Strong-Willed Children: Dealing With Defiance (Part II)

Is the defiance and opposition of your strong-willed child exhausting you?  If so, you are not alone.  Many parents of determined, strong-willed children don’t have any idea how to deal with their kid’s intrinsically resistant nature.  Understanding that willful children are not being intentionally oppositional is one of the first steps in coping with their inherent defiance.

From the time they are born, strong-willed children continually test the limits and question the rules, as well as the power of the authority figures in their lives.  Curious and creative, as well as defiant and bold, strong-willed children usually pursue what they want by experimenting with crossing the lines of parental boundaries.  Unfortunately, this often results in exasperated and frustrated parents.

Although we’ve all heard it before, consistency is one of the keys to good parenting.  However, strong-willed children have a way of wearing away at a parent’s resolve and causing them to forsake consistency.  Unfortunately, abandoning this stabilizing factor will reinforce your willful child’s negative behavior.  On the other hand, by mustering the energy and courage to remain consistent, you will be able to direct your child’s oppositional force into constructive and creative channels.

Your strong-willed child is liable to question every rule, and inquire into every imperative imposed on them. Compliant children may accept “because I said so,” or other ambiguous answers, but a strong-willed child is not apt to be so amenable.  Kids that are endowed with a strong will simply have a deeper need to understand why a ruling system is in place and why it is in their best interest to comply.  Here are several things that parents can do when attempting manage their children’s seemingly insolent behavior:
* Offer choices.  For example, ask if they would like green beans or peas for dinner instead of simply telling them that they must have vegetables.
* Parents should make sure that they are clear about what they are asking and offer explanations whenever possible.  A strong-willed child wants to know why they need to eat healthy food or how running with scissors might hurt them.
* Employ patience.  Strong-willed children are assimilating their world in a vastly different way than the rest of the population and they feel the need to ask questions – and a lot of them – in order to make sense of their world.

Even though strong-willed children are often regarded as defiant and oppositional, in truth, their resistant style quite often results in goal-oriented, committed, and purpose driven adults.  Being able to adequately understanding how willfulness fits into a child’s personality will enable other people – especially their parents – learn to interact with them in a productive and beneficial manner.

About Melissa J. Murphy

Melissa Murphy is in the business of building self-esteem, instilling confidence, and restoring hope in those who have given up on life. She is currently completing her degree in psychology, and has worked as a life coach and faith-based counselor for more than a decade. By bringing her personal life experiences into her work, Melissa is able to help others survive their wounds, heal their pain, and live a life of success despite having incurred overwhelming emotional scars. For the last few years, she has discovered the joys of writing and has published a growing number of articles. Melissa currently resides in the Houston area with her husband and her two wonderful children.

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