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Monday, May 21, 2012

The strong-willed child

I knew she was different the moment she was born.   Her cry sounded...angry.  Like, "How dare you disturb my peace and quiet!"  Every time I put her in her car seat, you'd have thought I was torturing her.  More piercing screams.  When she was 4 months old, I caught her trying to escape from her crib.  By 10 months old, she broke the crib, bending the side metal connections.  On her first birthday, I presented her with a cute little cupcake with one lit candle on it and she gave me this look of suspicion.  No, I was not planning on setting her on fire!  When she was 14 months old, I went into her room and she was sitting on the floor with all the pieces of the second crib scattered around her.  My husband made her a new crib with lag screws and bolts holding it together.  Time outs became time outs for the both of us because I had to sit on the time out chair, holding her firmly on my lap or she would escape.  Nothing seemed to work for this child.  I tried everything.  Her childhood was one big strategy game.  For her, how to outwit Mom.  For me, how to just stay in the game! 

But even though she was difficult to handle, she was also very curious, determined and bright.  She loved animals. She cared about people. She loved making things and teaching herself new skills.  And, when she was channeling all that energy into things she liked to do, she wasn't getting into trouble and I could breathe a sigh of relief.  

I struggled with her until she was about 14 years old.  Funny too, because that's when a lot of young teenage girls START having problems.  But she seemed to calm down and stop fighting everything.  She became focused on school, determined to enter college early.  She made a 10 year plan (another evidence of her strong will).  She became a nurse, and now she's a doctor.  She is still strong-willed and determined but she uses those traits to reach her lifelong dreams.

From this daughter I learned the importance of consistency and patience.  It would have been so easy to let her have her way just to keep the peace and prevent a tantrum but she needed to learn how to control herself and turn that determination into something positive.  So, be patient but firm with your strong-willed child.  There is a lot of potential there. 


  1. This really got my attention. The parent of any strong willed child is really put to the test. So wonderful to know that not only did parent and child survive, but they thrived!

  2. It was touch and go for a most of her childhood :)

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  4. This is what I needed to read today. Thank you!

  5. I can't believe that any of your wonderful children ever give you problems! You and Travis do an amazing job of parenting!

  6. My strong-willed child snuck up on me... Like yours, he also screamed loud and lengthy when born, apparently shocked and astounded that someone would disturb his happy place. He has always been angry at personal pain (to himself and to others -- he'll stick up for the underdog every time), screaming angrily at the sidewalk at his first skinned knee. He seemed the easy one alongside his sisters, but he's always been a master at passive-aggressive behavior. And he ALWAYS had a logical argument that made me laugh, and once I laughed he knew he had me. Dang!

    1. I can definitely relate! I can just imagine the sight of this little boy screaming at the sidewalk :) What strong spirits our strong-willed kids have...