So you have a difficult child and you wish they came with an instruction manual. You are not alone, many of us have very strong-willed children and disciplining them can be a real burden.
However, the good thing is, that if treated right, these types of children become successful leaders. They were born with a personality and drive that makes them know what they want out of life.
So the next time you feel like locking yourself in the closet and screaming, don’t. Instead just be proud of your strong-willed child!
Often times the hardest part is keeping your cool in the heat of the moment, but these tips are sure to be helpful when parenting a little go getter.
1. Give her plenty of choices
You don’t have to say, you can do your chores or watch TV. No way, not like that. These kids have to learn responsibility! Say, do you want to eat your breakfast first or get dressed first? Do you want blueberries in your lunch or snap peas? Do you want the red shirt or the blue shirt? Make them feel like they do get a choice! They do need to do what’s expected of them but let them choose the order they do it in.
2. Make it fun, make it a game!
One thing that has really worked for my strong-willed, never want to do chores daughter, is making it a game. On Saturday morning we clean up the house. The kids all get in one room of the house and I set a timer, depending on how messy that room is, that’s how long the timer is. Usually it’s between 2 minutes and 8 minutes. I only have to do this because of my strong willed child. It works for her! On that ‘ready, set, go’ they are off… Cleaning and they almost always get it done before the timer goes off! Like magic!
3. Have rules and have consequences
These kids need to know what is expected of them. Have a family meeting and talk about family rules. Make a list and put it somewhere all can see. Let the kids give their input on family rules. Also, they should know what happens if they break a rule; for example, lost screen time, timeout, or lose a toy for a day.
Sometimes, as parents, we jump to conclusions or only hear one side of the story. We need to listen to our children. They need to feel important and that they matter to us. Let them talk to you and really listen. Ask them questions and not just ‘how was school?’ But more specific things like ‘did anything funny happen today?’
5. Put yourself in her shoes
Sometimes we just need to stop and think about what it might be like to be her. What is she feeling? Is she stressed, scared, sad? Think about her and don’t expect her to be a little adult. She is a child, wanting to do kid things, to learn and play and explore her world. Let her be a kid!
6. Be an example!
This is hard sometimes, but we have to keep our cool. If we yell at our kids, they are going to feel their right to yell. We tell them ‘don’t talk to me like that!’ But how did we talk to them? Actions definitely speak louder them words. If we are telling our children to speak kindly to others, we had better be doing the same to them.
7. Respect your child
If your child wants to wear flip flops in January, let her know you care. You see that she wants to wear flip flops but her toes will freeze! Help her see that you understand that she is upset that she doesn’t get to wear the shoes she wants to. She needs to know that you are empathetic and you care about the way she feels and what’s important to her.
8. See the positive in your child
When you are feeling so discouraged about your child, sometimes even feeling ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ see the positive. This might take some time. Reflect on your child’s strengths. See her for who she is. Write them down; really think about what is good in your child. It’s definitely there. Focus on that. Remember the good.
It is so hard sometimes to be a parent to one of these awesome children. But just love them. Spend time with them. Take deep breaths. And remember that you can do this! Your child is destined for great things!