If you have a strong-willed child, you know it. This trait they have comes with the ability to fearlessly be who they are. They are the ones that if they see an opening, watch out. They will pounce. They are constantly testing boundaries in every situation.
He might refuse to clean up, just because EVERYTHING HAS TO BE AN ARGUMENT.
She wants to wear what she wants to wear--and that can change on the whim, sometimes four times a day. Seasons don’t matter to her either. She will freeze for a twirl-inducing-multicolored dress.
He might use terms like “don’t look at me,” or say “stop singing” when you start grooving to nursery rhymes with your other children-- because he wants to give the term threenager some merit apparently.
She must do everything herself-- put her shoes on etc. (which takes five-hours) and if you try to lend a helping hand, she will hit the roof with her fury.
When your strong-willed child is being hard, the day-to-day becomes increasingly difficult.
There is a trickle-down effect on bad behavior.
And It’s hard.
Because other kids (especially siblings) think misbehaving is hysterical—and since my strong-willed-threenager is “so funny” my 20-month-old is always copying her bad decisions to the point where I am chasing after two kids instead of one---
You know you have a strong-willed child when you learn the word no is synonymous with one more time or five more minutes.
And it’s hard.
“Get off that table, NOW!” I huff, seeing the danger in what she is doing.
“Okay, five more minutes," is her response.
"NO, NOW," I growl, knowing I am going to have to physically remove her or threaten her princesses’ existence in her bed.
When I whisper to my husband in bed late at night (where I do my most anxious thinking): “I feel like all I do is discipline her, and I hate it. I hate who I have to be to get her to behave.”
And it’s hard.
It’s a constant fight, a tug o' war, when I just want her to win too—but with kindness.
She puts my people-pleasing nature to the test. She is often the child running in circles and not listening in class, especially when I am there—because her favorite pastime is trying to get mommy’s attention in a negative way. It has made me feel like a bad parent because I have problems controlling her behavior.
And it’s hard
But it’s taught me to embrace who she is and let go of my need to control and strive for perfection. It has made me understand other children’s behavior and give grace to them and myself—we are all doing our best.
She wasn’t what I’d imagined my kid to be like, but I say that in the best way. Different is oftentimes better and what you need. She is vibrant, confident, smart, and funny. She is going to do big things with her will and determination—and those that stand in her way, good luck to them. She is my gift.
And it’s hard.
But some of the best things in life are hard.
And so very worth it.