Mom tips for parenting your strong-willed child
We have a strong-willed child. He is fun!
We are no experts, we have been doing this for only four years. So while we have navigated the newborn phase, and the very early and fundamental stage of childhood, therefore, I have some tips on parenting your strong-willed child.
Our son is a fun child, strong-willed, yet sensitive, and he wants to have his way and his way only, otherwise, he’s not interested.
He needs to be with me, and I must always be in his life of vision, otherwise, he is uncomfortable. He is persistent, he can debate his point to get his way, he is perceptive. My husband and I often joke about where he came from, (don’t answer that, we know exactly where he came from).
Before he was born, I read this book, along with many others, The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Hobbs and Blau. It describes all the qualities of the strong-willed/spirited child. While these are all normal behaviors, he is just MORE.
Hogg and Blau classified children into 5 categories:
THE TEXTBOOK CHILD: Milestones are met like clockwork, as the name suggests. They are predictable and show the signs that you see in the movies regarding teething, tiredness, hunger and more.
THE ANGEL CHILD – Angel babies easily adapt to new situations and environments. They take change in stride, rarely cry without cause, and are simple to read. Angel babies are easy-going, even-tempered, and good sleepers.
THE TOUCHY CHILD -touchy babies are ultra-sensitive. They’re high-strung and easily excitable. It’s important to introduce new things slowly. Touchy babies often cry randomly and need perfect sleeping conditions
THE GRUMPY CHILD – Grumpy babies (grumps), have a mind of their own and feel the need to test their parents daily. Being stubborn, they’ll maintain their own boundaries til the end of the world. It’s important not to push a grumpy baby, and you’ll end up worse off than when you started.
THE SPIRITED CHILD: Here is a synopsis of the strong-willed/spirited child:-high energy, feisty, and very active. They tend to be resistant to naps or bedtime routine because they don’t want to miss out on anything. When they want something, they want it now and they are very opinionated. Their mood is mercurial, going quickly from happy to sad and back again.
- Activities – high energy, feisty, very active. Ready to jump into almost any situation. Little control or caution. Highly reactive, aggressive. More cooperative in the morning. Leave afternoons for winding down.
- Sleep – you need to block out visual stimulation. Resistant to naps and nighttime rituals
- Mood – when they want something, they want it NOW. Opinionated, vocal, stubborn. Quick mood swings. Love the action, but tend to overdo it, causing a tantrum, which is hard to stop once it’s begun. Transitions can be rough.
While these qualities are qualities that we admire in adults, they are also very difficult to mold as a child.
Here Are Some Tips That Has Worked For Us.
Gentle Parenting is Key to parenting a strong -willed child.
The spirited child needs routine. He knows that we get up in the morning, have milk, brush his teeth, get dressed, and eat breakfast. Infrequently a video after breakfast. So we can go out and start the day. When we get back into the house, he also knows the routine, we put his sister to nap, go outside to play in the yard.
One significant thing that I’ve learned is that there is no wiggle room in the routine for a spirited child. If you switch something up, it crashes the entire routine.
We use to take frequent road trips prior to having children, we tried to do this with him when he was younger, but it just did not work. He needed to stay on track, not going to bed in his own room with his own sound machine and his own toys created havoc. We could not get him down. To this day, once we leave his environment, things get a bit difficult.
A NEED TO FEEL SAFE:
Safe means he needs to be in my presence. He needs to always know that I am close by.
The thing about a spirited child is that they lose their ground quickly, they need familiar faces and things. Though he is mercurial, he most likely will never go with a stranger.
A NEED FOR OPTIONS:
Routine works wonders for the “Spirited Child” but they also like to have the sense of option. Let me clarify: Option as in they like to choose what games to play, what activities to engage in, and even what to eat. Otherwise, they tend not to be interested.
Change does not work for the spirited child. This solidifies my first point. They tend to prefer the same situation and environment.
While they can adapt to other environments, it usually takes time. Be prepared to spend a lot of time preparing them for a new environment. How do we manage: We try very hard to avoid his triggers.-Gentle parenting. But let’s be honest, if I can avoid a 45-minute meltdown, why wouldn’t I? For example, he is very capable of dressing himself. If I send him to his room and there is a toy out, know that he will be sitting there playing with that toy and not getting dressed. In an attempt to save my sanity especially on workdays when we have to rush out of the house, I just put his clothes on. I leave no room for distraction, no room for the meltdown because there is simply no time for it.
DE-ESCALATE SITUATIONS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE:
There is no need to provoke a child whatsoever, and there is definitely no need to provoke a strong-willed child. You will lose this battle, I can guarantee that. If something bothers them, comfort them, but at the moment might not be the time to figure out what the actual problem is.
Though this is something that we are trying to incorporate as much as possible. It does not mean much to a child who only wants his way and his way only.
Talking through situations and trying to rationalize with a spirited child can work, remember they are highly perceptive, and as long as they see a benefit coming their way, they are usually on board. We do not verbalize a potential plan unless we are absolutely sure of it.
A spirited child will hold you to every single one of those words, and if the plan falls through, he will have a meltdown. Avoid these situations if possible.
I want to clarify that my son does not have behavior problems, he is just a very determined child. He is quite timid and is nervous of getting into trouble. He is fun, we’re exploring his personality together and it has been an adventurous ride.
Do you have a strong willed-child. Let me know below and how you are parenting them.