Parenting Your Strong-Willed Child
During my last pregnancy I prayed for two things – a daughter and that we would have a mother-daughter relationship better than what I had with my mother.
Be careful what you ask for.
From day one, Miss V came out being …. Miss V.
She just had this “I’m so un-bothered” demeanor about her and did not want to deal with anyone … but me. There were times my husband seriously looked at her like “do we really share DNA?” because she would have nothing to do with him if I was around.
This went on until … well, she’ll be 4 in October and it’s still going on strong.
I’ll be honest with you, Divas, it can be frustrating at times when I’m the parent she chooses ALL the time. She’s quite content playing with her dolls or blocks while sitting on my lap or laying next to me or right outside the bathroom door (because I finally put my foot down and claimed back that space – most of the time).
“V, don’t you want to go play with your brothers?”
“No, Momma. I’m fine.”
“Ummm…I think Daddy wants a hug.”
“No, Momma. I gave him one earlier. Do you want a hug? Here you go.”
How can that not melt your heart, right?
One thing we definitely share is our demeanor – very strong-willed, not the most patience, and straight to the point, no chaser.
The dialogues we have can be interesting, to say the least.
As with any child (person, for that matter!), your strong-willed child needs love and security. It could be the fact that she’s the only girl. Or that she’s the baby. Or a combination of both. If I hug or spend one-on-one time with one of her brothers, it bothers her that she’s left out. I noticed a year or so ago that my middle son was getting shorted of a lot of his one-on-one time because his sister was constantly pushing her way into our cuddle sessions or overtaking our conversations. Once I realized that, I make a point to let her know it’s not fair and redirect her attention to something else.
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Don’t respond to every remark. My daughter has to respond to everything. And she has this innocent way of being very smart and sarcastic. (I promise, I have no idea where she gets it from!). There are some remarks I choose to ignore because I know she’s saying them to get a response and for me to engage with her when she’s either in timeout or very close to being put into timeout.
Acknowledge and correct rude and inappropriate words and statements. Remind them that they are a child and there are certain things children should not say and do – because they are a child.
If your strong-willed child is anything like mine, you get a lot of questions. The majority of these questions are very well-meaning – she’s genuinely interested and inquisitive. She wants to know the whys and whats and the hows. I know this is a characteristic of most children, but with a strong-willed child the questions seem to come in a larger volume when compounded with their personalities. I answer as many questions as possible, but am learning to turn the questions back on her to put her cognitive thinking skills to the test.
As parents we know that every child is different and unique. Just like us, they have their own little personalities that are growing and developing daily based on the interactions and life lessons that they experience. It can be a test of patience to parent your strong-willed child, but I promise you – it will be okay. I’m reminded of it daily when I look in the mirror.