they give me.” “I know my teacher thinks I am stupid.” This Thinking Trap has children jumping to conclusions.  However, we don’t really know what others think at all.

Ignoring the Positive Thinking Trap.  This happens when we only pay attention to the bad things and overlooking the whole picture- which usually has some good too.   We can’t come to a balanced conclusion at all and often, this Thinking Trap manifests itself in belittling our successes.  You hear kids saying things like, “That doesn’t count.” “I only got lucky” or solely just focusing on the one bad part of their day instead of the 20 things that went well.

Everyone Is Against Me.  These kids feel the world is against them and are often aggressive when they have a disagreement with others or get in trouble at school.   They go into a fight or flight mode. These children are often misunderstood because they are “fighters” and are simply trying to protect themselves from harm.  The threat may not be real, but it is real to them.

Why Is My Child Stubborn?

Why Is My Child Stubborn?

Thinking Traps can bring a lot of anxiety and anger management issues into your household. The problems can mount and if Thinking Traps are not addressed- matters can worsen.  If anything I said today resonated with you, I’d like for you to check out a couple of other free videos that I have for you.

The free videos are webinars. They’re going to go in more depth about what’s going to help take those behaviors and change them in your child. It’s an eight-step process. I have one webinar if your child’s Thinking Traps manifest in anxiety. I have a different webinar for Thinking Traps that manifest in aggressive behaviors. If you can get two or three different new tips to help your child that you didn’t know before, which I know you will, then it’s worth your time to watch!

Anxiety Webinar:  https://theimpactfulparent.com/anxiety-webinar

Anger Webinar:  https://theimpactfulparent.com/anger-webinar

Now let’s get to four quick tips about how you can combat some of these Thinking Traps!

  1. Help your child get grounded. This means, help them think of something different.  Move their attention away from the problem for a little while.  Concentrate on breathing, their heart beating, or simply get them to talk about something else for a while until they calm down, so you can revisit the problem more rationally.
  2. Teach you about Thinking Traps. Make them aware of what they are and how they can be a problem.  Then, help them recognize when they may be in a Thinking Trap situation.
  3. How to give your child a reality check. Ask the child questions to make them realize that they could be irrational.  Challenge the Thinking Traps with strategic questions.
  4. Roleplay different solutions. Allow them to see other possible outcomes visually.

And this is just the beginning!  Find out more about the 8 steps it will take for you to help your child change their behaviors so that you can stop worrying all the time and bring normalcy back into your household.

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