Do you have a strong-willed child? — The Bump
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Do you have a strong-willed child?

I have 2 strong-willed children and I found this article very interesting.

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/Parenting-Strong-Willed-Child

Thoughts?

 Lilypie - (gu1R)
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Re: Do you have a strong-willed child?

  • Oh, whatever.  She's still small & I can sit on her. 
     
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  • This is Henry. Exactly. I agree with a lot of what the article says, but in the heat of the moment, staying calm and not engaging in the "argument" is not as easy.
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  • Yes. Lol. He has strong-willed parents, and when he genuinely wants to do something, he is incredibly difficult to sway. I've read stuff by Laura Markham before and I find her interesting, though we don't prescribe to her teaching 100%. 

    The idea that you don't *have* to argue with your kid is one we do use, though. Some things are non-negotiable: you will go to bed at bedtime, get clean at bathtime, leave the house when it's time to leave. But oftentimes we just don't engage, or even help him achieve whatever goal it is that he's so frustrated about. If he wants to climb a chair and get on top of the table, we try to make it a learning experience; usually there is some reason he wants to be on top of the table (like, there's something up there that he can't reach, or wants to see). When we examine the desires behind his fits, he's much easier to parent.

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  • image HenHen25:
    This is Henry. Exactly. I agree with a lot of what the article says, but in the heat of the moment, staying calm and not engaging in the "argument" is not as easy.

    All of this.  Both my H and I sat down last night ready to cry.  It is amazing to me how our child can bring us so much joy, but also frustrate and exhaust us to the point of breaking down due to his intensity. 

    I keep reminding myself and my H that having a strong willed child will be a great thing later on as long as it doesn't kill us in the mean time.

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  • image EllaHella:

    I was a strong willed child.  And now I have a strong willed child. 

    I am not debating bath time with a two year old.  Perhaps maybe when DS is older I can apply these techniques.  But for now, I am not spending my nights saying  ?I hear that you don?t want to take a bath.  Can you tell me more about why?"

    Hilarious!


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  • image EllaHella:

    I was a strong willed child.  And now I have a strong willed child. 

    I am not debating bath time with a two year old.  Perhaps maybe when DS is older I can apply these techniques.  But for now, I am not spending my nights saying  ?I hear that you don?t want to take a bath.  Can you tell me more about why?"

    I totally agree.  A lot of the techniques are geared more toward older children Maybe pre-school age.  I do find that Oliver is happier and more compliant when I let him help in decision making.  Obviously it is not always possible, but it is nice when I can let him "take the lead" on some things.

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  • There are very some good ideas in there, but I'm turned off by some of the overly alarmist and developmentally untrue language they use.  For example: remind yourself that winning a battle with your child always sets you up to lose what?s most important: the relationship. " 

    Give me a break.  You're not going to lose your relationship with your child by forcing him to wear a coat outside, and this attitude is what leads to overly permissive parents being afraid to use any consequences because they think their kid will hate them forever.  It IS good advice not to fight with your kid about wearing a coat, but there is no way I'm going to say that whole long paragraphy explanation every single time.  Just "Okay, but let's bring it in case you change your mind" will work.  All that "you have control over your own body" stuff goes right over little kids' heads.  And besides, they don't.  We control when they bathe, when they go to bed, and what they are allowed to eat, and for good reason.  

    You're not "forcing a child to submit to your will" when you set boundaries and expect your child to sitck to them.  The difference is in how you enforce it. Obviously, the dad spanking is kid until she admitted she was tired is not okay.  But that's really a whole different issue.

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  • image sofamonkey:
    Oh, whatever.  She's still small & I can sit on her. 

    Haha.  Sometimes when Oliver is being difficult at bedtime (pretty much every night) I tell him I'm going to sit on him to keep him in bed.  Obviously I would not, but I feel like it sometimes.

     Lilypie - (gu1R)
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  • Yes.  But no to the debating with my not quite 2 year old. I'm bigger, far more stubborn, and I invented that look she tries to give me.

    As I told daycare the other day when they informed me that they asked my almost 21 month old if she wanted to go to the 2s room for her transition and she pitched a fit which caused the daycare teachers to not take her over for transition time: The not quite 2 year old does not get to make those decisions. Want to let her decide between an apple and an orange? Fine.  Whether or not she transitions to 2s is not her choice, it's happening, just march her little tush over there when it's time, no discussion.

     

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  • I thought my kid was so I bought Parenting the Strong-Willed Child and figured out he really isn't.  The book was still helpful but decided it is more for pre-schoolers and up.  I borrowed Happiest Toddler on the Block.  While some of the techniques are silly/pointless/debatable, it's more geared to us right now and is working decently.
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  • image EllaHella:

    I was a strong willed child.  And now I have a strong willed child. 

