Creative Child

How to Raise a Strong-Willed Child Without Breaking Her Spirit

by Deborah Song

Raising a strong-willed child? It may not be easy but let’s face it, she’s the one you don’t have to worry about when you’re not there to protect her. Strong-willed children come with built-in features that are often difficult to teach like tenacity, grit, independence and the ability to withstand peer pressure. Research shows strong-willed children grow up to make some of the best entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders because of the very quality that makes it difficult to parent them: they disrupt and challenge the norm.

So how do you nurture these amazing qualities without breaking their spirit? It may be important to first understand the inner workings of a strong-willed child. Strong-willed children are guided by a strong sense of integrity. When you’re young, this moral compass often seems excessive. It may not make sense to us why socks have to be put on a certain way or why a child has to face a particular window while eating their cereal. This stubborn streak can be viewed as defiance for the sake of defiance. But for strong-willed children, they are merely adhering to their own moral code. And they will often put their desire to be right above all else.

So it should come as no surprise that they hate being told what to do. Strong-willed children would much rather learn for themselves, or to at least understand the reason for doing something instead of blindly acquiescing to it. This is also why they seem to constantly test boundaries. They also want desperately to have autonomy and be in control of their own domain. So yes, they can prove to be a handful!

But consider the plus side. They are impervious to peer pressure, they are naturally independent and the constant quest for “why not?” makes them see possibilities in situations most people would simply accept as status quo. We desperately need them to be the movers and shakers of tomorrow. So while it would be convenient if your strong-willed child did what you told her do simply because you said so, consider what’s at the heart of this wish. You probably don’t want your child to merely adhere to an authority figure. You want her to listen to you because she trusts you. This takes time and effort. Here’s are some tips on how to hone and nurture their talents.

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