Parenting Strong Willed Children

Parenting Strong Willed Children

One of the many adorable challenges within our children: the only perspective in life is their own and no-one gets in the way.

Things to Remember for Parenting a Strong Willed Child

  • Children need love, attention and praise
  • Children need boundaries, structure, and consistency
  • Children need goals that are achievable
  • Children need a positive safe environment with positive choices
  • Ask yourself does my child need sleep, food, or more attention from me?

strong childrenFocus on the positive: Most children like attention and often we attend more to negative behaviours (e.g., not listening) than to positive behaviours (e.g., adhering to expectations). If you see your child behave in a desired way, point it out to them.
Be consistent with consequences: In order to maintain appropriate behaviours, children must know that you will respond the same way under all circumstance. Remember children like to gamble, if it worked once in their mind it will work again.
Establish routines and adequate sleep: Children greatly benefit from structure and sleep is very important to your child’s physical and emotional health. Just think about yourself, when your day is off or you didn’t sleep well, life tends to be a little more frustrating. Children are the same way, except they also make your life more difficult.

What parenting techniques work best with strong-willed children?

  • Less talk-more action! Since children with intense temperaments thrive on energy and parents become more energized as the lectures, begging, and arguing escalates, the most productive way to stop this cycle is to keep instructions short and clear.
  • Let your child know what is expected and the consequence if she chooses not to comply. “Amy, you have to finish your chores before lunch or no swimming.”
  • Follow through with stated consequences each and every time! Children are natural scientists and they will continuously test to see if consequences are consistent and predictable.
  • Don’t nag. If your child knows what is expected of her, a simple gesture can get the message across. “Kay, (point to the sink), dishes!”
  • Be your child’s cheerleader! Let him know that you believe in his capability to make good choices. Remember, negative messages are met with resistance and positive ones with compliance.
  • Recognize when you have been caught up in the “negative loop”. Negative behaviors lead to intense responses, intense responses feed negative energy and so forth. Pretty soon parent and child have become accustomed to this behavior pattern and can’t see any other way to interact.

How to break a negative cycle

  • Refusing to become involved in arguments and lengthy debates.
  • Believing that things can get better.
  • Seeing your child’s intensity and energy as a gift and not a burden. Strong personalities are often accompanied by intelligence, creativity and talents.
  • Redirecting your energy towards recognizing and rewarding positive behaviors. Keep a daily log of positive behaviors and soon you will notice your child is not always misbehaving!
  • Reducing the intensity of your reaction to misbehavior. Stay calm, frame your reprimand without ridicule or shame, and if need be, you can both take a “time out.”
  • Finding something to share with your child which can pull the two of you closer together. Concentrate on activities that promote feelings of togetherness.

Learning a new way to interact and setting firm limits is not going to be easy on you or your child! However, the rewards will be beneficial for both of you as your child becomes more self-disciplined and successful!

Seeking professional help may assist if you have a specific issue or problem occurring with you and your children. If you would like further information on Perth counselling services or play therapy for children, contact us today.

Article Title: Parenting Strong Willed Children
Article By: Vision Counselling and Psychology, Perth Western Australia
Web Address:
Published: 15/07/2014
Raising Strong Willed Child. Available at: Accessed on: July 15, 2014.
Parenting Strong Willed Child. Available at: Accessed on: July 15, 2014.
Image Reference: Dollar Photo Club


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