How to deal with a stubborn family member

Ah, family relations. Family members can add great fun to your life. But they can also be a bit of a pain when they're stubborn as a mule. What should you do when you have a family member who just won't look at the other side of things or who won't let anyone else tell him/her what to do (even when s/he should definitely listen to what the rest of the family is saying!)? It can definitely be a trial when they won't listen. So this article will try to help you think of ways to deal with a stubborn family member- how you should react and what you can do to try to persuade that person to do what you think s/he should do.

Dealing with a stubborn family member can be very frustrating, especially when you want that person to see or do things your way. Here are five tips to help you deal with them.

  1. First, stop trying to coerce, nag, bully, or talk your stubborn family member into doing what you want them to do. Doing so never works, it just causes them to rebel more and be more stuck in their ways. Plus, it drains you of your energy. And let's face it- most of us don't have time and energy to waste trying to persuade a stubborn family member to see things our way.
  2. Tell the truth. Tell your family member how you feel when you see them choosing to do something that may be unhealthy, stupid, harmful or unwise. You might say, "I feel furious when I see you smoking." Or "I feel scared that you are going to die when I see you eating five doughnuts so soon after your triple heart bypass." Do your best to speak in a way that expresses how YOU are feeling, without blaming your family member in an accusing and inflammatory manner.
  3. Model good and healthy behavior. Taking good care of yourself and being a good example of what a person should be doing is the only thing you CAN do. You can't make someone else take care of themselves or do what you want, but if you show them that you are willing to act the way you think they should, they'll be more likely to eventually give in.
  4. Give them some space. Sometimes people only know how to get attention when they are being stubborn and bull-headed. People rush in to save them, and secretly, they like it even though they're getting "negative" attention. Instead, reserve your attention for when they are doing things that are good for them. Praise them for the good choices.
  5. Understand their perspective. Maybe your family member is being stubborn because s/he really and truly believes that their way is the best way. Or maybe they're afraid to change their mind because they'll be so ridiculed for having finally given in. Whatever the reason, being understanding and calm with your stubborn family member is the best way to deal with them.

Ultimately, this is their life, and they get to choose how to live it, opinions to have, and things to be stubborn about. Letting your family member make their own choices and have their own decisions is difficult, but necessary. In the long run, you and your family will probably be much happier in leaving the stubborn one alone. And you never know- maybe your family member is being stubborn for attention and in leaving them alone they'll eventually come around to your side. And then you won't have anyone in your family to pick on anymore.and what fun will that be?

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