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Strong willed children

Updated on October 12, 2014

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

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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

What is your favorite parenting tip?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have a strong willed child that doctors have tried to label with everything under the sun. Meds, no meds- he is the same stubborn bull-headed kid he has always been. When you turn into the strong willed parent, it really throws 'em for a loop! I'm convinced that one day my son will use these powers for good- for now he can still talk to a therapist but we don't let his labels define him.

    • Commandrix profile image

      Heidi 5 years ago from Benson, IL

      Stay consistent even when you don't think you're getting through to your child. That way your strong-willed child will at least know what to expect. Communication is also good. Maybe there's a legitimate reason why your child is being stubborn and getting him to talk about it can help you more than fighting with him about it.

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 5 years ago

      When you say something, or state a consequence, follow it through. If you are warning a child of a consequence, make sure it's one you can follow through on. For example, never say, 'if you don't come now I'll leave without you' if it isn't possible to follow that through. The child will eventually learn you say what you mean and mean what you say. Kids need boundaries so you can't let their will break you.

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      CiahZet 5 years ago

      I am raising what seems to be a very strong willed 3 year old boy. Thank you for the tips. Blessings to you.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 5 years ago

      Be strong and never give up. Most of the time it is not easy, but the child needs an adult to lean on. They might not realize it, but we have to be there for them.

    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?

    Parents speak out

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        Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

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

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        dellgirl 5 years ago

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

      • ismeedee profile image

        ismeedee 5 years ago

        Keeping calm. Though MUCH easier said than done!

      • amkatee profile image

        amkatee 5 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.

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        anonymous 5 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.

      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.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Yes, i have 1-2-3 Magic, and several other books on discipline, but it is the teenage years I'm most focusing on now. it's a world of difference. i see several resources I'll be giving a try.

        • ThoughtsFromGreg profile image

          ThoughtsFromGreg 4 years ago

          This was a good lens, with plenty of resources. I especially liked the suggestions for the Love & Logic series, and your module on 'Look in the mirror."

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