If you are raising a strong-willed child, you’re probably worn out. I get it. Just in case the only thing you get to do for yourself today is read this, I am going to be quick.
Last week, we explored the positive perspective that raising a strong-willed child means raising a leader. This week, I’m offering 5 tips on how to get them to tone it down already.
#1 Make sure they trust you. Yep, it’s really hard to keep enforcing the boundaries which they test constantly. Seriously, this is especially true if God wired you to be a mild-mannered peacemaker. Holding firm, while being honest and real, is how you win their trust, though.
#2 Laugh a lot, even if you have to fake it. Some days will be so overwhelming that you just survive. However, when you laugh, even fake laughter, you introduce all kinds of good chemicals into your body. We all know strong-willed children can grow up to be independent, enterprising, persevering adult leaders. That’s why we take snapshots of their crinkled, frowning, tantrum-pitching little baby faces. Yep, blackmail for their rehearsal dinner feels pretty good about now.
#3 Take care of yourself. Seriously. Mommy needs a time out sometimes, too. A night out with the girls, a date night, a moment alone. Do what you need to, but definitely recharge your own batteries.
#4 Develop wise friends. Seek out the companionship of older people who can encourage you. We all learn from others’ perspectives.
#5 Remember our role as parent is to serve our child’s best interests. The best ways we serve our kids seems exhausting when they are little. But, as they get bigger, their strong-will works in our favor. When the teenage years hit, the “no” we use on our toddler becomes the “no” they use against peer pressure as a teenager.
The child that learns to trust your wisdom as a toddler, will not rebel as a teenager. Of course, an independent thinker, strong-willed or otherwise, will hold you accountable and make you justify your decisions all along the way. Still, by thinking strategically about how to best serve our strong-willed child, we are well on our way. Congratulations for thinking ahead!
May I pray for you? I know I need it.
Dear Heavenly Father, You are the One who is the only faultless Parent, caring for us always with our best interests at heart, in ways we do not comprehend. I pray now for this dear reader who commits to parenting with determination and dignity. Give us courage to wisely coach our beloved, strong-willed children. Give us forbearance to consistently love with laughter and joy in the process. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Cathy Primer Krafve, aka Checklist Charlie, lives and writes with a Texas twang. Comments are invited at cathykrafve.com.