Wednesday, June 15, 2011

tips for dealing with your strong willed child

(picture of Caleb before we knew what we were in for!)

Let's talk about strong willed children, God love em!
I have the privilege (I see you smiling) of raising a few of them...and of being one myself, still:)

My first child Caleb was and still is strong willed. I think he will be to the day he dies! I saw little signs of it at 9 months when he would crawl to the DVD player wait until I looked (this is key...it's not worth it to a strong willed child if you don't see them do it!) and then stick his hand in; then he would go directly to the fireplace wait until I saw him and get in it; then he would go straight to the standing lamp and wait until I looked over and shake it. And this would repeat at nauseum!

When he was about 15 months he was in the playroom stacking blocks, I was about 6 feet away at the dinning room table. I saw him trying to stack blocks and struggling but I stayed where I was and watched him to see if he would figure it out. I took my eye off of him for a sec and out of the corner of my eye saw a wood block fly by my head. He had gotten frustrated and threw it across 2 rooms! I knew exactly how he felt!

At 2 he decided he did not need a quiet time or a nap and that I couldn't make him do either. He decided that he would start peeing on himself and that would get him out of nap time. I put him in a pull up, he pulled it down and peed a little here, a little there all over his room. I next put him in a pull up with a belt on backwards, then he just yelled and trashed his room...

He is my strongest willed child. I do trust that one day God will use that for His glory but when he was little it was a major struggle to parent!
After Caleb came Emma who slept through the night immediately and her greatest joy is to please us. Luke is not much different. Seth I think will be somewhere in the middle. Gianna is different. I see in her a child that wants to please above all. I don't feel like she is strong willed UNLESS she is triggered by a memory or a fear from her past. This to me is not the same. She wants to control us out of fear because adults have let her down in her past. Caleb just wants control and he is not ready to handle it. Audrey is a mixture of strong willed and hurt.

A little hope for ya.
I'm not sure if Caleb is learning consequences and picking his battles better or if I am handling the issues better but we rarely have head to head battles (at 2 and 3 it was daily sometimes all day now it is monthly or every other month).

You can do this!!!!! I promise!
They desperately want control of you, your house, the dinner table and especially anything involving bed time! And you want them to have control when they can handle it...that's what we are doing, trying to work ourselves out of a job, right?!
When you get really really angry or frustrated with them and feel like your head is going to blow off your neck ask yourself if you feel like you have lost control in your house? That was when I would lose it. The truth is you are in control right now. You chose when and what they eat, how much TV they watch, who they play with, where they go. It won't be like this forever but it is for now if you have young kids. And this is not to be used to punish them but to TRAIN them. And it takes hard work, and tears, and sometimes but rarely blood (just kidding...I think)

Another thing, if you are like me, and you have a strong willed child you have probably heard well meaning people say things like;
"Oh he probably doesn't need a nap anymore."
"Oh, that's totally normal at that age..." (which makes you feel worthless because apparently you must be the only one that can't deal with normal!)
"Oh, honey lets just take him to the park or give him that cookie."
"Oh, poor thing!" (poor thing!!!! What about me!!!!!)

The truth is, it isn't the issues that are a big deal, it is their heart! It is stubborn, stiff necked is what the Bible calls it. It will not come under any authority. It is very prideful. You are right to be troubled by it...these are things that make it very hard to do well in the world. And if you are a Christian we want our children to come under the loving authority of God.
But first they must learn to WANT to come under your authority.

So I got carried away and didn't get to the tips, sorry! But tomorrow I will have a bunch for you! But I will give you one to chew on now...

YOU CANT CONTROL THEM!!!!! Take a deep breath, relax and let it soak in. You really can't! Trust me I've tried. "But isn't that my job??? To control them?" Nope, it's to train them and protect them (I'm talking to myself here too) Sometimes to protect them you do have to control them.

I look at God as the perfect Father, He gives us free will. He lets us chose if we want to love Him or not, He sometimes lets us make the wrong decision while keeping a careful eye on us and sometimes stepping in and pulling us out of it. And all the while wooing us (old fashion word but that is what it is) He pursues us and that is what we are to do with our kids! Lovingly pursue them, give them room to make mistakes and step in before they get really hurt.


Your doing a good job mom! Keep at it:)


(I'm expecting a horrible day tomorrow with Caleb! Every time I write something on here -like I know what I'm doing I end up getting tested on it the next few days...or weeks)

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