Strong-Willed Child- Difficult but Rewarding

 imageToday we continue our series “Parenting a Strong-willed Child” with a contribution from Ryan. Ryan is a husband, and father who loves God and desires to serve Him. He loves working with youth and sharing God’s love to everyone he meets. You can view some of Ryan’s other contributions to the Parenting Weekends here and here.

Here is what Ryan has to say about his experience parenting a strong-willed child.

By Ryan

strong will

When I think of a strong willed child I think of them as a child that can be reasonable but opinionated and steadfast. So the child has certain ideas, opinions and concepts that they hold to be true and they hold to them feverishly until they are reasonably convinced otherwise.

There’s a saying which goes “bend the tree while it is yet young”. The training of the child must begin in the littlest years. “… but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) But even if you begin at a later age, once you have made that stand to train your child in the right way, seeds will be sown, that will bring forth fruit.   
In the case of a strong willed child I would offer these suggestions:

First, get to know your child. It may seem odd but sometimes life’s busy schedule keeps us from really knowing what they like and dislike. When we really know them then we see their needs and we can really influence them for good. A strong willed child is very independent, they like things a particular way and they usually see the world through a narrow lens.  Let me also say that a strong will is neither good nor bad but by development it can go either way. That why parental influence is extremely important.

Secondly, I would suggest a change in the mindset of the parent. Parents usually view noncompliance and disrespect as punishable in the harshest manner; usually because it occurs publicly and embarrasses us; I have been there many times. But if we accept that the child has a need for evidence before he/she changes their mind then we would operate differently. We can calmly teach that child how to disagree in a polite way, while still obeying. I often have to tell my son that if mommy or daddy tells him to do something that he doesn’t like, he can respectfully talk to us after he has obeyed..

Thirdly, give them responsibility. Since the child is strong willed it suggests that they may be knowledgeable and intelligent and love taking charge. These kinds of children love responsibility. Give them responsibility within clearly set guidelines. They need to be taught from experience because they seldom take a parent’s say-so. My son is a big brother and boy does he love that role. He almost goes above and beyond to protect his little sister. It’s too cute. And the lessons he learns from caring for her are far more effective than me telling him because he is very opinionated. He has an idea for everything and that idea must be tested.

Lastly, be patient with them. They are children. As parents we overlook this fact very often. We forget they have feelings and live in their world. They don’t see it as we do because they do not understand the complex stuff. They need our love and attention. Don’t over react, don’t shout, don’t give up in despair just see it as a blessing from God. Strong willed children are leaders because they stand for something while others follow. Train that child with patience, love and determination. See them as God sees them and you will have a leader that will stand up because of your training.

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This world has a lot of pain and suffering. How can we raise our children not only to feel saddened by the pain that others feel, but also to reach out to help others?

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Homeschool Field Trip

Yesterday was the third of our homeschool field trips. We went on a fabulous hike.

We are always blessed to be able to look at nature and remember that the One who made it is a thoughtful, loving, magnificent Creator.

These are just some of the photos of the scenery we saw.

The seasideimage

sargassum seaweed on the beach. We got the stench from the seaweed but only for a few moments before we headed on our way.image

a spider- pity you can’t see how lovely the web looks.image

Cattle on a thousand hills: Most of the children were talking about how brave they were and that they were not afraid of the cows. Some of the women on the hike may have had other thoughts about what would happen if the cows began to run in our direction.image

a wild plant that resembles watermelon: This is the first time that I have ever seen these vines or melons. The children picked so many melons that they had our pockets full of these little fruits. The children sliced some of them open at the end of the hike and the inside is white but looks exactly like a regular watermelon. Currently, there are 5 of these melons in my house.image

We really had a fantastic hike. We all learned so much about different plants and the area we hiked in. We are looking forward to our next hike.

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Strange Clarity

Strange Clarity

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The Strong-Willed Child (who has special needs)

imageToday, we continue our November Parenting Weekends where we are looking at the topic “Parenting a Strong-willed Child”. Last weekend we had a lovely post by Robin and yesterday I shared with you my experience dealing with my own children.

Today our co-host Grace, shares with us about her experience having a strong-willed special needs child.

The Strong-Willed Child (who has special needs) 

by Grace 

There is a fine line I must walk. My oldest child, now seven years old, is strong-willed. That, in itself, is challenging. But to have learning and behavioral challenges in addition to a strong will only enhances the inflexibility and makes the situation much more explosive than it would otherwise be.

I wish I could say that I’ve figured it all out. I wish I could say that I found “what works”. The truth is, I haven’t. This post is not about answers. It’s about empathy and encouragement.

Continue reading here

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December 2015: How to raise compassionate children
This world has a lot of pain and suffering. How can we raise our children not only to feel saddened by the pain that others feel, but also to reach out to help others?

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It Doesn’t Have to Be a War


I am fortunate to have two wonderful children. I am sure you would have noticed me saying before that my children both have very strong personalities. They both are sweet but extremely strong willed.

I noticed my son’s strong will when battles over nap time began. I would put him to nap and somehow it always became a battle. But the thing was it was not just a battle because that it what children do. This battle was “intense”. Being sleep deprived because he slept so horribly, I had told myself that he would fall in line. Big joke, but somehow I wasn’t laughing.

Then I noticed other points in his character that definitely confirmed the strength of his will. I had to reason with him, something I never thought that I would be doing with a 1 year old. It wasn’t me trying to convince him and begging him to do something, but I was me explaining the reasons behind doing something so that he could make up his mind to do it.

Prior to having my son I thought that little children should do as they were told without any questions. Talk about being misguided. Sure little children must obey and right away, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t make a conscious choice to do so.

When I thought I had a handle on my son, my daughter came along. And of course she is also strong willed. Silly me, decided that I would assert myself again. I gues that is confirmation at how slow we parents are to learn sometimes.

There were a lot of battles of the will. I definitely tried to assert myself as “the parent” and demand obedience. But the more I tried doing that the more she fought it. I finally back off of that way of operating, and returned to a gentle but firm approach. When I try to dominate she puts up a fight. When I am gentle and understanding, but maintain my parental control she responds better.

Can you imagine if I hadn’t tried to control everything by trying to force the children to obey? If I had simply approached them in a more gentle, more reasonable manner I would have gotten positive results and saved my self from a lot of battles of the wills.

So then in a nutshell, I have learned that strong willed children will not bend to your will. You will either break their wills or have an all out war on your hands. Seeking to  understanding their feelings and giving them an opportunity to choose go respond to your instruction is far better than trying to dominate.

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