Dealing with a Strong-willed child

I have 2 very strong-willed children.

Dealing with them, I see so much of my husband in them. Dealing with them, shows up so much of my personality in them, whether I can see it or not (my husband often points out a lot of things to me that I did not know that I did).

I have tried threats with my 3 year old, which work miserably. I have tried time out, does not phase him. I have tried withholding things; still nothing impacts him once his mind is made up….

Except, 3 things

1) Being consistent with establishing the type of behaviour expected.

Today hitting is wrong, but it is right if someone is hitting you on the playground. NO!!

If something is wrong, it is wrong

2) Modelling behaviour.

I can’t expect them to know how to behave if I keep doing the thing I want them to stop.

This is one that is harder that I had realized. I would often tell my son not to shout, but then I realized that I was shouting a lot. Of course he would shout if he sees me doing it all the time.

3) Acknowledge their feelings and appealing to their reasoning. 

Children have feelings, wishes and desires just like any adult. Just like we as adults have our minds set on something, they do it too.

When my son is disobedient, I let him know that I understand that he wanted to do something but it was wrong. I tell him that God did not make him a robot, but God made him free. And when you are free, you can either choose to do right or choose to do wrong. God wants us to choose right. When we choose the right thing, it makes mummy, daddy and God happy.

I also tell him that obedience protects us and that with disobedience comes consequences.

Now I have found that this approach is working with my family.

What things are you doing with your strong-willed child?

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2 Responses to Dealing with a Strong-willed child

  1. Julie Harris says:

    My youngest is a strong-willed child. I pray, pray, and pray some more! I have learned to pick my battles with her. If she wants to wear mix-matched socks, I let her. If she says no to something I ask her to do, I *calmly* give her the consequence if she chooses not to obey. And, yes, modeling the behavior is so important. We are their role models- just like Christ is our role model. Those are big shoes to fill!! I pray for patience daily- and for her to one day be strong-willed to serve the Lord!

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