Having strong-willed children can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, having a strong will is a sign that your child can be easily equipped to conquer the world with a free spirit, a determined mind, and an unwavering determination. On the other hand, uncontrolled will during childhood may prevent the development of your child’s moral compass because she can have the tendency to only believe in her own perceptions and have her own convictions.
Despite having both beneficial and harmful sides to being a strong-willed person, parents can still focus on the development of the positive aspects and work on the improvement of the negative ones. Here are some of the most helpful tips on how we can use a positive parenting approach to strong-willed children:
1. Give Options Instead of Directives.
One of the most salient characteristics of strong-willed children is their defiance to directives. If you notice that your child hardly accepts certain orders such as brush her teeth, pick up her mess, take a bath, or get inside the house, then you need to rework your strategy. Instead of providing direct orders, you will have to frame your talk in a way that gives her options.
For example, you can let her choose between building blocks in the living room and playing with her stuffed toys in the playroom. This strategy works effectively because you removed the focus away from the real intention of letting her go inside the house. In addition, you were also able to reinforce her idea that she can still be the master of her own destiny without being always restricted by other’s imposition of random rules.
2. Let Her Claim Authority Over Her Own Body.
Do you know that children can also feel frustrated over their lack of basic freedom such as being able to choose their own clothes? It is very important to foster your child’s sense of individuality by allowing her to have a say on many things about her life such as what she will wear for the day, how she’d like to fix her hair, and whether or not she would like her pictures to be posted in social media.
I know how exciting it is to plan out what our children would wear for a specific day, but the notion of having control over one’s own body can be diminished whenever we force them to wear certain stuff. A good way to go about this is by letting her pick from at most three sets of clothes that you have handpicked prior to her personal selection.
3. Establish Rules and Routines.
Since strong-willed children are usually defiant, it would be best to train them into having a certain routine and into letting them understand the need for certain rules. This can prevent power struggles during your parenting journey and prevent possible clashes. When children understand that rules are essential for a peaceful living, then they will surely be able to respect government authorities, workplace bosses, and community members when they grow up.
4. Have a Strong Personal Connection Founded on Respect.
To be able to instill discipline on a strong-willed child, you will have to go the extra mile of fostering a deep relationship that is founded on respect and evidently shown through effortful communication. Your strong-willed child would feel antagonistic towards your disciplining efforts if you fail to make her feel loved and respected. Make sure that you set aside meaningful communication every single day. Listen to her needs most especially when she feels upset, agitated, and emotional. Let your child know that you respect her emotions by acknowledging her feelings.
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