    I am not debating bath time with a two year old.  Perhaps maybe when DS is older I can apply these techniques.  But for now, I am not spending my nights saying  ?I hear that you don?t want to take a bath.  Can you tell me more about why?"

    Eh, I don't think asking why your child doesn't want to do something is such a bad thing.

    One night when I told my son it was time to go in his bed he started acting out/tantruming. I asked him why he didn't want to go to his bed. He told me he was scared. I got a night light and bedtime wasn't a fight again. Crisis averted.  If I was authoritarian and said "you have to go to bed now because I said so", punished him for acting out, and made him cry it out in his room until he fell asleep, I would have accomplished nothing except making bedtime a more terrifying time.

    I don't think it's advocating that you should have a back and forth conversation over everything, but simply to ask your child why they're objecting. Sometimes the simplest thing can fix the problem without a battle.

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  • Aren't all toddlers strong willed? Isn't that why they call it the terrible twos? I think there is a lot to be said for involving children in decisions. For instance-Ro has to get ready for bed, but she can choose her PJs. She has to take a bath but she can choose which toys to play with.  

    And the goal is not to "win a battle." I think that is the point that is getting missed. The goal is to have a healthy, happy child. IF you keep that in mind it takes a lot of the fight out of it. It doesn't really change the situation, but it changes the perspective.

    And it might be interesting to find out why your kid doesn't want a bath. Maybe it is something easy to fix-like water temperature, the smell of the shampoo you use, the fact that he knows bed time is right after. It could be something easy to fix which could result in a bath with no fuss.  

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  • image Libby1978:

    image sofamonkey:
    Oh, whatever.  She's still small & I can sit on her. 

    Haha.  Sometimes when Oliver is being difficult at bedtime (pretty much every night) I tell him I'm going to sit on him to keep him in bed.  Obviously I would not, but I feel like it sometimes.

    LOL!  We fake sit on P all the time.  She loves it & laughs.  If only I would have thought ahead to actually using sitting on her as a technique.  I've basically sunk myself with giggles.  Boo.  Well, giggles are kinda cool....maybe I won?  lol
     
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  • image Sonadora:

    Yes.  But no to the debating with my not quite 2 year old. I'm bigger, far more stubborn, and I invented that look she tries to give me.

    Ha, this.
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  • image EllaHella:

    My child didn't want a bath last night (which was my example) because he wanted to jump up and down on his bed. 

    In reality, I do talk a lot of things through with him.  But I will also set rules and boundaries.  There is a line where both can be done in coexistance.  It works for us.  It worked for my mom with me.  I think you all would agree that I turned out fabulous. ;)

    In that situation I use first...then. I would say "first we have to have a bath, then we can go jump on the bed". If he knows his activity is next on the list (and things happen in the order I tell him to) he's ok with it. Doing a chart of your bedtime routine so he knows what's happening (and incorporating some play activity she likes during the process) might help as well without having a battle of wills over something.

    I think people who read something on positive discipline automatically assume there's no rules and boundaries. There are. I actually consider myself pretty strict about certain things. I just use those techniques so I get my child to do what I want him to do without fighting about it with him. Smile

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  • image EllaHella:
    image Manneek1977:
    image EllaHella:

    I was a strong willed child.  And now I have a strong willed child. 

    I am not debating bath time with a two year old.  Perhaps maybe when DS is older I can apply these techniques.  But for now, I am not spending my nights saying  ?I hear that you don?t want to take a bath.  Can you tell me more about why?"

    Hilarious!

    I copied this directly from the article.  No thank you.  I am trying to walk that line of setting rules/boundaries and letting him be independent.  But there are some things that aren't open for discussion with a stinky toddler covered in dirt.

    ETA-  I do try to let him think he is making the choice though.  So is that brilliant or manipulative? 

    I agree completely...Somethings will never be that serious... Little of both! Stick out tongue


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  • image EllaHella:
    image IrishCoffee7:
    image EllaHella:

    Except there is no jumping on the bed. 

    I am in awe of those who have two year olds who will listen to you reason out why something isn't allowed or must be done.  Amazed.  Mine openly laughs in my face.  At which point I give up and pour some bourbon and wonder why I didn't stick with dogs.  My dog then lifts her head off her pillow with an "I told ya so" look.  Defeat all around.  

     

    I'm half kidding.  Sorta.  Maybe. 

    LOL.

    I'll tell you I have adopted "pick your battles" for sure.  And because I think it's important to be able to enforce the rules and boundaries, I have learned it's in my best interest to be more lax on boundaries than I would have expected. 

