Have a strong-willed child? You're lucky! Strong willed children can be a challenge when they’re young, but if sensitively parented, they become terrific teens and young adults. Self-motivated and inner-directed, they go after what they want and are almost impervious to peer pressure. As long as parents resist the impulse to "break their will," strong-willed kids often become leaders. What exactly is a strong-willed child? Some parents call them "difficult" or “stubborn,” but we could also see strong-willed kids as people of integrity who aren’t easily swayed from their own viewpoints. Strong-willed kids are spirited and courageous. They want to learn things for themselves rather than accepting what others say, so they test the limits over and over. They want desperately to be "in charge" of themselves, and will sometimes put their desire to "be right" above everything else. When their heart is set on something, their brains seem to have a hard time switching gears. Strong-willed kids have big, passionate feelings and live at full throttle. Often, strong-willed kids are prone to power-struggles with their parents. However, it takes two to have a power struggle. You don't have to attend every argument to which you're invited! If you can take a deep breath when your buttons get pushed, and remind yourself that you can let your child save face and still get what you want, you can learn to sidestep those power struggles. (Don't let your four year old make you act like a four year old yourself!) No one likes being told what to do, but strong-willed kids find it unbearable. Parents can avoid power struggles by helping the child feel understood even as the parent sets limits. Try empathizing, giving choices, and understanding that respect goes both ways. Looking for win/win solutions rather than just laying down the law keeps strong-willed children from becoming explosive and teaches them essential skills of negotiation and compromise. Strong-willed kids aren't just being difficult. They feel their integrity is compromised if they're forced to submit to another person's will. If they're allowed to choose, they love to cooperate. If this bothers you because you think obedience is an important quality, I'd ask you to reconsider. Of course you want to raise a responsible, considerate, cooperative child who does the right thing, even when it's hard. But that doesn't imply obedience. That implies doing the right thing because you want to. Morality is doing what's right, no matter what you're told. Obedience is doing what you're told, no matter what's right. Read on for more tips about parenting your strong willed child... Plus, also in the Aha! Weekly: Social Intelligence for Toddlers Helping Children through Chronic Illness Your 10 Step Plan to Stop Yelling http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=775b94b440ad73397931a9ad7&id=a7bd143b3b Link
"'His teacher says he’s been great, yet he’s driving me crazy at home! He argues with me and cries about everything. I just don’t get it.' As I listen to my friend’s words, I am taken back to last year when my oldest son started kindergarten. He loved school and he did so great, but I remember the after school tears, frustration, and boundary pushing. He rocked at school but fell apart at home. I felt frustrated and angry because he was so emotional and defiant. I tried being more strict and setting up more rules, more boundaries, more consequences. But it just got worse. Then, one day I was venting to my Mom about this, and she told me I did the same thing. I’d be so good at school, then crater into a puddle of tears as soon as I got home. Then it all came clear. I knew exactly why my son was losing his cool." Article by Amanda, writing at Dirt and Boogers Link
"My 3 year old was sitting on the couch after bath wearing her towel and said NO about 5 times when asked to get into her pj's. I was busy with the baby and I heard my husband say "OK fine -- no books then!" so I said "Hey! We've got a problem - it's bedtime and you need to be in your PJ's -- How do YOU think we should solve it?" And just like that -- she got a big grin her face, suggested we all clap our hands and march our feet and we formed a line right into her room -- happily! Same thing for teeth brushing and potty later! Each time I said "Hey, great problem solving skills! Thank you!" And her response? "You're welcome mama -- no problem!" -- Carrie Link
Did you read Aimee Molloy's blog post in the New York Times about how her pediatrician told her to put her 8 week old in the crib and not go back for 12 hours? Lactation consultants, psychologists, birth professionals, parents, and pediatricians weighed in to condemn the proposed sleep training of such a young baby. Here's Amy Wright Glenn writing in PhillyVoice: "Sleep training an 8-week-old doesn't require "guts." The instinct to respond to a baby's cries is empathetic, wise, and vitally important to the healthy development of future generations. What requires "guts" is seeking out a new pediatrician when one's current doctor advocates medically sanctioned abuse and neglect. It takes "guts" to change our federal maternity leave system and finally catch up with the ethical and family-friendly legislation that characterizes the modern world. It takes "guts" to be present and respond to a baby who isn't physiologically wired to "sleep through the night." Link
"Our children have their whole lives to be adults and to deal with the complexities of life, but only a fleetingly short time in which they can be kids. Silly, fun loving kids. Childhood serves a very real purpose. It’s not something to “get through”. It’s there to protect and develop young minds so they can grow into healthy and happy adults. When society messes too much with childhood, young brains react. By providing a sense of balance and actively protecting childhood we’re giving our children the greatest gift they’ll ever receive." Article by Tracy Gillett writing at Raised Good Link
"The best-kept secret in child psychology is that children who were never spanked are among the best behaved." - Murray Straus, Ph.D.
It's a good question: Why don't kids just do what we say the first time we say it?! And there's a good answer. Several, in fact. Link