If you have your hands full raising a particularly stubborn child, it can be easy to feel defeated. You might wonder if you’re doing or saying the right things, or you might be concerned about your child growing up with such strong personality traits. But it turns out, your stubborn child is going to be A-OK. According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, stubborn children who defy authority are more likely to become academic overachievers and successful adults.

The Study on Personality Traits

Researchers studied children between the ages of 8 and 12. They assessed each child for various personality traits, including academic conscientiousness, entitlement and defiance. After 40 years, the researchers checked in on the participants, now adults, to see how they had evolved.

rolling eyes personality traits

The study found that the children who were considered stubborn and most likely to defy authority ended up becoming more successful than their peers. Researchers concluded that overall, this group of children became academic overachievers and high-earning adults. It turns out that rule-breaking and defiance of parental authority were the best predictors of earning a high income as an adult.

While the study doesn’t explain exactly why there is such a strong correlation between stubbornness and defiance in children and a high income as an adult, the study’s authors have their theories. They say that such children might be more competitive in the classroom, which leads to better grades. They might also be more demanding as adults, which can come in handy during salary negotiations and handling their finances.

smile personality traits

Therapists say that strong-willed children are also more willing to do what’s right, instead of what their friends are doing. So as a parent, if you’re able to motivate your strong-willed child to use their drive toward doing well in school, your kid might just turn out to be a motivated leader who sets a good example.

So how exactly do you get through to a stubborn child? Follow the tips below:

1. Hear Them Out – Keep an open conversation and approach your child in a calm and practical manner instead of being confrontational.

2. Don’t Force Them – Forcing a stubborn child to do something is guaranteeing that they’ll rebel. Try to connect with them and understand their reasoning.

3. Give Them Options – Instead of telling your child to go to bed, ask which bedtime story they want to read. Try options instead of demands.

4. Stay Calm – Help your child understand how to behave by staying clam. Don’t turn a conversation into a shouting match.

5. Negotiate – Sometimes, negotiation works best. Be practical, but considerate. Try to find a solution that works for both of you.

Parenting a stubborn child can be tough, but once they learn to focus their determination on something positive, there’s no stopping them!

If you want to get a sense of your own personality traits, try this 4-question quiz, a short version of the Myers-Briggs Personality test.

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