Mom: Kaya, I’m so proud of you for being such a great helper.
Kaya: [Smiles and cuddles in close to mom]
Mom: Sweet heart you are such a kind person. You love to help me and daddy and grandma and grandpa and anybody who needs some help.
Kaya: But I’m naughty, mommy.
Mom: We all make mistakes sometimes and that OK. You spend way more time being kind than making mistakes and I just love that about you. And everybody else loves it about you too!
Mom: Of course! Daddy told me yesterday that you helped him to push the cart at the grocery store and helped put the groceries into the car. And grandma called last week to tell me how big of a help you were when you were baking cookies. Everyone who knows you tells me how kind and helpful you are. And I’m so proud that you are my daughter!
Kaya: But mommy, my teacher says I’m naughty a lot.
Mom: Your’re right Kaya. Sometimes your teacher tells me about the wrong choices that you’ve made that day. You and I know that you can do better. But you know what?
Mom: I know that you know how to be kind and helpful all the time, even on the days when you’ve accidentally made wrong choices. And I know it’s hard to do that, so I’m very proud of you for being my big, kind helper every day.
Kaya: [Smiles and hugs mom] Thanks mommy.
For stubborn, strong-willed kids, their reputation can really precede them. Kids with this personality know that their parents, extended family and daycare providers and/or teachers can get easily frustrated with their stubborn and argumentative tendencies. This can really effect their self-esteem and make them wonder if anyone truly loves them. This way of thinking will only worsen behavior, as well as cause an array of mental health concerns down the road.
This technique really helps to remind children that they aren’t terrible people who only bring frustration an anger to every situation and that you love and cherish them for the many qualities that make them unique.
Has your child experienced low self-esteem because of their stubborn, argumentative personality style? If you feel comfortable, share your story below. And if you’ve tried this technique with any luck, please share your successes below to help encourage other moms who are currently struggling with this challenge.