Strong-willed children

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Joined: 04/09/06
Posts: 1244
Strong-willed children

How many of you would classify your child this way? What parenting techiniques do you find helpful? Have any of your ever read the book, "The New Strong-Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson? What were your thoughts? I am reading it now and I have mixed feelings. I agree with some of it, except that he endorses corporal punishment (although I have not read that chapter yet to know his full view), and I am very against it.

Keira is my strong-willed one. She tries my patience and she will test me to my limits. I find myself exhausted just asserting myself to make sure she understands that she is not the boss in our house. She stands her ground and will not budge when she is determined. I often find that giving her choices does not even work. She will just refuse the choices and continue along her way. It is super frustrating. She also refuses to sit in time outs. I am that mom who is sitting on her kid to keep her there (almost literally, it is more like a very firm hold), and by the end she is in tears..and I feel like I want to breakdown with her (I don't). I was never much of a yeller with Isaiah, but she has pushed me there and I have had to really focus to keep myself from losing control. There are nights where she will get in her crib, but refuse to let me tuck her in. I have left her standing there on several nights just screaming and crying. And...when she screams, she will take it to the point where she vomits or she bites herself. I refuse to go back in until she calms down and then I will tuck her in. I often have to remind her that we use "nice" words when she wants something because her favorite phrase is "You do it!" She throws her food on the floor on occasion. Also, when I had a new "nanny" this summer, she refused to let her do anything if I was there. She was not allowed to give Keira any food, help her with her bib, get her dressed, do her hair, etc... I chose not to fight it because it was such a fight that resulted in meltdowns, but I feel like I should have stood my ground. I just did not want to expose the high school girl to such behavior. I just feel like it is always a battle of wills....ALWAYS. Sad

Lavender444's picture
Joined: 03/27/03
Posts: 1944

Andrew use to be my challanging child. He is very strong willed, emotional and sensitive. He would throw huge kicking and screaming fits at the drop of the hat, over very little things. I tried a bunch of different methods to deal with him but the best way I have found is to have a zero-tolerance policy. I often tell him it's okay to be sad, but there will be no fits and no whining. I ignore all whining and send him to time-out for all offence breaking.

Really, it has helped a ton! He seems to have a better grasp on how to deal with his emotions and has learned that when something bothers him, it's more productive to come to me and tell me about it, than just having a fit. Now when he does an unwanted behavior I say, "Excuse me?" And he will change his tone, lose the whine and speak in a poliet manner. It seemed he just needed more defined bounderies. Once the expecation was crystal clear, he has conformed, so to speak to what I expect of him. Of course, being 2 he still has his moments. I make sure I give him lots of credit and thank him for using the correct behavior.

I hope you're albe to find something that helps with Keira as well.

mommyvolc's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 1296

Yes, Alicia is very strong willed. She also has a speech delay...so when she is upset or angry she hits, grunts, screams or throws things to express herself. Fun times. She gets put in time-out multiple times a day. She is told continuously to use her words and we give her emotional words to help her to express herself. We have a zero tolerance policy on hitting, biting, throwing. For grunting/screaming she gets ignored until she calms down and uses words to tell me what she wants.

I have not read that book yet...but I have read another who's name I forget...but it basically said clear limits, clear choices, lots of chances to do their own thing.

Nicole

Joined: 04/09/06
Posts: 1244

"Lavender444" wrote:

Andrew use to be my challanging child. He is very strong willed, emotional and sensitive. He would throw huge kicking and screaming fits at the drop of the hat, over very little things. I tried a bunch of different methods to deal with him but the best way I have found is to have a zero-tolerance policy. I often tell him it's okay to be sad, but there will be no fits and no whining. I ignore all whining and send him to time-out for all offence breaking.

Really, it has helped a ton! He seems to have a better grasp on how to deal with his emotions and has learned that when something bothers him, it's more productive to come to me and tell me about it, than just having a fit. Now when he does an unwanted behavior I say, "Excuse me?" And he will change his tone, lose the whine and speak in a poliet manner. It seemed he just needed more defined bounderies. Once the expecation was crystal clear, he has conformed, so to speak to what I expect of him. Of course, being 2 he still has his moments. I make sure I give him lots of credit and thank him for using the correct behavior.

I hope you're albe to find something that helps with Keira as well.

Yes,we do a lot of this. Time outs are still rough. She does not tolerate those at all. Isaiah just sat and did his time. She will not give in on that front. We do emphasize using "nice" words and that has helped. She changes her tone as soon as I tell her that I will only help her (or whatever it is she is fussing about) if she uses nice words.

