I am aware that he is a very busy kid, trust me. I’ve spent the last two years glued to him.
If you have one of these marvelous, busy creatures you know what I’m saying.
I’ll never understand why when our children are young terms like ” strong willed, determined or independent ” are portrayed as negative qualities. Our kids are not bad they are not little sh*ts or defiant. ( on purpose !! Haha ) These children grow up to be smart headstrong teenagers who will think for themselves and not give into their peers. As adults they will have the skill set it takes to run businesses and lead and step off the beaten path. We don’t see this as a negative quality in an adult so we shouldn’t label our strong willed younglings into that negative category either.
There are days we butt heads with each other like no tomorrow, and then there are days Toddler G makes me want to have 100 kids exactly like him. I try to blame Coffee Infused Dad for his stubborness but the truth is, I know he gets it from me. He may look exactly like his father but you’d think with his attitude that he was a firery sagittarius just like his mama.
But you know what, this ” going concern or strong willed child” has the mindset to do epic and extraodinary things.
Learning how to parent a natural born leader is tough work and it changes day by day. Not everything you do or try will work, there is yelling and we continue to butt heads. I’ve never had to parent a child like him and I know he doesn’t expect me to be perfect. It’s a struggle, but I was meant to be his mama which means there is no one else on this earth that is better suited to teach, guide, and love him.
Below I’ve put together 7 Tips on How to Survive Parenting your Strong Willed Child.
Dont ever Apologize
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your busy baby or toddler, so let rude comments roll off your back the best you can. Terms like loud, stubborn, difficult, and going concern can touch a tender spot but just remember your kid will grow up and move mountains someday.
Don’t break their will
It’s hard to want your kids to act the norm. But really what is normal. Society wants our children to act a certain way so we’re brainwashed into thinking they should be behaving a certain way. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to stop myself and say out loud ” Krista he’s just a baby ” His strong will and desire to be independent blows my mind. He’s been this way since he was born. When I came to terms with this, I excepted that he wasn’t ever going to be a kid that sits alone quietly and plays with his toys.
Give Choices not Demands
No one likes to be bossed around. Even for little things like what clothes to wear. It’s such a simple concept but in our busy lives, it’s easy to just overlook our little ones autonomy. It’s easy to make all of their decisions for them, but for our fiercely independent little ones, this does not end well. I know it’s frustrating waiting for a toddler to make a choice, it takes approx. 2 lifetimes for them to pick between two things. And then once they pick they will start WWIII because they actually didn’t really want the blue shirt they wanted the red shirt. But don’t force it or demand anything, just ask again. ( Note: I only do this once or twice and then I make the choice for them, ain’t nobody got time for that sh*t! )
Avoid Power Struggle / Use Routines & Rules
Kids thrive on routines, they love knowing what to expect next so don’t leave them guessing. If you give an inch they WILL take a mile. There is one rule I always enforce no matter where we are and it is that Toddler G sits in his highchair until everyone is done eating. We used to let him out when he started fussing but then he would come and climb all over us and shove his hands into our meals, so I put a stop to that as soon as it started. I rarely get to enjoy a hot meal. ( Baby A is impatient and always wants his liquid gold dinner ASAP ) So the least I want is to be able to finish my meal without hands or feet finding their way into it. This is the same across the board whether we are out for dinner at a restaurant or at grandmas house. When he starts to fuss and scream I calmly say ” Nope, the rule is you stay in your chair until everyone is done their dinner ” this avoids that power struggle and he usually finishes his meal. The same goes for when I put him in the cart while shopping. He stays inside the cart buckled up. I usually have to remind him of the rule at first but then he will calm himself and sit down
Pick Your Battles
My bestie gave me this advice and I couldn’t thank her enough. I had this picture in my mind of the way that kids were supposed to act and it’s completely unrealistic. However, some things do need to be enforced for safety reasons but most of the time I let him be to do his thing. If he wants to dump all his markers and crayons on the floor, fine but he cleans them up after. He wants to stick stickers to every surface in the house, sure why not. Little things like this are not worth that power struggle. They want to do their own thing, so let them within reason. When I stopped saying NO! a million times a day we stopped butting heads so often.
Know your childs triggers
This is harder than it seems. Toddler Gs main/only real trigger is sleep or should I say lack of it. He has never been a good sleeper so I know this relates to about 95% of our power struggles. I continually have to remind myself of this. Somedays are easier than others, but knowing what sets your feisty one off will help you to be a calmer mama. I find I am more understanding when I know what the problem is. Sick kid – ok tantrums are to be expected but I tend to lose my cool a little too easily when there is no recognizable problem. It’s hard when they’re at this age and they can’t vocalize the problem. They rely on you to pick up on their cues.
Embrace your Natural Born Leader
Your strong willed baby or child is going to accomplish great things in life. Instead of looking at it as a burden or letting others place the blame on you for being a bad parent, embrace your little one. I used to get so embarrassed when someone said he was busy or a going concern. ( I don’t get embarrassed anymore, but I do get a little angry ) It felt like I failed as a parent because I couldn’t / can’t keep my kid ” in line “. After learning to ride the wave that is my son, I no longer let it get to me because I know he listens when I need him to and he will accomplish amazing things in this life.
He may only be 2 years old but he knows what he wants, when he wants it and I don’t always want to be standing in his way.
As I learn new tips and tricks I know it’ll get easier for us. These are the 7 things that I have learned and implemented so far. I think acceptance is a huge part of these tips, when I started accepting Toddler G for who he is instead of some fairytale kid I thought he should be, our relationship improved.
We still have our days, he still doesn’t sleep much which leads him into thinking he’s the boss around here but I’ve learned where to stand my ground and where to give in to him. It’s a learning curve that’s for sure but I cannot wait to see how his personality grows.
How do you handle your strong willed child? Comment with some tips & tricks that you use for parenting your independant little one.