    Like at the end of the day his toddler bed is a foot off the floor.  Jump away. 

     

    He's whacked his face twice on the sides.  I seriously have my reasons and it isn't a control thing.  I like his teeth.  He should keep them.  They look good in his mouth.

    I'm coming off the second rough weekend in a row.  My battle wounds are still fresh and I am a little more sardonic than usual.  I'm typically more patient than this.

    That makes sense about the toddler bed. Why not let him jump on your bed if his toddler bed isn't safe enough while he holds your hands?  A kiddie trampoline with handle works well too.

    What I find works good with toddlers is lots of choices, talking them through stuff, and as much control over their environment as possible. If it's a safety thing it's non-negotiable. I'm a stickler for manners--kids need to say please/thank you/excuse me. If my kid doesn't say please, he doesn't get it. I also don't tolerate bad behavior in public or hitting others--you get one verbal warning, then you're all done no matter what. Anything else--if it isn't going to kill you, it's negotiable. 1 year old wants to be picasso and draw on the wall with crayons? Eh, magic eraser will take it off. Kid wants to wear shorts in 30 degree weather? You'll learn that lesson naturally. Kid wants to jump on bed? Heck I jump with him.

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  • Both of my kids are strong willed, as am I.  I try and pick my battles, but if we need to get out the door to go somewhere, he isn't getting to "pick" and extra ten minutes of playtime before we head out.  I give him notice we are leaving soon and thats it.  I tried the whole "but why do you feel this way" about dinner/bath/bedtime for about 3 days when I realized from his answers he just didn't want to.  Bath wasn't good for him because he liked being dirty, dinner wasn't good for him because he wanted donuts, bedtime wasn't good for him because he wanted to watch tv...if he controlled the day it would be pajamas all day with tv and donuts.  Not happening.
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  • image mom2pottamus:
    Both of my kids are strong willed, as am I.  I try and pick my battles, but if we need to get out the door to go somewhere, he isn't getting to "pick" and extra ten minutes of playtime before we head out.  I give him notice we are leaving soon and thats it.  I tried the whole "but why do you feel this way" about dinner/bath/bedtime for about 3 days when I realized from his answers he just didn't want to.  Bath wasn't good for him because he liked being dirty, dinner wasn't good for him because he wanted donuts, bedtime wasn't good for him because he wanted to watch tv...if he controlled the day it would be pajamas all day with tv and donuts.  Not happening.

    5/2/1 minute warnings when a fun activity is ending/he has to leave works well.

    There's some control but there's boundaries to that control too. I wouldn't ask "what do you want for lunch" because donuts would be the answer for my kiddo too but it's "do you want peanut butter or tuna fish sandwich for lunch today?" He gets two reasonable choices and gets to choose between the two. I also let him choose what vegetable is being served with dinner and let the kids help out with prepping dinner. They always eat what's served because they feel they have that little bit of power with the process.

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  • I have 3 strong-willed children. 

    They've taught me a lot.  

  • image KC_13:

    image mom2pottamus:
    Both of my kids are strong willed, as am I.  I try and pick my battles, but if we need to get out the door to go somewhere, he isn't getting to "pick" and extra ten minutes of playtime before we head out.  I give him notice we are leaving soon and thats it.  I tried the whole "but why do you feel this way" about dinner/bath/bedtime for about 3 days when I realized from his answers he just didn't want to.  Bath wasn't good for him because he liked being dirty, dinner wasn't good for him because he wanted donuts, bedtime wasn't good for him because he wanted to watch tv...if he controlled the day it would be pajamas all day with tv and donuts.  Not happening.

    5/2/1 minute warnings when a fun activity is ending/he has to leave works well.

    There's some control but there's boundaries to that control too. I wouldn't ask "what do you want for lunch" because donuts would be the answer for my kiddo too but it's "do you want peanut butter or tuna fish sandwich for lunch today?" He gets two reasonable choices and gets to choose between the two. I also let him choose what vegetable is being served with dinner and let the kids help out with prepping dinner. They always eat what's served because they feel they have that little bit of power with the process.

    I make sure he gets to make a lot of choices throughout the day like you mentioned, he picks out his clothes, his preference for food out of my options, dinner some nights, where we go on our walks, etc because it does make both of us happier.  I just don't have a whole lot of flexibility when we need to be somewhere or when it comes down to rules about respect/hygiene/bedtime.

