A mom recently asked me on Instagram how I handle my strong willed daughter. I was taken back at first because I never really thought anything of it. I never really thought about the fact that raising a strong willed child is insanely difficult. Then I started posting about it on social media and I realized how many other parents are going through the same thing so I wanted to talk more about it.
A strong willed child is defined as one who is extremely stubborn and always has to get their way. These kids will go after what they want, they are always sure of themselves and often cause power struggles. Power struggles occur almost daily in my house and it is one of the most difficult factors in raising a strong willed daughter. Liv does not listen, like at all. She desperately wants to be in charge of herself and thinks everything she’s doing is “right.” So lately I have been remaining calm when an incident happens, I’ll usually ignore her until she’s ready to listen. I’ll crouch down and get eye level with her which is very important so that she doesn’t feel like she is being talked down to and I will calmly explain myself. I try not to yell at her, because I don’t want her to stop being independent I just want her to start listening and understand why she needs to.
It’s not that Olivia is a difficult child because she is actually an absolute delight. She is sweet, generous, insanely smart and helpful. She finds joy in the small things and is grateful and polite to others. But when she disagrees, she is the most stubborn person I have ever come across. She does not comply to be obedient, she complies when she feels it is the right thing to do or it makes sense to her. That can make it difficult to parent her, at times. If you are raising a strong willed child, then I feel for you.
My top tips for raising a strong willed child are:
-do not yell, talk to your child in a way that they will understand
-do not punish them for not listening, I’ve found time and time again that time out does not work because she isn’t seeing the real reason why she’s in trouble
-trust is key! If your child trusts you then they will be more likely to listen to you
-have a routine! if your child knows the schedule of the day they are less likely to have meltdowns
-give your child a warning when it is time for a new activity or task that way they are prepared for the changes ahead of time
-tell your child you understand! tell them that their feelings are ok! The last thing you want is your child to think is that their behavior is wrong.
Parenting strong willed children is anything but easy. Especially because there is no quick or guaranteed fix. As a parent try not to crush their spirits, try not to yell and try not to change them. Be patient, be understanding and be resilient. Strong willed children turn into self-motivators and often grow into leaders as adults. They won’t give into peer pressure, and will want to learn things for themself. So hang in there for now because your child is going to grow into an incredible adult some day.