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Find yourself locking horns with your strong willed kid? First celebrate, and then ask yourself if you can parent more sensitively.
Def: A strong willed kid– a politically correct ascertainment of what many may refer to as stubbornness, obstinate or headstrong. A child determined to conduct all their actions as per their wants, especially if advised against by the mother.
If you are raising a strong willed kid who has a fierce determination, say woo-hoo! Of course, you can’t say that, because you have no energy left in you for woo-hoo’s or even to make that cup of coffee that may supply some energy.
Being a parent of a strong willed kid is exhausting from the second the sun starts to shine. It begins with tedious explanations that may range from proving that its day time even though you can’t see the sun to why everyday school is important or how come alphabets don’t have opposites. This child constantly challenges the status quo, tests boundaries, negotiates to his benefit and is constantly on.
The strong willed kid can launch into dissertations whenever required to justify his side of the argument. I have heard phrases like “It’s my life” when asked to switch off the TV and “it’s my body – I don’t need medicine” when I wanted to give medicine for a mild fever, by a four year old. I learnt to tell my parents the phrase, it’s my life when I was 14 and Dr. Alban (google it) sang it, in 1992 (yeah, go ahead do the math).
You marvel at the parent/child when you see the child get out of the pool when told to do so. Or at least get out of the pool within 10 minutes of when told to do so. At that point you look at yours and find yourself looking for shooting stars to make a few wishes.
Parenting a strong willed kid is like fighting a force of nature and you find your spouse and yourself constantly check on which side of the family the stubborn genes came from.
Your child has forced you into ego management and made you check on your own desire to control situations. This one is deep and needs one to introspect. Every mother at some stage will wonder if she can be a better mom and freak out a little less. The only way to manage with a strong willed kid is to hear him out, empathize, give options (as opposed to instructions) and play games to achieve a simple task like tidy up. One cannot lock horns with a strong willed kid as that inevitably leads to a war-zone.
You are constantly getting invited to a court of law, where the law is at the mercy of the child’s whims. Resist the temptation to lawyer up for in this courtroom logic is play-dough.
You will very often be surprised by in-depth analysis you will receive from your child when probed to justify his standing on various subjects. The more you empathize with a strong-willed child, the more you widen your own horizons.
The one hope that can keep you going (so I am told) is that strong willed children if parented sensitively can go on to become exceptional individuals, even leaders that do not give into peer pressures. Their thought process for them defines morality and that is integral to their functioning. They normally chose the correct path if given a choice, however obedience is unnatural for them. If this is true, I will chose morality over obedience as a trait any day. Of course, no one is offering me choices!
Published here earlier.
Image source: shutterstock
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