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Parenting Strong Willed Children

Dealing With A Strong Willed Child

"Time to get your shoes on."


"Come on let's go, we need to leave."

"I am NOT going! You can't make me."

"Let's go, or else!"

More often then not, the strong-will child will choose or else. We've all been there where we can't seem to get our child to stop - or start what she's doing, but for some parents, dealing with a strong willed child is a life style- rather than an experience of a mere stubborn moment.

If you find yourself in a battle of wills with your child, here are some tips to help.

Strong-willed children are usually problem solvers. They respond better to being presented with a problem- rather than a command. "How are we going to get these dishes into the sink" works better than "Put your dishes up" because it poses a challenge of thought to the strong willed child.

Strong-willed children tend to be of high intelligence. They will pick up on inconsistencies with rules and consequences and are apt to call your bluff. With strong willed children you need to mean what you say and say what you mean- or they'll call you out on it.

With a strong-willed child it's more about communication than control. We are all given free will- a strong willed child just seems to have discovered it a bit sooner than we would have liked. When a strong willed child is presented with commands, rather than choices, his default behavior will be to buck authority because he feels like his choices have been taken away. Giving a strong willed child two choices you can live with, works better than a command. "We need to go, do you want to wear shoes or sandals?" works better than "Put on your shoes."

Providing opportunities for input and "help" when you can afford it, will cause less of a stir in the times when you can't consider her thoughts or opinions. Letting a child pick their own clothes on the weekend, for example, will make your school day dressing battles easier to overcome.

Give warnings before transitions. "Five minutes then we need to wrap up the game" will save you lots of war time during transitions.

Foster independence. Provide him with independence. When potty training allow him to help choose his potty, his underwear and even his hand soap. Getting him involved with the process will empower him and make him feel like he has some control.

Love your child unconditionally. Praise her when she's being cooperative and when she solves problems.

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Michelle LaRowe has been the International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year.. A career nanny specializing in caring for twins, Michelle has over a decade of nanny experience. Although she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, she has found her true calling, working as a professional nanny.

Michelle is an active member of the nanny community. She is the founder and president of Boston Area Nannies, Inc., a local non profit educational organization and has served on the International Nanny Association Board of Directors for the past five years. During that time she has also served as the associations 1st Vice President. Michelle is also a proud member of Christian Nannies.

She is called on by the media as a nanny and parenting expert, and has been affectionately dubbed America's Nanny. Michelle has appeared on television and has been featured in print. She is the author of the new parenting series, Nanny to the Rescue!, a contributing writer in the Experts' Guide to the Baby Years and a regular columnist in several parenting publications, including Twins Magazine.

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Learn about the nanny industry visit the websites of the International Nanny Association, www.nanny.org .

For your parenting tip of the day, be sure to visit

Contact America's Nanny:

Michelle LaRowe


Products reviewed by Michelle have been provided to her at no cost by the manufacturer or distributor.

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