Parenting the Strong-Willed Child
I read an article recently that touched at my heart as a mom. Now that Annalise is getting older and more of her personality is shining through we can wholeheartedly agree that she falls into the category of a strong-willed child. This isn’t a shock or new position for me as we can say the same about our son. But there is one main difference in my position now than the one I was in when he was little…..I can see the blessing through the difficult moments.
With our son, I was a new mom and was fully expecting his behavior to fall in line with the rules I set and the environment I created. I can hear all of you other parents chuckling as I type this. I quickly learned that parenting isn’t that easy. Each child comes with their own personality, ticks and strengths that completely impacts the way you parent and guide them. Having a strong-willed child is no different; it’s just a bit more frustrating at times.
I can now look back at our struggles and battle of wills with a different set of eyes. The same stubborn, I-know-what-I-want child is still very much alive in his 10 year old self, but there is now more reason involved. (Most of the time)…thank goodness. Through these years I have learned that the single most important lesson as the parent of a strong-will child is to guide their trajectory, not try to change it. There is a strength in these children that can equal greatness. They just need us, as parents, to help recognize their momentum and to point their energy down the correct path. You cannot control or manage their strength, you must help them to use it in the right places.
Many times as a parent you can get stuck in a pattern of thinking based on your perspective and ideas. It can be a struggle to deeply understand that your children are not your mini-me. They are their own person with their own ideas of the world and they own strengths. You have to find the delicate balance of leading and training them without writing over their uniqueness. Some days I have found this to be easier than others.
I know from experience that Annalise will not be an ‘easy’ child that fits the common mold, but I also know that we will get through the difficult years. Just as this article states, our strong-willed children are a blessing. They may be a exhausting and frustrating at times, but they have so many gifts inside of them.