Stubborn, lazy, and distracted children possess unique traits that can lead to a better career success and happy life. Explore how genetic analysis and the right environment can help understand a child's behavioral traits, which can be channeled towards a positive path.
What you will learn -
- How genetics and environment impact child behavioural traits?
- Understanding the science behind stubborn, lazy, and distracted child behavior
- How to create the right environment for your children?
Are you constantly asking around and searching online for queries like “how to deal with stubborn child” and “my child is smart, but there is lack of concentration?”
You're not alone if you have a stubborn, lazy, or easily distracted little one. Many parents struggle with the same bedtime battles and mealtime meltdowns.
Besides, what if you are looking at it all wrong? What if that laziness could be a good thing for your child, for instance?
Did you know lazy people tend to be brainer than physically active people?
Even researchers define laziness as a "need for cognition", where lazy people look for intense mental simulation activities like solving puzzles, playing chess, debating.
Studies increasingly support the notion that personality traits that were previously considered negative, can actually be a good thing.
For instance, stubborn children are more likely to be successful than other children. What does stubborn mean in the role of a salesperson or a lawyer? It means determined!
And of course, even your child can achieve great success as a stubborn, lazy or distracted child. But that can happen through identifying your child's genetic strengths and providing right environment to nurture those.
So, how can you create the ideal environment that helps your stubborn child, or lazy kids to thrive?
And how do you identify – and tap into – the positive side of child behavior traits that are commonly perceived as negative?
You’re here reading this, so you’ve taken a step in the right direction. Facilitating your child starts with understanding your child’s behaviour or if your child is misguided in any way.
How Genetics Impact Child Behaviour
There is increasing awareness that genetics plays a role in shaping child personality. Parents are increasingly getting aware that multiple genes collectively contribute to behavioural traits like stubbornness, laziness, or distractibility.
However, we shouldn’t forget the influence of the child’s environment. Let’s look at genetic factors that impact your child’s traits:
Genetic abnormalities contribute to behavioural traits in children
Genetic abnormalities or mutations can contribute to specific behavioural traits.
For example, ADHD is associated with a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Studies suggest that genetic variations affecting dopamine neurotransmitter systems play a role in its development.
- Maternal stress and nutrition during pregnancy affect your child’s genes and child behaviour. Of course, there’s not much you can do about your stress levels and diet retrospectively, but it is good to note if you are planning on having another child.
- You can talk to your pediatrician about this. You should definitely also try genetic testing. This type of testing can help you not only find out if your child has any genetic abnormalities but also identify your child’s genetic strengths so that you can guide them in the right direction.
If you’re “afraid to find out” you aren’t the first parent to feel that way. But look at it this way: you’ll only be able to really help your child once you know.
Children with learning disabilities are supposed to get the right environment at school, for example. You can negotiate a right environment for your child to the school authorities only when you are aware of your child's genetic information.
How Environmental Factors Impact Child Behaviour
Environmental factors can trigger chemical modifications in the genes, switching them on or off. This dynamic interaction between genes and the environment shapes a child’s personality and can explain individual differences in responses to the same genetic predispositions.
In other words, the nature vs nurture argument “is dead” as scientist David Eagleman puts it. Eaglemen goes on to say that social feedback has a huge role to play in how the human brain develops.
Your child’s environment is a key factor to tap into his/her true genetic potential.
You can say that your child’s DNA is the foundation for your child’s life and career, but it becomes successful only through an enabling learning environment.
Pay attention to the following important environmental factors that contribute to a child's personality:
- The way parents interact with the children and one another.
- The way extended family interacts with the children and their parents.
- Peer relationships, including whether friendships exist at all.
- The way society (teachers and strangers) treats them.
- The way online interactions and communication happen with your child.
That’s why you need to inculcate positive and supportive environments which foster resilience and adaptive behaviour in your child. You want to avoid adverse environments because they affect your child's behaviour.
Here is how your child’s environment links to specific behavioral traits:
- Stubbornness in a child can stem from a suppressive environment where the child is unable to express and feels insecure.
