Making Peace With Your Strong-Willed Child

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Are you tired of struggling with your child's behavior? Every parent knows the feeling. Your child has just drawn on the wall, or refused to get dressed, or talked back to you for the millionth time. For some children, these moments of defiance are just that…moments. But for strong-willed children, these "moments" can become a way of life. And, they can zap the resolve of even the most patient parent.

Postures of Strong-Willed Children
A strong-willed child is one who loves to challenge the rules. This is a child who knows that "anything is possible". To strong-willed children, it might take longer to do it, but to them, it can still be done! That is frustrating to parents who try to motivate their kids with rigid postures. If dad or mom say, "I'm not going to allow you to do that.", the strong-willed child will think, "Oh yes you will, you've let me do it before". There's that little glint in your son or daughter's eye as they challenge the limits of "not now" and "you can't", or "do it right now!"

How Do They Respond to Rigid Disciplinary Measures?
When parents issue demands and ultimatums, strong-willed children will force the parent into creating consequences rather than do what he or she is told. They do that by stalling, refusing to pick up after themselves, and by refusing to cooperate with demands like "It's time to do this" or "You have to do that". 

The strong-willed child wants to have a sense of control over his or her life. If you find you're in frequent battles with your child, there's a pretty good chance that your child, and possibly you, are also strong-willed. 

Having a strong-willed child in the family can be difficult and challenging, but not impossible to handle. And, it certainly doesn't mean that parents are necessarily the cause of the strong-willed child's behavior. The fact is, there are many factors and influences that children experience from the moment of birth (and even before), that determine the character and behaviors of children.

So, What are Parents to Do?
*First of all, as much as possible, parents must agree to the same approaches and be firm, fair, and consistent in their interaction with the child. 

*Second, parents must remember that screaming, hollering, badgering, and spanking will not help the child to become a better person or more cooperative. Doing those things will only cause the child to challenge the authority again and again. 

*Third, parents must be aware of strong-willed children's need to have a say in things. That they need to have a sense of having choices, that they are important, and that they are being heard. 

*Fourth, parents have a better chance of making peace with their strong-willed child if they understand that strong-willed children just love to be given opportunities to make decisions, to be in charge, and to be recognized as someone who is basically good at heart.

Some Closing Thoughts...
To be truly successful in raising and guiding a strong-willed child, parents must continue to be fair and respectful…to themselves, to each other, and to their children. They must also have opportunities to "get away from it all" once in awhile to help them to recapture the patience that is so often required when living with a strong-willed child.