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Having A Strong-Willed Child
Strong-willed children are self-motivated and go after what they want. They usually don’t fall victim to peer-pressure and they often become leaders as adults.
It’s definitely a good trait to have but at the same time, parenting a strong willed child can prove challenging. However if parented sensitively, they can become well-rounded teens and young adults.
What are the traits of a strong-willed child?
- Can be seen as stubborn or difficult
- Stands their ground and not easily swayed from the own viewpoint
- Spirited and courageous
- They like to learn things by themselves
- They want to be “in charge” of themselves
- They like to “be right”
- They display big and passionate feelings
Strong-willed kids hate being told what to do and they often prone to power struggles with their parents. Parents can, however, avoid these power struggles by helping their child feel “understood” by giving them choices and looking for win/win solutions rather than just laying down the law!
They really aren’t just being difficult – they actually feel that their integrity is compromised if they are forced to submit to another person’s will. If they are given the option to choose, they will gladly cooperate.
You really don’t want to break their will as this will leave them open to the influence of his or her peers who will not serve their best interests.
It’s tough, though. Strong-willed children can be a lot to manage. They are persistent, high-energy and challenging.
Here are some tips to keep the peace with your Strong-Willed kid
- Give choices not orders
Offer your kid choices, but make it reasonable and choices which you can live with. An example of appropriate alternatives are:
“Do you want to clean your room now or after you’ve eaten?”
- Give them authority over their own body
Strong-willed kids often think they know everything and that they are always right. Don’t force new information on them and don’t expect them to automatically listen to you. Instead, lead by example and let them know that there’s nothing wrong with considering new information.
“I see you are not wearing your rain-boots today. That’s fine, but there is rain forecasted for later today and perhaps I could pack in your rain-boots, and then you could change your shoes later on, when it starts to rain?”
- Don’t break their will
It’s not about who’s right or who’s wrong. Don’t try to force your views on your child or break their will. A strong-willed child should feel that he or she is allowed to have his own feelings and opinions and also be open about it.
If your child disagrees with you, try to find out why they are opposing you. It may be a really simple or silly reason which you can easily deal with. By getting to the underlying reason you may avoid a clash.
- Offer Empathy and Respect
Even you would know – it helps to feel like you are understood. If you see your child’s point of view you may be able to come to some sort of common ground and meet each other halfway.
For example, if your child refuses to clean up their room you could say “I understand that you are tired and want to relax, but your room is your own personal space and it’s your responsibility to keep it clean. Once it is cleaned up, you can rest and relax in your tidy space.”