Arguments will make it worse
Stubborn kids do everything it takes to hold their ground, so arguing during these stressful situations makes it even worse. Being patient, on the other hand, helps calming the child down a great deal.
Having a friendly conversation with the kid during tense situations makes the kid feel understood. Stubborn kids don’t like taking orders, so talking nicely to them will release the stress and make them more likely to listen and behave better. Shouting on the other hand has negative consequences.
Determining the reasons
Knowing the reasons behind the kids refusal to follow the instructions or do certain activities is so important. It helps the parents understand the kid’s fears and come up with new ideas to make them accept the situation or even let go if what they’re asking the kid to do isn’t so reasonable.
Showing care and love
Some kids consider being stubborn a way to win their parents’ attention. Listening to kids and having a daily conversation with them will make them feel loved, cared about, and won’t seek their parents’ attention as they know they already have it.
This will lessen the stress. Also the kid will feel that he/she is handling the situation and that his/her opinion counts.
Being assertive when necessary
Sometimes there’s no option to be given. If the issue/order the kid is refusing to follow is a matter of safety or a health issue then being assertive about it is a must. Only compromise when it’s negotiable.
Giving a hint in advance or creating a routine
For some kids bathing or meal times are panic times, so giving the kid a former notice about the next activity and giving him/her adequate time to be prepared is much better than surprises.
Diverting the kid’s attention
Shifting the kid’s attention towards another topic or a thing they love, like reading a few pages of their favorite book or holding his/her favorite toy, releases the stress and makes him/her more relaxed and willing to listen and negotiate. (See Why unexpected things attract our attention?)
Teaching the kid to negotiate
Letting kids take part in making the decision and teaching them the give and take policy makes them less stubborn about their opinion or choice. Letting the kid choose what to wear, what to play or where to go every once in a while is helpful.
Making the consequences related to the behavior
When the kid is behaving in a stubborn way the consequences must match his/her behavior.
Making the consequences related to the behavior (continue)
For example, the consequences of throwing toys can be forbidding him/her from playing with those toys for the following couple of hours, but not sitting in the naughty corner; the kid needs to understand their fault by taking away the privilege they misused.
Following up vs. giving up
Kids are smart, they observe and act accordingly. If the kid notices that their parents are always just threatening and no serious actions are taken, or lose their patience and eventually give up, then they will hold on for as long as it takes for mom/dad to give up.
Turning bad behavior into a good one
Many kids behave aggressively when their parents insist on doing something, so they begin to throw stuff or even hit their parents or themselves. Yelling and punishing are not useful in this case. Instead, the parent should hold the kid’s hand and teach them how to use it properly and gently.
Letting the kids know about their mistakes
Choosing the right time to do so is important. When the kid is relaxed and behaving well, a comparison between his/her current state and their behavior while acting stubborn and aggressive will help them realize their mistakes.
Kids copy what they see
Kids behave the same way their parents do. They simply mimic what they see. If the parents are always arguing, shouting and tense, the kid will behave in the exact same way. So being a paradigm to the kid in a healthy environment at home will change their behavior. (See Why some people like to argue?)
Praise positive behavior
Rewarding the kid for positive behavior even by words will encourage them to always behave well.