Strong-willed kids can sometimes make parenting a tough job. A strong-willed kid doesn’t mean “a bad kid.” They are just so high-spirited that parents, who are not ready for a suitable approach to parenting strong-willed children, face a difficult time in parenting them and binding them to rules.
A more suitable approach could be “high-spirited children.” A high-spirited kid has the innate qualities of integrity, independence, and being in charge of themselves. Hence, binding them to rules and regulations is never easy because when their heart is stuck on doing something, their brain also follows the path and rejects switching gears.
Well, it specifically depends on the child’s behavior and personality, but most of the time, a strong-willed child doesn’t hesitate to break the rules, shows temperament, and has no fear of standing up for himself.
Parents don’t have to worry about such kids in the outer world, as they can easily manage to thrive. But these qualities often cause hard times at home and make parenting difficult.
So, how to raise a strong-willed child?
Recognize and appreciate the strengths of your strong-willed child, such as independence and persistence. Unlike the other kids, a strong-willed child has a strong sense of independence so don’t kill his spirit of being confident and independent by bounding him in uncertain and unnecessary rules and regulations.
Moreover, provide clear and consistent boundaries while offering choices and opportunities for decision-making. Foster open communication, and active listening, and use effective problem-solving skills to provide your strong-willed child the independence, self-confidence, and trust he needs.
Embracing the Qualities of a Strong-Willed Child:
A strong-willed child may be stubborn, difficult to handle, have temper tantrums, and have strong opinions and an intimidating personality, but he’s determined, self-assured, spirited in nature, and confident.
They are experiential learners and have a strong desire to do something great in their lives. Strong-willed children can’t divert their attention once their mind is on something. This behavioral approach is appreciable in teenage life, but being parents of a strong-willed toddler or young child often make them lose their mind.
Raising strong-willed children isn’t easy. But let me tell you, these kids become the future leaders.
And it’s not easy to convince such kids to do something. Many parents use various tactics to make them follow the rules and avoid constant power struggles.
Recognizing the Strengths and Potential of Strong-Willed Children:
High-spirited kids never let anyone control their lives and make decisions for them. They show resistance when they find something controlling their way to independence. This sense of independence and determination often brings stubbornness and parents complain about their kids being disobedient.
But that’s not where the spirit of a strong-willed kid ends!
They have so much potential to do something on their own. Strong-willed children tend to be innovative, confident, and persistent. They are not afraid of doing hard work to achieve their goals.
And most importantly, such kids have leadership qualities. When polished correctly, they can make him a successful leader and a role model for the next generation.
Setting Boundaries and Offering Choices:
Setting some healthy boundaries is a technique of positive parenting. Giving your kid the choice of making his decisions within the parameters of obedience and self-assurance, makes them self-confident and builds a warm connection between you and your strong-willed toddler.
Here are some techniques you can use for setting boundaries, encouraging cooperation, and avoiding power struggles.
Encouraging Independence within Safe Parameters:
Effective discipline should be the first law while promoting independence in your child. But how can one discipline his/her willful child?
First things first, never use punishment or shame as an act of disciplining your child. A strong-willed kid will never accept disgrace or shame. Parents need to use more effective methods to discipline their kids that focus on teaching and learning.
They don’t like to get controlled. You can’t give them instructions. However, giving strong-willed children the choice during power struggles can make them feel confident and independent.
Kids with strong will and personalities don’t accept most behaviors and rules. So, giving them a choice is an effective way of parenting.
Set Clear Boundary:
A strong-willed child doesn’t accept the rules and regulations, and making him free of any rules is not the way of positive parenting. He still needs to accept and follow some ground necessary rules.
For example, the rules related to their bedtime, screen time, playtime, and dinner time. It makes their life more disciplined. Children who don’t follow the family rules from an early stage face a lot of challenges in life afterward.
Communication is the only way to make him aware of the ground rules and consequences of his actions.
A strong-willed child follows his heart, which can sometimes lead to bad decisions. So teach him, through effective communication what’s wrong and right.
But make sure that you don’t use a controlling tone or language. Help your kid to know him, and the world while making the parent-child relationship strong.
Conflict can only be resolved through effective communication. Teach him how to act in various situations. A strong-willed kid feels tons of emotions in a situation. Show him how to overcome them and do what’s right.
For example, if you promised them to take you to the mall and later didn’t find time, communicate with them and tell them the issue and resolve power struggles. So, instead of using controlling language to resolve the conflict, communicate effectively to make him aware of the importance of words and language.
Active Listening and Empathy:
Strong-willed kids are hungry for respect. They have the desire to be independent, and they don’t like when they get disrespected. Show them empathy and try to give them as little punishment as possible.
Strong-willed kids like to be listened to and understood. They don’t like to communicate all the time, but when they do, listen to them and show interest when they’re talking about their emotions.
Teaching Problem-Solving Skills:
Everything can’t go as planned. So parents must teach their kids how to cope with the situation when things are not on their side. Teach them problem-solving skills from a very young age, for example, by giving a situation and asking them how will they react to the situation. Teach them the right thing to do.
Showing and teaching a strong-willed child what’s the right thing to do is mandatory, as they listen and act upon their emotions. These emotions come in a wave and usually overcome the ability of the mind to make correct decisions.
When taught from childhood how to act in various situations what’s right, they face fewer challenges in adult life. The best way could be to teach them how to control emotions and how they can act maturely and patiently in life while feeling waves of emotions.
Negotiation and Compromise:
If you want to raise your strong-willed kid without losing your mind, then negotiate. The compromise has to be from both parties. Sometimes you have to compromise on some terms and conditions, and sometimes the child.
Parents report that negotiation helped them handle the situation more easily compared to getting angry or grounding the kid. When dealing with a high-spirited child, things often go off guard, and grounding or using a harsh tone makes the situation worse.
So, try to communicate with the child. Ask him about his desires and tell him what the right thing to do is. And never argue when angry. Negotiate when the situation gets cool and both of you feel calm and relaxed.
We know it’s difficult parenting a strong-willed child. However, according to research, kids who are stubborn and rule breakers in their childhood become leaders, successful businessmen, and high-income generators.
Well, it’s not always about money but strong-willed kids can surely bring some change to the world. They can use their intellect to make this world a beautiful and peaceful place to live.
I know it’s challenging. There is no quick remedy to make everything smooth, but patience is the key to handling the situation. Be mindful of his routine, so he doesn’t show any negative behaviors or become undisciplined in his teenage years.
In addition, I feel that strong-willed kids just have the high spirit to do everything their way. If we teach them how to handle every situation and show them the right and humanist thing to do in various circumstances, we don’t need to worry.
Instead of changing headstrong children, we should change the approach to parenting a strong-willed child and avoid power struggles. Instead of using force and punishment, parents can communicate to let their strong-willed kid be an independent and kind human being.