ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Strong willed children

Updated on August 24, 2017

Raising a strong willed child can be tough!

Every parent wonders if they are doing something wrong every once in a while. A strong willed child

seems to increase those thoughts ten-fold. You may question your parenting skills, or you might believe there are behavioral issues with your child. Do not jump to conclusions just yet. It is very easy to slip into thinking they have oppositional defiant disorder, but that is not always the case. Don't lose hope. Your child may not be oppositional at all. They may simply be strong willed. The good thing is that you can learn to nurture that strong willed nature. Insight into the mind of your child is just the beginning. Raising a strong willed child takes perseverance. Remember that the rewards are worth it. A strong willed child is independent and their love is genuine!

Parenting a Strong Willed Child can bring on the most frustration, but can lead to the best rewards

Photo Courtesy of: Amazon

Will he ever give in?

Raising A Strong Willed Child

I know that these words come out of my mouth at times. Any child can be difficult at times, but a strong willed child is a special sort of child. They will test the boundaries like no other. Don't lose heart. You can learn to tame that wild pony! In time, you can channel all of that determination in the right direction. I know one day my daughter will not fall to peer pressure simply because she marches to the beat of her own drum. I hope these resources help you. I know it helped me from going bald. Pulling out your hair goes with the territory!

You can also check out my potty training tips for strong willed children here: Potty Training

Helpful Ideas

Make sure you a strong willed child.

If you have a strong-willed child, your task is to rise to the challenge. They were born with a temperament to be independent and think for themselves.

A strong willed child wants to test the limits and asks why. They don't take things as fact as easily as other children. They want to figure it out for themselves.

Try to understand that they have a need for independence and care for yourself. Exhaustion will do you no good.

Build your role as the authority early on and ease up on them as they get older. Allow for exploration, but remember you are in control.

Let your strong willed child make decisions. Allow them the opportunity to work with you in choosing activities your family does together.

Strong willed children will follow rules that make sense. Allow for discussion, but remember who sets the rules.

Strong willed children want to feel special and strive to do things in their own unique ways.

Do not overreact to their frustration. Remind them that you are on their side even if they are failing at a task. Let them know that failure is ok.

Don't panic and hang in their especially during the teen years.

Allow your strong willed child to explore and understand themselves.

Pray for your child as they learn and be a good leader. They will learn from your example.

The New Strong Willed Child

Find Help Online

PAL is a valuable tool. I encourage you to check it out. The University of Alabama has compiled a list of resources for parents of children from birth to teens. Check them out here

The University of Wisconsin's extension office has a curriculum for a class on spirited children here. I think this could be used individually in learning to handle strong willed children better.

What's worked for you in raising a strong willed child?

Love and Logic will help you keep your cool and improve your parenting skills.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder vs. Strong Willed Child

Many of the resources I see on the web are more closely related to ODD than it is strong willed children. Do not get the two mixed up. The strong willed child is not arguing to make you mad. They are so driven by the need to do things on their own that they often seem defiant. As a Professional Counselor, I have worked with ODD children. To clarify, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM IV) is the standard by which Psychiatrists and Psychologists diagnose children. They label ODD as:

pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least

six months during which four of the following are present:

1. Often loses temper

2. Often argues with adults

3. Often actively defies and refuses to comply with adult

requests or rules

4. Often deliberately annoys people

5. Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehaviors

6. Is often touchy or easily annoyed by others

7. Is often angry and resentful

8. Is spiteful and/or vindictive

Additional criteria include the following:

1. The disturbance and behavior causes clinically significant

impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.

2. The behaviors do not occur exclusively during the onset of a

psychotic or a mood disorder.

3. The criteria is not met for a conduct disorder.

Grab a Mirror Now.

Ok, now look good and hard into that mirror. After doing some of my own searches online, I see some negative views on strong willed children, but the examples I'm reading about are not what would be classified as a strong willed child. It's inconsistent parenting (or lack thereof). Yes, they will try you, but you have to get the basics down in order to change your situation. Change may be extremely difficult for some because you are trying to eliminate old patterns of behavior. In order to change, you must practice, and never waiver. That's where we mess up. You see my strong willed daughter is very perceptive. She picks up on the inconsistencies so well. For instance, I might tell her to go to her room, but then I get easily side tracked and forget to follow through on the punishment. There are some excellent books out there on parenting, but you absolutely must be consistent in order for progress to happen.

If your chiId is truly strong willed, I want to stress to you again that your child is seeking independence, and they are not being willfully disobedient.

Take a Quiz to Learn More!

Parenting Quiz Learn more about your parenting style and find ways on how to improve. This quiz should give you some insight on how you handle parenting.

What is your child's love language? Learn more about the 5 love languages which are based on the book of the same name. There are specific quizzes for teens and children. If you can reach the heart of your child, you can help direct their behavior. With this quiz you will learn how your child receives love.

What is my child's learning style? Discover how your child learns and together you can battle homework and learn to communicate better.

Myers Briggs I'm a big fan of Myers Briggs. I find that it is one of the most accurate personality tests out there. Your teen will be interested in learning about themselves and about your personality. Find out how to communicate with different personality types.

The Four Temperaments Are you a busy little beaver? A loyal Laborador? Like the Myers Briggs, you can discover your personality type. This test breaks personalities down into four types.

