All children exhibit strong-willed traits at some point in their lives. Strong-willed kids are often misunderstood to be aggressive, stubborn, etc. This nature of being strong-willed doesn’t make them bad kids. They are simply determined to do things on their terms. Are you raising a strong-willed child? Look for the signs!
You might have experienced temper tantrums often on small things like – not taking them to the park, forcibly taking them to the mall, etc. It’s their way to show how bad they feel. As a parent, you must acknowledge your child’s emotions and show them an alternative way of expressing their frustration/dislike.
Want to Know All
Yes, this is one of the worst practices of a strong-willed child. They don’t settle to orders, they want reasoning for everything you say. Reasons why they can’t go out to play, why they cannot jump on the bed and so on. If you want to stop your child from arguing, share your answers; how it’s for their safety or how is it morally not suitable. While sometimes it’s not feasible to provide them with an explanation, you can briefly give an underlying reason why you have set a limit.
Pro at Arguing
They just won’t give up easily! Their persistence is sure to tire you. Don’t be surprised when your child recalls that one time you allowed his/her sister to have ice-cream late at night while you have upright refused them to touch one.
Your strategy to combat this behaviour should be ‘not giving in to their demands’. Often, in order to avoid the aftermath, we give in to their demands. But that will not motivate them to follow the rules. Instead, giving them a warning to stop their argument will work better.
They will often be among those that lead a group. It could be minding a class, instructing a group in a game or leading an activity. If their behaviour is not fine-tuned, they may turn out to be bossy. You as a parent can make them practice appropriate tones of talking. Teach them the kind way of asking someone to do something. Explain to them how others may feel offended by their assertive tone.
Firm on Their Decisions
These are the ones who aren’t afraid to stand firm to the things they believe in. If you are trying to convince them of something that they don’t feel is right, you’ll fail to budge their decision. If they refuse to do something, no matter what you say, they will not listen. Nagging, rationalizing or ordering, won’t work for them. They like to be given choices.
Rather than saying, “Clear the mess right now,” ask, “Do you want to clean the mess now or after you finish one last game?” Giving a choice will make them feel more empowered.
They Like Fairness
They’re more cautious about fairness in everything. Remember that one time you lied about their age to get a free entry in the circus, your child would count his correct age in front of the gate-keeper. So make sure you are on your words, avoid justified lies and take fair decisions for them.
Great at Selective Hearing
Yes, they’ll hear what they want to and simply ignore your words if they aren’t interested. For example, if you say ‘Don’t run,’ they’ll ignore you because they’re probably having fun. Here, you got to step in and make them understand that you mean what you say. Don’t just give empty threats.
Before you think your child is not easy going and you’re going to have a hard time with him/her, know that this attitude will prove to be an asset for him/her at a later point in life.
Strong-willed kids can be great leaders. If we are to create peace in our world, we must nurture these kids to stand up for what is right.