Stubborn Children

Is your child's stubborness a success trait?

Posted Dec 22, 2015

“I’m not going to school”

“I won’t wear those socks”

“I’m not going to bed”

Such are the sayings from stubborn children. They get stuck on something, and refuse to budge. Logic doesn’t matter either. For example, Chris at age 8, refuses to wear socks despite the fact he lives in Minot, North Dakota and the temperature is 15 degrees. Of course, this is a parenting challenge but not an impossible one.

Despite these obstacles there is an upside to raising a stubborn child. They stay with problems longer than their counterparts (thus finding answers!), stick with what they know is true (less likely to succumb to peer pressure) and are more likely to advocate for themselves (eventually earning top dollar compared to their peers). Some of these points were highlighted in a recent scientific study brought to people’s attention by Time Magazine.

Specifically, this study reported that strong-willed children later in life were found to:

  • Become educational over-achievers
  • High income adults

Said differently, the same quality that drives parents “crazy” when it comes out as defiance or denial can actually be a good thing. These kids can use their strong-willed nature to learn how to focus, pursue their educational goals, hone a craft and create a prosperous life. Of course, this is a welcome news to many exhausted adults.

Stay Positive

Raising a strong-willed child can be challenging to say the least, but once they learn how to harness this as a force for good sky is the limit. There has been no innovation, breakthrough or great achievement on this planet that didn’t require an incredible level of stick-with-it-ness that stubborn children have in spades. Surely, Einstein or Edison challenged their parents with their persistent nature but with time, and effort it become one of their greatest assets. The same can be true for your son or daughter but in the meantime, take heart that their stubbornness is actually a trait of success.

By Maureen Healy

Maureen Healy is an award-winning author, international speaker and expert on children’s emotional health. Her first book, Growing Happy Kids, helps parents develop inner confidence in their children and themselves. More info: and @mdhealy    

Study (Developmental Psychology Journal, Sept 2015)

Time Magazine

PT Blogs (previous)

The Sensitive yet Stubborn Child 

The Defiant Child