Parenting Expert Advice from America's Nanny,
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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