Your Stubborn Child Is Actually a High-Achieving Adult

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If you’re the parent of a stubborn child I’d bet you would tell me how exhausting it can be. Everything’s an argument! There is good news though. Turns out that your stubborn child is more likely to be a high-achieving adult and possibly even earn more money in their career.

The Benefits of Have a Stubborn Child

A stubborn child is a blessing.

For sure they can be a handful. Oh my gosh. Have you ever tried to talk a child who hates peas into eating peas? It’ll be the worst 12 hours of your life.

I know there are parenting experts that know how to easily get a stubborn child to put on their shoes or stop touching their brother. Too bad I’m not a parenting expert.

My feeling is that a lot of those hard-headed qualities make for a safer, more well-adjusted kid. They are not followers and they don’t do things because someone told them to.

Those are traits I would choose to foster in a child. The idea that my child could not be talked into doing something they shouldn’t is comforting.

What science says about a stubborn child.

In 2015 researchers studied what happens to these kids when they’re adults. Will they still scream when someone asks them to eat an egg or cuts their sandwich the wrong way?

Is there a good chance that at the age of 42, they’ll still be trying to run out in traffic because they refuse to look both ways?

Well, we hope not.

What the research found was that a stubborn kid will likely be more high-achieving and earn more money as an adult simply because of their stubbornness. In fact, they say that stubborn streak is even more influential in that regard than their IQ or what the socioeconomic status of their parents was.

That’s a big deal!

Is your child stubborn?

If you daily have to deal with a small human in your house who makes you wait forever while they tie their own shoes, you can recognize stubbornness from a mile away.

You don’t need a quiz to find out whether or not your child is stubborn, right?

They’re bossy, but incredibly self-aware. They know for sure what they want and what they don’t want, and they aren’t easily swayed.

They’re curious and questioning. They want to know why and without a good why, they’re just not that into doing what you want them to do.

“Put your hat on.”


“Because it’s cold out?”


You know the drill. They can go on as far as your patience will allow with the why questions.

Tell me not to do something, and I will do it twice and take pictures.

Parents probably shouldn’t try to break a child’s stubborn streak completely, but instead figure out how to outsmart it. They have to be taught when it’s good to be stubborn and when it’s not.

After all, you don’t want them to go too far and turn into a child no one wants to be around.

Rather than always punishing them for the behavior you see as out of line, try some positive reinforcement where you can.

In other words, brag on your child for getting out the door for school on time and talk less about how wrong it is to keep you waiting.

Be consistent. What’s okay on Monday can’t be wrong on Tuesday. It’s confusing for any child, but especially so for a stubborn child. It’ll lead to lots more questions!

What are your tips for dealing with stubbornness in your kids?

Do you feel good about them having a little stubborn streak? Do you find that it bothers you more than it does other people? Kids are often way better for other people than their own moms. 

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5 comments on “Your Stubborn Child Is Actually a High-Achieving Adult”

  1. I was blessed with a very stubborn daughter but she has grown into a wonderful, resourceful, strong young woman and I am so proud of her today for what she has accomplished.

  2. I have a ”strong willed” granddaughter. It drives my son insane! His wife has a degree in psychology, she’s wasting a lot of time trying to reason with a 4 yr old. My approach is different, I give little Miss Bossy Britches a choice. ie You don’t want to wear your coat? You have a choice to make, put on your coat and we’ll go OR we’ll stay home and you can sit on the couch. She hates being ”putted on the couch”. This only works if you can actually stay home; but is effective for those optional trips. Getting out the door struggles? DON’T turn on the TV or electronics of ANY KIND until they are ready to go out the door. Buy a timer, see if they can beat their best time for putting on shoes etc. Print out some reward coupons for getting out the door on time: a stop at the ice cream store; 1 extra story tonight; pajamas all day Sun; no peas this week! Keep them in the car!

  3. I was a child that was very stubborn I am now 63 and I was an overachiever and made fantastic money. Nothing was good enough I pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed until I got what I needed I was kind I was a good boss. But my whole life I’ve been hardheaded butted heads with my father who wanted me to be something that I wasn’t I wasn’t going to give in and I wasn’t going to compromise

  4. Debra Isenberger

    It bothers others more than it bothers me. I understand when the ODD kicks in, and that I need to wait until whatever mood he is in passes, or take time to turn the mood around or deal with whatever is causing the emotion first. Unfortunately, there is always someone (usually a family member), who knows the “correct parenting strategy” and is quick to give me advice on how to raise my child. My child’s ODD lessens as he gets older and learns more strategies. But, answering the “why” questions has been very helpful.

    1. Dear Debra, I completely get it! I have a 15 year old daughter and throughout the years others have been so triggered by her hard-headed behavior. I have been subjected to non-stop advice and criticism as to how I should be raising her. Her constant arguing can at times drive me insane! There is no doubt in my mind that as an adult she will be very successful and she has a strong moral compass and will not stray from it to follow others. Hang in there.

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