Of course, then Sarafina sends herself to time outs to escape doing things. I often hear, "I not get dressed, I go to time out!" You gotta love it! She also thinks that if she says she has to go potty we will remove her from places she does not want to be like the kitchen table at dinner. Sigh!

"mommyvolc" wrote:

Yes, Alicia is very strong willed. She also has a speech delay...so when she is upset or angry she hits, grunts, screams or throws things to express herself. Fun times. She gets put in time-out multiple times a day. She is told continuously to use her words and we give her emotional words to help her to express herself. We have a zero tolerance policy on hitting, biting, throwing. For grunting/screaming she gets ignored until she calms down and uses words to tell me what she wants.

I have not read that book yet...but I have read another who's name I forget...but it basically said clear limits, clear choices, lots of chances to do their own thing.

Nicole

If you think of the name of the other book, let me know. We have pretty clear limits and choices, but I have been trying to evaluate what we have been doing lately. Mostly, because with two of them, it is hard to keep things clear. I find myself getting caught up in trying to survive the moment instead of really decided how I want to respond to a situation.

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

*lurker* the title of your post caught my attention!

My DS is 3 years old and is EXTREMELY strong willed. I have not read the book you are talking about. I did find "Raising your Spirited Child" very helpful.

I also find it helpful to fully explain WHY I want him to do something - example - "please finish eating your dinner so you are not hungry later and so that we can go play and have fun". Giving him incentives that are real to do something you want makes sense to me. Creating power struggles that don't need to exist doesn't from my viewpoint. Yes, I'm in charge, but I want him to work with me instead of fight him all the time!

I also try to really pay attention to When/How I want to pick a fight. If he's doing something I'm not thrilled with (like taking all the pots out of the cabinet) and I ask him nicely to put them back and he starts to balk, then I assess - is it really work upsetting him/me just to not have to wash the pots? typically I decide no, and say something like "can you play with these two pots and this spoon only" and he usually agrees. Then I put away the rest and lock up the cabinet. If he's kicking/hitting/biting I have a very different reaction, we don't tolerate that and he goes into his room with the door closed because like you said, timeout is impossible if I don't put him there.

I also make sure to give plenty of warning before we have to get dressed/leave etc. Basically any change that I know he's not going to like I'll give a 5 and 2 minute warning. he's a lot more amenable when I do that.

My best tip (though the hardest for me at least) is to stay calm when requesting something. If I don't keep my cool the whole house blows up! So if I can stay calm even when I'm really angry I can often gain his cooperation.

Lastly, I felt like a failure as a mom for a long while. My friends all had children the same age or younger that were "better behaved" than my son. Then I realized that I'm just as good of a mom. I'm raising a child that is strong willed, independent and will be a GREAT adult who can stand up for themselves and won't bow to peer pressure. He always wants to know Why he should do something instead of just going along with what others tell him. So it's difficult when they are toddlers, but I think in the long run if we can teach them well by GUIDING them (instead of bossing them) we'll end up with wonderful adult children someday! I hope that makes sense!

I hope you find something that works for your family! It's got to be a lot more difficult with twins plus an older child too!

Joined: 06/10/07
Posts: 1692

I'm sorry I didn't respond to this earlier, Melanie. Didn't really have anything to suggest. I have not read the book you mentioned. How have things been going the past few days?

Joined: 04/09/06
Posts: 1244

Julie- Each day is hit or miss. It just depends on her mood and what she decides she is going to fight me on. She had a great morning, but tonight could be totally different (which is normal for this age). It was Sarafina who about did me in on Saturday. She had a meltdown at the pool that was almost epic. I could not calm her down. She got sick in the car because she was so emotionally charged. She was mad that she had to get out of the pool during the mandatory break every hour, and it was nap time (we were going to leave anyway). Another mom had to help me get Keira, who happily grabbed her monkey floatie (as she calls it) and followed us to the car. I had S in a football hold (to keep her from hitting me) and she screamed at the top of her lungs all the way to the car. Good grief. She also screamed all the way home and all the way to her crib. Once she had her pacifier and was in her crib, she calmed down. Oy!

