My 9-Year-Old Daughter Is Very Stubborn, What to Do?

15 September, 2020
Q Asalamualikim.

I have a 9-year-old daughter who is very stubborn. She wants to do whatever she wants. For example, she doesn't want to wear an undershirt since she was 5 and still doing an argument not to wear it.

As she is a bit healthy it looks bad on her. There are many things she wants to do it the way she likes.

Since childhood, I try to teach her Islamic stories and used to spend a lot of time with her. I used to reward her and encourage her to listen to me and sometimes timeout.

I used to listen to Islamic lectures which are saying spend time with kids, but nothing worked with me.

She doesn't care about how to make Allah or mom happy. I am worried about her. As now she talks back a lot. I am worried her younger sister might learn from her.

I also, keep an eye in her friends and school, there is no issue over there for her this behavior. kindly guide me

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•Set firmer boundaries and consequences while at the same time respecting her growing need for making choices.

•Sit down with her and have a mother to daughter talk. Inform her that you do respect that she has opinions and preferences but as a member of the family she is to obey you.

•Inform her that if she disobeys there will be repercussions and outline some of these consequences so she understands.


As salamu alaykum sister,

Thank you for writing to us. As I understand your situation, your 9-year-old daughter is very stubborn which is causing problems for you.

Your daughter’s stubbornness may be a way of exerting her feelings of independence and power over a situation. This is a trait that is difficult to deal with at any age, but a stubborn child can frustrate us all! 

At this age, your child has figured out how people react and now exhibits the behaviors that work.

I would kindly suggest that insha’Allah you set firmer boundaries and consequences while at the same time respecting her growing need for making choices. For instance, if she does not want to wear a particular shirt, give her a choice or two or three.

She is free to pick which one-but she must pick one. If not there will be a consequence for not obeying.

Perhaps cancel a play-date, take away a favorite game or something else that is meaningful to her.  Apply this to all situations in which there is no harm in her choosing. There will also be times when her having a choice is not an option.

When children refuse to do something and we give up in order to avoid a battle with them, it just reinforces their idea that they can do and say whatever they want without structure or consequences (i.e. her talking back).

Without limits or repercussions, the child begins to feel as if they are in control and they can do or say whatever they please. I would kindly suggest that insha’Allah you sit down with her and have a mother to daughter talk.

Inform her that you do respect that she has opinions and preferences but as a member of the family she is to obey you. Tell her that at times she will have choices and at other times she will not. 

Inform her that if she disobeys there will be repercussions and outline some of these consequences so she understands.

My 9-Year-Old Daughter Is Very Stubborn, What to Do? - About Islam

It may be difficult in the beginning as she is used to getting what she wants.  The bright side is that if you are persistent and consistent in your efforts she eventually will see that you mean business. 

Insha’Allah after some trying times (and yes there will be tantrums!) she will see that she can no longer just do whatever she wants and that she must obey or risk losing something of value to her.

By taking back control, you are actually giving her what she really wants-structure. Children may act out and not want to listen, but all children really do want boundaries. It provides a child with a sense of order. 

Even when children act out and try to be in control, having the power to over rule an adult can be frightening.  They know adults are to be in charge.  Children also count on parents to guide their behavior.


Check out this counseling video


Your daughter is almost on the verge of being a pre-teen. Insha’Allah begin to set up more structure, boundaries and consequences now as it will be much more difficult when she is a teen. 

Also as you have a younger child, your taking control of the situation now will prevent your other child from thinking she too can be in charge.

Insha’Allah you can change her behavior in regards to her stubbornness.  This will be a benefit to not only you, the family as a whole-but for your daughter as she interacts more with the world at large.

We wish you the best, you are in our prayers.

Salam,

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.