One of my friends is having a horrible time with her almost-4-year old daughter, who might possibly be the queen of all stubborn little girls. I found this article: Stubborn kids from Parenting, Aug. 2007. Here are some of the good quotes and points of the article:
"It's up to you to show them they don't rule the world--without teaching them to be wimps."
"Of course, most kids this age are hardheaded. What sets the genetically inflexible apart is the ferocity and persistence with which they do battle."
"Stubbornness also often comes with a steadfast ability to focus, and that can boost learning."
"There's a mighty find line between being a leader and being bossy... To tame your child's bossiness:
"Let him be heard." Sometimes just taking an extra minute to hear his/her argument will "quell" the fight. (This so helps me with my 2-year-old, even if I don't cave in to his persistent whining and the answer is still no - it helps him just to have my full attention and know that I want to listen to his reasoning.)
"Teach her about give and take." "...kids need to understand that they may have to give up something they want to get something else they want--and that being demanding can have consequences they won't like." (Teach them that their friend may not want to play with them if they refuse to take turns, etc. Prepare them for compromise when they are little, rather than wait until they are 4 or older.)
"Lead by example." "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." (This is so true with us!) "Perhaps stubbornness is genetic--or your child is taking his cue from you." (My kids have helped me to recognize that I am very stubborn also, but that I don't have to control every little thing in their lives.)
"Try to curb your pigheaded tendencies, not just with your child... also with other adults" (like your husband!) Talk through disputes and show "your child that adults have to sacrifice, too."
"Treat a stubborn kid like any other kid." "If being understanding isn't working, don't hesitate to whip out the standard mom tools:
"*the illusion of choice ("I can't make you go to sleep, but you have to stay in bed")
"*the "do-it-your-way" approach ("You can use as much soap as you want as long as you wash")
"Also be prepared to play the Mom card. A 3-year-old who throws a tantrum to get five more minutes at the playground, for instance, gets picked up and taken home." (Following through with consequences to bad behavior (like fits) is extremely helpful for us, but easier said than done because they chose the worst times to do it. The fits continue, however, until I consistently follow through.)
"...if you're constantly harping on your child about his stubborn streak, he'll start to think there's something wrong with him." (This is really hard for me because I always harp on my kids to be nice, etc.) "That's why it's so important to accept your child for who he is." (This is getting easier for me as I am backing off more as my kids get older; I am trying not to control every little piece of them like before, but rather trying to encourage and love them for who they are.)
"That glimmer of silver lining you're seeing now--the leadership, learning skills, and confidence--will likely amplify as your child gets older."
Anyway! I love this article and am glad I saved it. Hopefully someone else found a helpful piece of advice in there too!