It can be a challenge in raising a strong willed child. The key to survival is
structure, patience and tender loving care. Strong willed children often are
go-getters and great accomplishers. Knowing how to channel their energy is
imperative to a healthy childhood.
First let’s talk about structure. A strong willed child normally has a lot of
energy. This energy can lead to mischievous behavior which in turn can mean that
the child needs to be disciplined. Try to channel their energy constructively to
avoid situations that call for punishment.
Strong willed children tend to be intelligent and can be reasoned with. The key
here is to reason with them before an episode blows up. Say for example that
your strong willed child likes to take off outside to the neighbors – when you
don’t allow them to leave the yard. Yet they do it time and again, thus showing
how strong willed they are.
You should sit them down before allowing them to go outside and explain why you
set the boundaries of the yard. Go over all the things that could happen to them
if they disobey and set a punishment if they do disobey you. Give them some
lee-way and allow them time to earn your trust.
If they disobey you be swift with the punishment outlined. If you told them if
they left the yard that you would ground them to their room with no TV for the
rest of the day – follow through with it.
This is the kind of structure that helps to teach them to bend to YOUR will. Be
consistent and always do what you say you will do. The above examples and
punishments are just that – examples. You should come up with a system that
suits you and your child in dealing with the structure and discipline that works
best for your family.
When raising a strong willed child patience is probably the single best piece of
advice I can give you. Strong willed children tend to have a one-track mind.
Once they set their mind to something it becomes more difficult to get their
Pay attention to what it is they are being strong willed about. Perhaps you can
figure out why and come up with a good solution in dealing with them. Here’s
My daughter is strong willed and when she doesn’t get her way (about most
anything) she will start to cry and mouth at us about it. She has a one-track
mind and will continue to cry and mouth until either she wears out or we give
When I stood back and assessed the situation I realized that she was trying to
be heard – as she’s the middle child. She needs a little extra attention than my
other children. So when things are calm, I pay her more attention. You’d be
amazed at what an extra 15 minutes of one on one will do for a child’s
When she has a “fit” now I gently send her to her room. Most of the time it’s
done by force, and I sit down on her bed and get on her level. I look her in the
eye and calmly talk about why she can or cannot do whatever it is she’s having a
fit over. I tell her – calmly – that when she calms down we can do something
together – or she can perhaps do something else.
This may take a while, but if you take the time to simply be patient, try to get
to the reason behind the strong-willedness, you can usually understand them
better. Always get down at their eye level when you talk to them. Be firm, be
calm and exercise patience.
TENDER LOVING CARE
Sometimes a strong willed child is just calling for attention. They see that if
they are determined and aggressive it will get our attention and good or bad we
will respond. To the strong willed child they see us as the boundary setter and
will push the limits to see how far they can go outside.
Show them love at all times. Keep your word. Spend time with them one on one –
even if it’s just for minutes a day. Try to see the reasoning behind their
strong-willed behavior and take action to channel the energy. Raising a strong
willed child can be challenging, but if you set the boundaries, provide the
structure, practice patience and show them tender loving care, you can raise a
child to be proud of.