Parents speak out

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Well, at least they are not boring. Who want want a boring kid?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm back facebooking, tweeting, and pinning this on Pinterest.

    • ismeedee profile image


      7 years ago

      Keeping calm. Though MUCH easier said than done!

    • amkatee profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @anonymous: excellent advice!! Yes only start time out when they are sitting quietly in time out. If they are kicking and screaming the whole time, that is not time out.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My oldest son could be difficult at times. No punishment seemed to phase him. He'd get into to trouble, serve his time, and go do it again. I actually found success in a form of planned ignore. We've always used time out as a punishment, with one minute per year of age. With him, I would sit him down and have him tell me when he was ready for his timer to start. no matter how much he screamed, the time out only started when he calmed enough to ask for it to. It eliminated his behavior pretty quickly actually.

    • knit1tat2 profile image


      7 years ago

      conistant and real consiquenses (forgive my sp) and 'tough love'. I had to stand my ground, but gave every chance I could when she was agreeable. The rewards usually won!

    • satewas profile image


      7 years ago

      My daughter is strong willed but she does not like time outs. even the threat of a time out works.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      8 years ago from Ljubljana


    • TeacherSerenia profile image


      8 years ago

      I should have told you I featured this lens to my Journey through Motherhood lens - which won LOTD today. You have some great tips & ideas. .

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      8 years ago from So Cal

      I just had to laugh at the strong-willed child or the weak-willed parent. I am not but wonder if at times I have been enough weak-willed to allow the behavior. Thanks for the tips. Angel blessed.

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 

      8 years ago

      My eldest is very strong willed and he knows exactly which buttons to press on me sometimes. He can be hard work, but the rewards outway this. At the same time he is so loving and caring - he is a lot like me, just likes to take charge :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I had been principal in a big school for so long and have met so many of these and they are just great as you can really get them engaged and they take charge. We have one grandaughter and she's terrific. Her parents are doing a great job, it was a surprise at the start but now she is growing up well.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have found that the best effective discipline techniques for my strong willed son is definitely patience and communication. Listening to what it is that's causing his behavior is key, although there are many times when this is very difficult to do. I don't feel that punishments or rewards works so well for strong willed children, they know how to manipulate the situation.

    • amkatee profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @rmstouffer: In deed, my daughter is very good at trying to manipulate the system. lol

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have found that the best effective discipline techniques for my strong willed son is definitely patience and communication. Listening to what it is that's causing his behavior is key, although there are many times when this is very difficult to do. I don't feel that punishments or rewards works so well for strong willed children, they know how to manipulate the situation.

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image


      8 years ago

      You have a lot of great advice here. I have two extremely strong willed children. It can be very rough at times. Great lens. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A very positive approach to caring for a strong willed child. My 3 kids were very good. I have 3 grandchildren and the two girls, esp. 1 is very strong willed. She has been my little side-kick, and we sure do have fun. Awesome lens.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The Childrens and Parenting Group that this lens belonged to has survived all the recent changes on Squidoo and is now a Lensography. This lens is now featured at Children and Parenting HQ.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What a beautifully put lens. Clearly, you've reached a great state of acceptance about your strong-willed child and have risen to the task. It's true, God takes care of all children, and I often think these kids are some of our greatest teachers. My colicky, sleepless babe has turned into an equally strong-willed child. She is beyond smart, has tremendous guts and I know she will do amazing things with her life. There were moments of hair-pulling.. er.. make that years but we're getting through and your lens has made that light at the end of the tunnel seem brighter indeed. We took her off of refined sugars and that helped tremendously with the constant craving for stimulation and inability to settle down. Being a bipolar personality myself, I have to say she comes by it honestly. And boy have I learned a lot. God bless these very special kids- they will be tomorrow's leaders. What a gift we are granted to watch them blossom. 5* and favorited. With love, Darcie

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Oh, I can relate completely. I have a strong-will child and I find that being consistent is how you deal with them is so important. Good info here. Glad my strong-will child was the last one born.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Ooh, my sister has a strong willed little boy, she loves him to bits, but crikey, he keeps her on her toes!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Am just revisiting the lenses in the Children and Parenting Group to say what a great selection of lenses we have on there and I am really pleased this is one of them!

    • Salzano profile image


      10 years ago

      My son is now 30 yrs old. I first bought Dr. Dobsons book when my son was 2yrs old. I followed his advice and today my son is a great blessing to me, and to all that know him. The road was hard at first. My son just wanted to do so many things, and it took me a solid year of consistency and love to get him in control. When we learn the correct ways to train up a child is becomes so much more easy. We find our focus and main stays. Faith and prayers ever day were the building blocks, and the book gave me the tools to apply. Great lens!

    • lisasboutique profile image


      10 years ago

      Wow This is so useful. I have five boys, two you are very strong willed. I am constantly challenged every single day with raising these two, I can't wait to find the boys you have recommended so I can read up on how to help them grow. I am a huge fan of reading so a big thank you to this lens. 5 stars

    • lisasboutique profile image


      10 years ago

      Wow This is so useful. I have five boys, two you are very strong willed. I am constantly challenged every single day with raising these two, I can't wait to find the boys you have recommended so I can read up on how to help them grow. I am a huge fan of reading so a big thank you to this lens. 5 stars

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 

      10 years ago from Croatia

      Hi! Just to let you know: You are one of Graduates from September 2008 Class! :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)