1 in 4 families have a strong willed child. How do I know this? Well I just made it up, but I’m pretty sure the statistics are correct. I am a sufferer of a strong willed child. There’s no known cure for this, but I think I have some suggestions that will help you manage your new life.
The first step is admitting that you too suffer from having a strong willed child. I was in denial for the first year of my daughter’s life. How could I, of all people, produce a child who goes with the beat of her own drum? *insert eye roll*. It’s her father’s fault, but don’t tell him I said that.
The Signs of a Strong Willed Child
One of the first signs I noticed is that the look DOESN’T WORK! You know what I’m talking about. That look your mom gave you when you were doing something she had repeatedly told you not to do. The look that told you that if you kept on the path you were on, you would most definitely be having a meeting with Jesus soon. Yeah, my daughter didn’t get the memo on what the look actually means. Oh no, no, no, it means something completely different to her. She views that look as a try me look. It’s a ‘challenge accepted’ type look and instead of stopping whatever she’s doing wrong, she goes 100% harder at said activity.
Another sign I’ve noticed is if she doesn’t want to do something, SHE WON’T DO IT! If you ask her to do something that she is against, for instance cleaning her room, she will sit right down in the middle of the room and stare at you. In fact that’s her go to stance, just sitting or becoming a complete statue wherever you are. This trait is completely appropriate if I was asking her to, I don’t know, commit murder maybe? I’m not though, I just ask for little things like pick up toys and apparently it’s just too much for her. So yeah, that’s fun.
Obviously there are a lot more, but we could be here all day if I listed all of the signs. Basically if your kid is defiant, stubborn, and won’t go down without a fight then you’ve got yourself a strong willed child.
How To Tame The Beast
I guess beast is a little harsh, sometimes she is a sweet angel baby. Picture Storm from X-Men and that’s my daughter. Clouds begin to form, thunder and lightening appear out of the blue, her eyes turn white, and she starts to levitate! Not exaggerating one bit, she becomes superhuman. At this point of course I have to defuse the situation otherwise my house will explode, so what do I do?
For starters, I try to use a calm, level headed voice to try and speak to her. It’s like when you are sneaking up on a tiger. You want to be calm, non threatening in order to not be devoured. Honestly though if you’re an idiot who sneaks up on a tiger, you get what you get and just accept the consequences. Back to topic, my first approach is to calm the storm. I’ve noticed that when she gets to a point like this, which happens very easily, if I come at her guns blazing she will explode and WW3 occurs. However if I approach in a calm manner she responds better. She’s not completely rational, but she doesn’t explode. Which leads to my next advice, talking.
I know communication is a running theme in my blog, but you really have no idea how important it is. When she gets into her hulk stage I try to sit down with her and figure out the root of the problem. It’s very important for my kids to use their words, because I don’t know what’s wrong unless they tell me. Also I can’t understand a word they say to me when they are screaming banshees. So yes, we will sit down very calmly, talk about what the problem is, and find a solution.
No One Is Perfect
I need to stress something though. I know I’m making this sound like I have all the answers and that neither one of us has meltdowns. That would be a complete lie and we don’t lie here. No one is perfect and even though I know what to expect when these eruptions occur, it doesn’t mean that I’m always calm. I lose my shit a lot. I’m not perfect and to be honest as with most kids, shit always hits the fan at the worst possible times. Sometimes I may get lucky and it will happen when I am able to quickly contain the situation, but other times it happens when I’m completely caught off guard. I admit that I don’t always handle those situations the best and that’s something I am working on.
I say all of that to say this, don’t beat yourself up. Parenting isn’t easy and some days are harder than others. We are constantly learning how to navigate this life and sometimes we make mistakes. We are human, it’s normal. As long as you try to be better every day and your kids know just how much you love them, you are doing something right.
Best of luck to you and your strong willed child. We will get through this and one day they will do great things!