I have taught many of children in my career and have met so many different personalities. Every child really is unique. I have always been extremely fascinated with strong willed children. Their confidence, their decisiveness, their sense of justice and their ability to stand alone! I know that parenting strong willed children can be exhausting, but I also know that strong willed children also grow up to not only do great things, but to make incredible contributions to our society.
Compliance is something that we like to see as adults. Some children are naturally more compliant than others, and although we can shape compliance in many ways, we do need to take the personalities of our children into consideration.
Strong willed children are generally spirited and courageous. The don’t fit well into the ‘seen’ but not ‘heard’ box. They thrive on independence. They are experiential learners that excel when they feel as though they are in charge of themselves. This sometimes creates power struggles in the household. Especially if your child has their heart set on something and needs to switch gears. Power struggles, as simple as which pajamas need to be worn, can create frustration for parents, and therefore it’s important to take your child’s personality into account when parenting.
Before I give you some strategies for strong willed children, I want to remind you parents, that there are some amazing long-term benefits for our strong-willed children. As they mature, they are often driven and extremely self-motivated. They are less likely to give into peer pressure and they are not afraid to stand up for their rights or the rights of others. In my books, these are important reasons to be intentional about the way you parent your strong-willed children, and to be mindful of the impulse to 'put them in their place' or show them who is the boss.
Here are some tips when parenting strong-willed children:
Yolande Robinson, M.Ed.