- Laziness in a child may result from a lazy environment where no one is active and delaying tasks is a daily habit.
- An overstimulating environment, attention difficulties, or a lack of focus can influence distraction in a child.
How To Create The Right Environment For Your Child
To support your child in overcoming behavioural challenges, creating an enabling learning environment helps channel negative child behaviour to positive child behaviour. Here are some strategies to consider:
Practice encouraging and positive parenting
Are you always wondering how to deal with stubborn child?
It’s a normal parent nature – after all, you expect your children to show positive and socially accepting behaviour. It's for their own good.
So parents should try this:
- Reduce negative commentary and practice positive reinforcement on your child.
- Offer praise for effort not ability. Reward them when they demonstrate effort, perseverance, or focus.
Positive reinforcement can motivate your child to make better choices and gradually improve stubborn or lazy behaviour.
Ever heard about the Pygmalion effect?
It is a psychological phenomenon where positive reinforcement and high expectations get better performance, while criticism and low expectations damage performance. This is proven science! And all you need to do is say nicer things.
Establish energetic and active environment
You are complaining that your child is lazy and stubborn, but are you a lazy and stubborn parent?
If yes, then that may be the root cause of your child's laziness or stubbornness.
Pro tips to handle lazy children:
- Break tasks into smaller, manageable steps to prevent your child from becoming overwhelmed.
- Sit with your child to set achievable goals together.
- As a parent, become energetic and active in your tasks to expect the same from your child.
As your child grows, you can develop organisational skills by teaching them to prioritise tasks, create their own to-do lists, and manage their time effectively. This is especially important if you’re trying to figure out how to motivate a teenager.
Manage distractions for distracted children
Here’s what you need to do create an enabling learning environment for your children:
- Designate a quiet, organised study area which is free from excessive noise, clutter, and electronic distractions.
- Then observe your child to figure out what is distracting them. For example, maybe your child loves sports and wants to play more than studying. But is that a distraction or an interest that can be built into a career?
- Or, maybe your child is distracted by mobile games, or by virtue of the fact that they have too much screen time. You can encourage your child to play outdoor games that are similar to the mobile games that the child is addicted to.
- You could also motivate your children to follow their favourite show’s or game’s role models. Saying “XYZ superhero got so fast at running because he is focused towards his duties,” could be a start.
But remember, doing is better than saying. Positive reinforcement in parenting works when parents participate with children in various interests and activities of his/her interests.
Develop emotional connection and empathy
This cannot be emphasised enough: Nurture a strong emotional bond with your child.
You can easily manage your child's lazy, stubborn, and distracted behaviour with a strong parent-child emotional connection. That might sound complex, but it's possible through these three actions:
- Take time to talk to your child and understand their feelings, concerns, and frustrations.
- Listen actively and attentively when your child is talking to you (not while you’re skimming through your emails, or swiping through social media), validate their emotions, and provide reassurance.
You can’t expect your lazy kids to listen to you actively and follow your instructions, if you don’t listen to your kids properly.
- Don’t react in a hurry when your stubborn child is expressing his/her thoughts even when you might find them unethical or ridiculous. Listen to them, understand the consequences of your words or actions on a child, and then empower your child with the right thoughts.
Right Environment for Stubborn, Lazy, and Distracted Children
Parenting stubborn, distracted, and lazy kids can be challenging, but it can be incredibly rewarding with the right environment and strategies.
Understanding the underlying factors behind the child’s behaviour, across genetic predispositions and environmental influences, is crucial in providing the support they need to thrive. Talk to genetics experts, explore genetic testing, and invest not just money, but also your time, and emotions. After all, we’re talking about your child’s future.
Embracing your child’s individuality, practicing positive reinforcement, and fostering healthy child-parent communication works wonders in improving child behaviour.
As a parent, you must respect your child’s boundaries and create a learning environment that nurtures stubbornness, laziness, and distractedness into ambition, discipline, and focus.