Parenting a Strong-Willed Child

courtesy of The Christian Pundit

courtesy of The Christian Pundit

Re-blogged from christlinkd.com

When my daughter was a toddler, I went out and bought myself a copy of The NEW Strong-Willed Child. I thought for sure that I had a SWC on my hands. Little did I know what her sweet, quiet baby brother had in store for me! Turns out my daughter, although she can be a handful at times, is mostly a kind, well-behaved kid who would rather hide behind me than get into trouble of any kind.

My son, only 15 months younger, turned nine just a couple of weeks ago. He is, without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges in my life. He is quick to talk back, argue with his sister and perhaps most challenging- he is quick to anger. He tests my patience like nothing else on this earth, but I know that God gave him to me for a reason.

It is indeed a fact that dealing with my son’s behavior caused it to take a day longer than normal to get this week’s blog post together. God must have known I needed the extra inspiration! We have to laugh, right? Otherwise, we’d go insane!

So what exactly is a SWC? Here are some of my observations:

  1. A SWC will challenge any rule. From bedtime, to hygiene, to all disciplinary guidelines. For example, here are some exchanges we’ve had recently:
  • “H, wash your hands.”
  • “Why?!”
  • “We’ve talked about this. You always wash your hands after you use the restroom to get rid of germs.”
  • “No. Germs don’t hurt anything. It doesn’t matter.”
  • “Mom, do we have to do homework right when we get home?” (He asks me this EVERY day when I pick him up from school)
  • “Yes, H, right away. It doesn’t change. You do your homework before anything else.”
  • “WHY?! We shouldn’t have to do it your way!” <anger>
  • “Mom, can we set up a lemonade stand when we get home?” (He asked me this today when I picked him up from school)
  • “No, H, I told you that you can do that on Saturday when we have our garage sale.”
  •  “Aaaagghhh!!!!” <anger, kicking the back of my seat>
  • “H, you can’t go past the rope to get closer to the animals.” (at the zoo)
  •  “Oh, really? Why not? Their arms aren’t long enough to reach the rope.”
  1. A SWC is stubborn beyond what a parent would think is humanly possible. I’m telling you, this kid could wear down the toughest interrogator. I am convinced he could sit through 48 hours of intense questioning and not break a sweat, all with a smug look on his face.
  1. Dealing with a SWC, you are in a constant battle of wills. No matter what you say, what punishments you dole out, they are unflinchingly defiant, because they don’t want to ever be the one not in control.

 

Believe me; I go back and forth internally all the time about whether H is strong-willed or just misbehaved. But having two children, it’s pretty apparent that he has an iron will. Yes, some of it IS behavioral, but most of it is about control, pure and simple.

So, each morning I get up and put on my invisible armor, because raising a SWC is like going into battle each and every day. We are in this battle together, H and I, and each day we have the scars to prove it.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love my son! I wouldn’t trade him for a million ‘easy’ kids. God made him this way for a reason, and chose me to be his mom for a reason. I have no doubt that H will go on to great things in his life. I love that I know he’ll have a strong character when he’s a man and that he’ll have great passion for whatever he chooses to do.

These are some excellent observations from The Christian Pundit:

– It’s easier to guide and mold a strong will in a child than it is to try and put will into a child that has none.

– Strong willed children are the ones who become leaders in their field. Know of any weak willed presidents? Colonels? Martyrs? God can use this strong will for mighty good.

– Strong willed children are usually very open, even in their sin. You know what they are thinking and you can deal with it. When sin is hidden, it is hard to deal with. When it’s in your face, you are able to confront it immediately. Hypocrisy is rarely an issue.

– You will pray more raising a strong willed child simply because they bring you to the end of yourself so quickly. More prayer is always a good thing, for you and your child.

God will give you the grace you need to raise this child. He gave you the child, and He will give you everything you need to glorify Him in parenting the child. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

Parenting H has definitely brought me closer to God. I spend more time in prayer for him than for anything else, and maybe that is one of the reasons I was blessed to be called his mom.

Whatever the reasons, I wouldn’t have him any other way.

 

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