It’s not for the weary, you will probably question your parenting abilities numerous times.
A strong-willed child is destined for greatness, their determination and sheer will, will get them through anything, and best of luck to anyone who tries to stop them (Good luck to us while raising them)
The Irony of my strong-willed child is his Name, Connor – literally means Strong Will. I clearly didn’t think that one through. Chris and I joke about who passed on the Strong will genes, we both accuse each other so perhaps my poor child got a double dose of stubborn persistence and will. Poor kid and poor us!
After some research and desperate seeking of answers, I have listed below some common behaviors of a Strong willed child. If these resonate with you, please remember that you are not alone Mama Bear. I too, have to re-evaluate the way I handle my rebel. A strong-willed child can teach you a lot about yourself, it can be a beautiful growth journey for everyone (It will be beautiful when they grown up, trust me .. it’s not always roses and unicorns while raising them)
Temper tantrums on steroids
Yes, toddlers throw tantrums, everyday without fail but a tantrum from a strong-willed child can go from 0 to 300 in seconds. If you yell, they yell louder, they will roll on the floor and the neighbors will think you are murdering them (they might even come knock and found out). They usually stem from not getting their own way or being told to do something they don’t want to do… which happens numerous times a day.
Gosh, I should have started with this one. They don’t care much for warnings. Ever feel like your toddler isn’t listening to you but the moment you mention something that interest them, they jump up at the speed of light? Yup… I know how you feeling. Its frustrating, they can tune out so easily if the topic doesn’t suit their needs.
They don’t give up easily
I didn’t realize a 3-year-old can hold an argument. I often think my child thrives on tiring us out with his constant nagging. He just goes and goes and goes. It’s mind baffling. You can try to distract him but it doesn’t always work. He will continue and continue until he is eventually just whispering it, but it’s still his same demand.
They have no patience
When they want the juice, they want it now, they don’t care that you on the loo or in the bath… they want it when they want it. They can’t handle waiting in the grocery line or doctors room, they get rowdy and complain. They also don’t do well waiting for their turn in the game. A second spent waiting is too much for a strong-willed child.
But put my strong-willed child in front of the movie that he wants to watch and he is an Angel???
They run on their own time
A Strong will child will race at the chance to do something they have chosen or agree to but can operate like a sloth if they aren’t interested.
The extremes can often leave you feeling like you have a bad case of whiplash.
They are leaders
Connor’s report card clearly stated he likes to be the leader of the group (I’m certain this trait is from his dad). That little mind has a vision of its own. They are not shy to tell people what to do or where to stand. This one is shines through for us. Connor has the ability to tell you exactly when you are not welcome in his presence. I’ve even been told to go to my room, by my 3-year-old. I usually react to this with unfavorable intentions because well, I’m human too. I’m learning just how intense my kid is and in turn learning how to handle things better.
Truth is, your strong-willed child has the ability to bring out the worst in you, especially if you don’t know what you are up against. I’ve had outbursts I’m not proud of and reactions I wish I could take back. My toddler rules our home and he thrives on it, because that is his nature.
Rules don’t apply
Simple because they make their own rules. Finished and Klaar!
You can’t force them to do anything they don’t want to do
You can nag, beg or bribe (okay – this one works sometimes) but often you are just wasting your energy. Often I’m dragging him kicking and screaming against his WILL.
This often happens in the mall… and I want to be an ostrich and just bury my head in the ground. When people stare and judge, I just give them a smile that says “be nice, its tough being a parent”
From an outsider perspective, Strong willed kids are often labelled “Naughty, Disobedient, Disrespectful” But that’s really not the case. Of course I question myself and why on earth something as fickle as brushing teeth can be a full on negotiating and tantrum feud. In actual fact it’s my strong-willed child, kicking his heels into the ground and standing firm in his stubbornness.
Because of the struggles you face on a daily basis raising your future-success-story-child, you probably get mad when faced with judgmental parents. Each Child is unique, each parent is different. Your child, your rules. You learn, you grow, you make mistakes but you love unconditionally and I firmly believe that’s what matters the most.
I may not always handle my child in the right way, but I’m conscious of my child and that better equips me to raise him to his full potential.
Just remember, there is probably no way to get your strong-willed kid to wear what YOU want them to wear. I’ve tried. Give the kid choices based on your top 3 picks… at least that way there is a chance they will look half decent for school. Your child wants to be in control and if you are a control freak (Maybe?) then this is an extremely important learning curve to get over. Here are a few quick tips to help with raising your strong-willed child
- Give your child choices. They thrive on control
- Give your child your full attention when he/she is voicing opinions
- Give extra love and cuddles.
- Give praise for effort not only results
- Be consistent. Stand your own ground in battle of wills.
- Find a set time out space and stick to it. (reassure with love)
- Try and avoid drastic punishment. Although we often naturally start yelling.. in my case it just makes things worse. Its work in progress for me.
- Offer a reward system.
- Keep calm (this is the toughest one of all…. let’s be proactive instead of reactive – note to self)
So here’s to more exhausting days. Here’s to my strong-willed child testing the boundaries head on, constantly turned on and ready to blow at any minute. Here’s to extra long hugs and bedtime cuddles. Here’s to bumps and scraps and completely ignoring my pleas to slow down, while running down hill. Here’s to strong coffee and the occasional wish for something stronger.
Here’s to you Mama’s (and Papa’s), and your beautiful, often misunderstood Strong Willed Child. They are creating a wonderful, capable parents while you raise a fierce child!