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  • image mom2pottamus:
    image KC_13:

    image mom2pottamus:
    Both of my kids are strong willed, as am I.  I try and pick my battles, but if we need to get out the door to go somewhere, he isn't getting to "pick" and extra ten minutes of playtime before we head out.  I give him notice we are leaving soon and thats it.  I tried the whole "but why do you feel this way" about dinner/bath/bedtime for about 3 days when I realized from his answers he just didn't want to.  Bath wasn't good for him because he liked being dirty, dinner wasn't good for him because he wanted donuts, bedtime wasn't good for him because he wanted to watch tv...if he controlled the day it would be pajamas all day with tv and donuts.  Not happening.

    5/2/1 minute warnings when a fun activity is ending/he has to leave works well.

    There's some control but there's boundaries to that control too. I wouldn't ask "what do you want for lunch" because donuts would be the answer for my kiddo too but it's "do you want peanut butter or tuna fish sandwich for lunch today?" He gets two reasonable choices and gets to choose between the two. I also let him choose what vegetable is being served with dinner and let the kids help out with prepping dinner. They always eat what's served because they feel they have that little bit of power with the process.

    I make sure he gets to make a lot of choices throughout the day like you mentioned, he picks out his clothes, his preference for food out of my options, dinner some nights, where we go on our walks, etc because it does make both of us happier.  I just don't have a whole lot of flexibility when we need to be somewhere or when it comes down to rules about respect/hygiene/bedtime.

    Right, and no one should have flexibility about those issues either. The goal is that you give your child lots of choices and control (within limits) when there's something non-negotiable there's less likely to be a struggle when you're letting them have control over lots of other things in their environment.

    I find parenting that way gives your words more power too. When I get my mom voice out and say they need to stop doing something, they listen immediately because it's not like they're hearing it all the time and block it out, kwim?

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  • image HenHen25:
    This is Henry. Exactly. I agree with a lot of what the article says, but in the heat of the moment, staying calm and not engaging in the "argument" is not as easy.
    Yup, its DS too. This article is a good perspective, thanks for posting.
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  • image EllaHella:

    I must just suck at parenting.  I try to do what KC talks about and it flat out sucks the life out of me.  It isn't working.

    Can you tell I am reaching a breaking point? 

    You don't suck at parenting. You just haven't found what works for your kid yet. Nothing is going to work for 100% of kids 100% of the time. Kids go through stages too so it's something that might pass too. Hang in there.

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  • image IrishCoffee7:
    image EllaHella:

    I must just suck at parenting.  I try to do what KC talks about and it flat out sucks the life out of me.  It isn't working.

    Can you tell I am reaching a breaking point? 

    I think every kid is so different and as parents it's trial and error to find out what is most effective with our own child.  My kid is a lot like I was so between knowing my personality and years of hearing my mom talk about how I was as a toddler I probably got a little lucky.

    Don't be so hard on yourself.  Raising a toddler is exhausting.  I work hard to find ways that work for us...and every time I start thinking I'm doing it right, it all changes again.  It is a constant evolution and there are nights I can't wait to shove him into bed so I can run to my own bed and pass out before 9. 

    I also think toddlers are all challenging and exhausting in different ways.  So none of us is ever going to be the expert on someone else's child.

    ((hugs))

    Sounds like maybe you need an afternoon away, all to yourself?

    I"m fresh off vacay so I probably haven't taken off my rose-colored "I missed my baby" glasses yet.

     

    I just want to say I completely agree with this and especially the bolded.  I think I do a lot of the things that the article talked about and what KC was saying because I have found that it works for my son well. But, it working well is kind of a recent thing. When he was closer to 2, nothing seemed to work. Also, when I'm exhausted and he is exhausted things can get ugly really fast.

     

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  • image EllaHella:

    I must just suck at parenting.  I try to do what KC talks about and it flat out sucks the life out of me.  It isn't working.

    Can you tell I am reaching a breaking point? 

    Honestly I change my perspective every day on what works with my kids, and my DS seriously didn't start being more agreeable to the way things were done until recently.  I went through every single idea in the book until this one kind of worked the best.  Every time he broke me down I came up with something new.  I have had so many breaking points, each one is what made my try again.  Parenting sucks sometimes, sorry you are in a hard spot, but you are absolutely not alone.

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  • I definitely do! DS will not give up an argument no matter what.
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  • image EllaHella:

    I must just suck at parenting.  I try to do what KC talks about and it flat out sucks the life out of me.  It isn't working.

    Can you tell I am reaching a breaking point? 

    Strong-willed is a continuum, too.  I give my children lots of choices and room to make their own decisions and it always, always, always, ALWAYS winds up being them asking for the universe until I end up banging my head on the hallway wall crying "HOW LONG UNTIL DRINKY DRINKY TIIIIIIIIIME?"

    Sometimes, when I'm lucky, that happens at 4pm.  Other times, it happens before we leave for school.

     

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