Why is my child so stubborn and disobedient?
Q: I have a 5.5 years old son who is constantly disobedient. I have had a few letters home from school with complaints from his teachers. Its not that he's a bad child but he just loves to have fun and be silly and can't stop when he's told to. It's like he doesn't listen to us when we tell him something because he completely ignores us and goes on doing what he wants to. Just the other day, we told him not to go out so he closed the room door and climbed out of the window. We've tried slapping him on the bottom, making him stay in his room or miss out on special events like family birthday parties etc, but nothing works. When he's alone with us in the house he is such good company and plays about and is so loving, but when he wants to do something and is told not to, he just does not listen. I just don't know what to do for the best. He has an older sister who is 10 years old and the two of them get along very well.
A:The child does seem to have a problem accepting anyones authority. Your work with him will have to be patient and firm. Instead of being very strict and always producing a set of negative instructions, try and give in on small things so that you can insist on major issues. Try and capitalise on his affection for you and his sibling and use your hugs and smiles as part of the reward system for his being good. He is very bright and daring to find means of disobeying you. Traditionally in India, Krishna stories are very much like this. A certain spirit of independence and energy should be admired in a child. I do understand that you would like his compliance, but try and adjust the rules to suit his temperament, provided his safety is assured. If you beat him, it will only be a short time before he beats you back! Persuade him gently when he is in a good mood.