Before you became a parent, you might have imagined many things about your future child. You likely knew that they would be smart, kind, and capable of achieving their dreams. Yet, you might not have bargained for a child whose will is so strong that they border on being defiant. While you can’t change your child’s reactions to the world, you can help them learn to manage their behavior. Parenting a strong-willed child is easier when you keep these strategies in mind.
Remember the Benefits of a Strong Will
If you take a moment to think about a few leaders that you know, you’ll likely notice that they have what people commonly consider to be a strong will. You simply can’t get to the top unless you have a serious passion and drive to get what you want. Your child’s strong will comes with valuable traits such as perseverance, confidence, and a desire to be independent. While this might not seem great when they can throw a tantrum for hours when they don’t get their way, it will one day work out for them to have a personality that makes them ideal for being a CEO.
Encourage a Flexible Mindset
Every activity that your child does at home and school provides them with a chance to practice their social skills. One way that you can help your child is to plan activities at home that require them to adjust to other people’s preferences. For instance, everyone could vote on where to go for a dinner out. Your child might have to learn to go with the flow if their choice is outnumbered. Being in a safe place lets your child work through their difficult emotions before they have to be in public.
Help Them Find Ways to Manage Stress
Children with strong wills often experience more stress than others who adapt quickly to changes. You can teach your child coping skills that they can turn to when they don’t get their way. Try showing your child how to practice deep breathing or briefly play with a soothing toy until they calm down. Make sure to practice these skills when your child is calm so that they can become automatic for them to use later when they are upset.
When you have a strong-willed child, it is important to remember that your mindset also influences your child’s behavior. Try to remember to take a break when you feel stressed, and encourage your child to do the same. Over time, your child will learn how to respond appropriately to changes in their environment and routine, and you can look forward to one day seeing the positive aspects of their strong personality helping them to become a leader in their school and community.