Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I have a strong-willed child.  She is 38 years old now, but that strong will is still there.  When she was tiny we were not sure how we were going to deal with her behavior.

Dr. James Dobson says that parents need to break the will of a child, but NOT break their spirit.  That means that we need to ensure the behavior meets our expectations yet avoid badgering and demoralizing the child to the point that they give up for fear of never being good enough.

We can spend a lot of time in a combative stance.  Will against will.  It does not make for a very positive environment when you feel you are always locking horns with your child.  Avoid constant nagging, because this is the attack we often use to get through to the child that is constantly wearing us down.  If you give up, as many parents do, then your child will lead and life will be hellish.  You have to ask yourself, "Who's in charge, you or the child?"  Our daughter has told people at several parenting seminars that if we hadn't been so consistent and shown that we were in charge, she would have taken the lead.  She gave up trying to win after realizing that she wasn't going to win.  There was a lot of love in the home, too, and our daughter knew we weren't tyrants.  Eventually, she realized that we were using tough love for her good.

1. We need to recognize the great qualities a child with a strong will has.
    a) Have a strong mind that will not easily be swayed by any ill wind that blows.
    b) Are focused.
    c) Often have strong opinions and work hard to support them.
    d) Don't tend to be followers because they want to lead.
    e) Usually have clear ideas and they set goals to achieve their dreams.
    f) Often turn out to be high achievers.  They don't give up when the work gets hard.
    g) Don't take 'No' for an answer.

  All of the above qualities are great when they are channeled into positive action and don't have their
  spirits broken.

2. When you have isolated the great qualities in your strong-willed child, start working on the one
    you feel is most important and allow plenty of time for this to be activated.  Then look at the
    second priority for your child and give it the the time needed to be established in their personal
    repertoire.  Keep working through the list until you are satisfied that your child's strong will is
    headed in the right direction.
3. Work out a positive rather than negative approach to steering this child into the 'awesome force'
    that they are so that you are creating a positive home environment. You will end up to be a very
    proud parent. Celebrate having a strong-willed child because they can be so awesome if handled

Written by Sally and Brian Burgess

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