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Why is my four-year-old daughter so stubborn?

Wednesday, 09 April 2008
Answered by: Dr. S. Anandalakshmy
Consultant in Child Development & Education,

Chennai
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Q. My daughter is four years of age and is very stubborn. She goes to a proper school and then goes to the day boarding after the school as both of us are working. When I go to pick her up in the evening, she insists that she wants to be with her friends and does not like to return home. Even when she is at home she likes to go out of the house. She loves to play with the small children of 2-3 years of age. At times, when she is unbearable, I hit her but she cries and yells a lot and returns to her usual self after a few hours. I do not know what to do as she is absolutely ok at the boarding and remains happy there. Please help as she is my only child and I want her to be a naughty but also a decent child. She is not at all shy and goes with anybody. I feel scared for her.

A.  You sound like an overworked person, who has no time and no patience. Your statement that when your 4 year old is unbearable you hit her, seems to reflect your own need for less stress and more quiet time. If she is happy with her friends, is that a problem? Would you rather that she is unhappy? When parents do not have much time for her, she has adapted to being with her group of friends or even with people she does not know well. Your child is a human being with her own traits, preferences, likes and dislikes. She is not a mail-order product. You will have to spend time getting to know her, and wanting her to know you well. Relationships are time-intensive and gradual. I cannot imagine why you worry about her being a decent child. What does that mean? Please spend some time in introspection and discussion. Think of your child’s happiness as the top priority.

A.  You sound like an overworked person, who has no time and no patience. Your statement that when your 4 year old is unbearable you hit her, seems to reflect your own need for less stress and more quiet time. If she is happy with her friends, is that a problem? Would you rather that she is unhappy? When parents do not have much time for her, she has adapted to being with her group of friends or even with people she does not know well. Your child is a human being with her own traits, preferences, likes and dislikes. She is not a mail-order product. You will have to spend time getting to know her, and wanting her to know you well. Relationships are time-intensive and gradual. I cannot imagine why you worry about her being a decent child. What does that mean? Please spend some time in introspection and discussion. Think of your child’s happiness as the top priority.

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