L.R. Knost once said “Strong-willed children often grow into strong-willed adults who become world leaders, world shapers, and world changers. Parenting them peacefully is not only possible, it’s imperative because sowing peace in their hearts now while they’re in our care will grow a future of peace later when the world is in their care.”
Read that again. “Parenting them peacefully”.
What does “peacefully” mean to you and your family?
For each family it will be different but finding out what works to make your strong-willed children into strong-willed adults is the goal.
Raising kids is hard.
Especially in today’s world. I think people forget that after all the “things” we are trying to instill in our kids (i.e. work ethic, ability to cope, independence, to be caring, strong, a good student, a leader, kind, etc.), we should also be focusing on one very important thing;
Is my child happy?
We could have the child that is strong-willed, who might be difficult to manage or understand their actions. But, do they appear to be happy? If the answer is yes, then you are doing a kick-ass job. Keep doing it and take it day by day. If you think to yourself “maybe my child is not as happy as they can be”, then let’s focus on what we can do, as the person/people raising them, to make them happier. That’s the million-dollar question. And with each family the answer will be different from the next. But here are a few things to try at home to get the process going.
- Ask your child what they might want from you. This is important. A lot of kids know what they want but don’t know how, or are afraid, to tell someone. WHEN THEY TELL YOU WHAT THEY NEED FROM YOU, LISTEN!
- Set aside a certain amount of time where your attention is directly on them each day. This could be 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, whatever works for you. Tell your child how much time you have set aside and then be present. No phones, no TV, no work talk, no cooking, cleaning, etc. (unless that is the activity you are doing together)
- Lastly, make sure your kids know what is to be expected of them. A lot of times kids get in trouble or reprimanded for things they did not know they couldn’t do. For example, little kids who say a naughty word. Instead of yelling at them or going straight for a punishment, tell them why they cannot say it and then explain the consequences if it happens again.
The moral of the story is this… talk to your kids. Why are adults allowed to have bad days at work and complain when they get home but a toddler who is having a rough day cannot? Why can adults tell their friends, spouses, co-workers, and family members that they need a break, but teenagers cannot? The answer is in the question.
We know how to communicate this, but kids do not.
Start there. Communicate with your kids. Find out what they need from you.
Knost, J.R. (2013). “Two Thousand Kisses a Day”. Little Hearts Books, LLC