Do you have a strong-willed child? Super Nanny gave us a taste last night of how we label kids with this term. There are tons of books out there on ‘strong willed’ kids. But, have you ever seen a book on the strong willed parent? I have never seen one, so I think not!
The truth of the matter is, in order to have a battle of wills you need two people. The nature of childhood is filled with conflict for parents. A child’s job is to become independent. A parent’s job is to keep their child safe by saying ‘no’ to all their daily unrealistic demands. So daily conflict is inevitable.
Parents, every time you think to yourself that your kids are being unreasonable, remember it is part of their will to be strong. This strength helps them figure out what they can and cannot have and what belongs to them so they can understand who they are.
Now does this mean that we as parents shouldn’t stop our children’s will when it is inappropriate? The answer is of course not. But, instead of labeling kids as strong willed, I think we should re-teach our kids what behaviors are ok and what aren’t.
The formula for solving problems with your kids is as easy as remembering these “5” steps.
- Name the behavior that is bugging you as a parent, don’t just label it as strong-willed.
- Watch what your child does instead of just reacting to them immediately.
- Don’t try ‘everything’ in order to stop behaviors in your kids. Stick with one plan even if it doesn’t work on any given day, as it is normal for your techniques to work some days, but not all.
- If what you are doing is never working; try the opposite of what you are doing.
- For example, if you are yelling, try whispering. Expect your child’ strong will to rear it’s head often and when it does take a deep breath and say, “My child’s persistence might just be what lands them an executive position at Microsoft”.
So channel your child’s will instead of labeling it as bad behavior.
Until next week, Dr. Ann Corwin