Have you ever been at your wit’s end wondering how to raise your strong-willed child? Perhaps the question is what is the opposite of a strong-willed aka difficult child? Is it a child who does everything you say?
Most parents do not want to raise a docile, obedient, and submissive adult, but somehow, these same parents wish that their child is more obedient and less difficult when they are younger.
How Parents can deal with a Strong-willed child
There are a number of ways to deal with a strong-willed child without trying to break his spirit and reduce the tension. First of all, remember that your child is not trying to frustrate you, your child simply has an opinion and wants you to know that.
Let your child have some control over his or her schedule. Say for example you want your child to be physically active. You can give him a choice between going outside and jumping or the trampoline or riding a bicycle. In reality, you can reduce the arguments by simply by giving your child the ability to choose.
Your child might seem to oscillate between rebellious, defiant, weak and overpowering, but the truth is your child is always trying to make sense of his world. Children find themselves dealing with the reality that no matter how much their parents love them, they are still little people in the adult world.
Learn the Art of Negotiation
Parenting is not a power struggle; it is about raising a child who is well-rounded, healthy and can communicate. So rather than being an authoritarian parent, who says my way or no way; think of it as a lesson in negotiating. For example, rather than arguing over them eating their vegetables. Turn it around and give them the option to choose between peas or carrots?
For the negotiation to work, you should only specify two options, but make sure you are happy with both. By the way, too many choices can backfire. Psychologists call this decision fatigue, and it’s a sign that your brain is deep-fried and you simply aren’t able to make other decisions. It is, therefore, best to avoid overwhelming your child with too many choices, whether it is vegetables or playdates.
As your child grows into a strong-willed teen
Strong-willed children do not respond well to the stories you tell, but they are reasonable if you engage with them and have real conversations. If you take a step back and start treating your children a little like adults, you can be powerful.
Truth is that all children are born fearless and curious. Unfortunately, many times as they grow older their sense of wonder and belief that they can do anything is stifled by their environment. Everyone who is involved in the early years of your child’s life plays a part in shaping that child’s future.
As a parent, do you encourage your child to use their words and to communicate? this is the best thing to do, teach them to express themselves without being disagreeable. As children get older, those who have been encouraged to be bold will often be labelled as difficult or strong-willed. And by the way, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is far better to have a child who knows how to engage with adults and to ask questions; than someone always seeking to please everyone.
Learning to Stay Calm
If you feel your blood boiling because your child has asked you ‘why?’ yet again, rather than scream, take a break. Step out of the room or take a deep breath. Once you are calmer, you can go back and tackle the issue at hand. With strong-willed or difficult children, losing your cool and shouting simply teaches them that emotional outbursts are okay. When a child asks for explanations, you are most effective as a parent when you can respond and explain in a firm and calm way.
When it comes to discipline, it is important that you have set clear boundaries. You must explain and agree exactly what will happen when the boundary is crossed. You want to then be consistent with firmly and sensitively imposing the consequences as necessary.
For example, a rule could be that your child can play video games only after homework is completed. In the situation where he starts playing during homework, how do you handle it? The key is the ability to remain calm, firm and empathetic, but also let them know that there is a specific consequence for this disobedience, which you then implement. Discipline should always be for correction.
The truth is that children who seem difficult and strong-willed are often highly intelligent. He or she does not like being told what to do, when to do it, how to do it. In addition, this child is likely to rebel against all kinds of micro-management. Some ways to use this skill to your advantage us to give your child problems to solve, rather than ordering him or her to do things.
Raising a child who seems difficult is not easy, and can be more challenging because this child might be more confrontational. It is important not to call your child names nor label your child. As an intentional parent, commit and study how your child is wired. Pay attention to his or her love language and how he or she responds to stimuli inside and outside the home.
SEE ALSO: How to Love the Difficult Child