You bring home this perfect, tiny, wrinkly human from the hospital, and you expect life to be easy. I mean, you know there will be sleepless nights, dirty bottles galore, and diapers that smell of toxic waste, but you’ve read all the books. You know how to raise this child. You got this! You’ve memorized all the disciplining tactics, you know how to squash the tantrums, and you understand that it’s important for children to try different foods so their palates will be diverse. You are going to rock this parenting thing! But people don’t always warn you about the strong-willed ones. And there are some things all moms of strong-willed parents know to be true.
5 Things Moms Of Strong-Willed Children Know To Be True
Then your child starts growing up, and you realize you have a problem. You weren’t as prepared as you thought. All those books you read didn’t say what to do when your 10 month old will not let a granual of green beans cross the threshold of their lips, even when you’ve tried every tactic mentioned in the pages of said books. The books don’t mention how to deal with a 13 month old who wears their emotions on their sleeve, and throws an unsquelchable fit when they are told they can’t do something.
It gets worse as they continue to grow. They have very strong opinions on what they are going to wear, even at two years old. Just try to tell them they can’t wear red striped shorts with an orange, long sleeved sequined shirt and rain boots. Try to ask them, at five years old, to do something that goes against what they think the situation warrants. Tell them, at nine years old, they have no choice in some matter, no matter how small. You know to expect tears galore, anger, frustration, and complete meltdown. And, your child will not be happy either.
Congratulations, you have a strong-willed child! As the parent of said child, here are five things you’ve learned along the way, five things every parent of a strong-willed child knows:
1. You’re not going to be able to raise your child the way you thought. Throw every how-to-child-rearing book out the window. Every strong-willed child is different, and there is no handbook out there that can deal with all their different quirks and idiosyncrasies. It takes practice, experience with the specific child, and sometimes some creativity to raise your angel.
2. They are natural-born leaders who try to take the lead in every situation. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless they are trying to take the lead against you … which will happen. You have to somehow juggle being in charge with letting them somehow have some control in the situation.
3. They always have to have the last word. Always. There is no arguing with the strong-willed child. It does not work. They will always want the last word. Always.
4. They have to be disciplined in a way that makes them think they aren’t losing control of the situation. You learn quickly that spankings and time-outs don’t exactly work. Again, creativity is the key. What works with one child, might not work with another. One may need to go in a quiet room and calm themselves down, while another might need to discuss the situation before any disciplinary action can be taken.
5. They can be aggravating, but you don’t want them to lose that strong-willed spirit. Strong-willed children often lead to confident, successful adult leaders. Really, do you want anything else for them?
While you may not have the text-book rearing experience with your child, raising the strong-willed child can be an experience you will eventually learn to treasure. You just have to hang on until you get there. Sometimes large amounts of ice cream and a bottle of Chardonnay for mommy and daddy after the kids are asleep does wonders to help you persevere.