How to groom strong-willed children

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Strong-willed children are usually referred to as ‘stubborn’. They do not give up easily and they always have their way, no matter what, says Kehinde Mosopefoluwa Babajide, Founder, Intentional Parenting Initiative (Providing Guidance And Tips On Effective Parenting Lifestyle).

You can hardly force them to do something they do not want to do. They throw temper tantrums and can be quite controlling.

Most children will exhibit the strong-willed trait at various times, but strong-willed children are quite easy to identify due to their consistency. They are usually perceived as dogged, which can be quite exasperating for the parents and those around. They do not back down when they want something and throw up a fit if they cannot have it; they are quite sensitive too.

“They show their anger by throwing themselves on the floor and cry till they get what they want. They are hardly diplomatic and careless how others feel about their actions or decisions.”

Babajide, who has a diploma in Early Childhood Education and Certified in Advanced Parenting Skills from Alison Online Learning, stressed that it is important we are intentional about our parenting lifestyle.

“We must be consistent about what we want and how we want it done. If you want your child to learn certain values or skills, it cannot be taught once or twice, it must be taught consistently.

“The moment you relent just once, it would be difficult to have the upper hand. A child needs to know that they cannot always have what they want, especially when they want it. We should teach and show them how to be patient, to take turns, to share their spaces, toys, or even time with others. We should teach them to respect, show consideration, and to tolerate others, whether young or old.”

The mother of two and educators informed that it is equally important to acknowledge their feelings too. “Listen to them, speak to them, and acknowledge how they feel, make them feel heard. When they act up, remind them that there are consequences to their actions and follow them through. And when they obey, praise their efforts and accomplishment.”

Before you start thinking that your strong-willed child is destined to become a menace to society, keep in mind that his attitude might actually be an asset at some points in his life. Also knowing that your strong-willed child can use his power for good should give you some solace.

Strong-willed kids can be great leaders, who aren’t afraid to stand up to the things they believe in. So, while you may encounter challenges along the way, raising a strong-willed child can also be an exciting adventure. What is key is ensuring you help your child channel his/her energy into something positive, rather than crushing his/her spirit.

Babajide added that parenting is life’s most complex job, and yet, it is an amazing one. There’s a saying that ‘to be a true musician, it takes a long period of training, adjustment, and practice, the same is true for parenting’.

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