Joined: 06/10/07
Posts: 1692

Oh gosh, Melanie. Sounds so tiring just to get home that day. :bighug:

Joined: 04/09/06
Posts: 1244

Oh yes. I think I napped while the girls napped that day. The thing that stinks is that they need to experience things like the pool and the park, but taking them by myself is really hard depending on their mood. Sarafina is really emotional right now. I am wondering if she is sick. She gets this way when she gets ear infections. She sobbed all morning today. I just remind myself that this is a phase of life. This too shall pass. Smile

Kayla1981's picture
Joined: 01/04/07
Posts: 1529

"melnzai" wrote:

How many of you would classify your child this way? What parenting techiniques do you find helpful? Have any of your ever read the book, "The New Strong-Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson? What were your thoughts? I am reading it now and I have mixed feelings. I agree with some of it, except that he endorses corporal punishment (although I have not read that chapter yet to know his full view), and I am very against it.

Keira is my strong-willed one. She tries my patience and she will test me to my limits. I find myself exhausted just asserting myself to make sure she understands that she is not the boss in our house. She stands her ground and will not budge when she is determined. I often find that giving her choices does not even work. She will just refuse the choices and continue along her way. It is super frustrating. She also refuses to sit in time outs. I am that mom who is sitting on her kid to keep her there (almost literally, it is more like a very firm hold), and by the end she is in tears..and I feel like I want to breakdown with her (I don't). I was never much of a yeller with Isaiah, but she has pushed me there and I have had to really focus to keep myself from losing control. There are nights where she will get in her crib, but refuse to let me tuck her in. I have left her standing there on several nights just screaming and crying. And...when she screams, she will take it to the point where she vomits or she bites herself. I refuse to go back in until she calms down and then I will tuck her in. I often have to remind her that we use "nice" words when she wants something because her favorite phrase is "You do it!" She throws her food on the floor on occasion. Also, when I had a new "nanny" this summer, she refused to let her do anything if I was there. She was not allowed to give Keira any food, help her with her bib, get her dressed, do her hair, etc... I chose not to fight it because it was such a fight that resulted in meltdowns, but I feel like I should have stood my ground. I just did not want to expose the high school girl to such behavior. I just feel like it is always a battle of wills....ALWAYS. Sad

Jordan is just like that. She is very strong willed, which I'm sure I've expressed here. I try giving her choices, but she doesn't really care. Or, she will make a choice, then change her mind, then change her mind again. It ends up making things harder sometimes. I tried enforcing time outs but that was impossible with Nora around. I can't feed or hold Nora while forcing Jordan to stay in time out so I started using the Pack'n'Play. It's the best option for my situation. Then I end up with a child who refused to get OUT of time out. She would kick at me and tell me not to get her out. So, I would walk away and she would start screaming. This cycle could repeat forever. She would also yell over me while I tried to explain why she was in time out. Talk about frustrating! Especially if Nora is crying because she needs to be fed or something.

"tink9702" wrote:

I also try to really pay attention to When/How I want to pick a fight. If he's doing something I'm not thrilled with (like taking all the pots out of the cabinet) and I ask him nicely to put them back and he starts to balk, then I assess - is it really work upsetting him/me just to not have to wash the pots? typically I decide no, and say something like "can you play with these two pots and this spoon only" and he usually agrees. Then I put away the rest and lock up the cabinet. If he's kicking/hitting/biting I have a very different reaction, we don't tolerate that and he goes into his room with the door closed because like you said, timeout is impossible if I don't put him there.

I also make sure to give plenty of warning before we have to get dressed/leave etc. Basically any change that I know he's not going to like I'll give a 5 and 2 minute warning. he's a lot more amenable when I do that.

My best tip (though the hardest for me at least) is to stay calm when requesting something. If I don't keep my cool the whole house blows up! So if I can stay calm even when I'm really angry I can often gain his cooperation.

Lastly, I felt like a failure as a mom for a long while. My friends all had children the same age or younger that were "better behaved" than my son. Then I realized that I'm just as good of a mom. I'm raising a child that is strong willed, independent and will be a GREAT adult who can stand up for themselves and won't bow to peer pressure. He always wants to know Why he should do something instead of just going along with what others tell him. So it's difficult when they are toddlers, but I think in the long run if we can teach them well by GUIDING them (instead of bossing them) we'll end up with wonderful adult children someday! I hope that makes sense!

I hope you find something that works for your family! It's got to be a lot more difficult with twins plus an older child too!

We do all of those things. I don't pick every battle and that is for my sanity. I enforce things that need to be enforced but let small things go. That has not been easy for me! Like today, she was going through my makeup bag. I didn't really want her to but she didn't mess anything up and it kept her occupied for a few minutes while I finished getting ready. I also give a LOT of verbal cues. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. I keep doing it though because I think Jordan needs those to help transition from one thing to the next. I also have found that I need to be firm, but calm. If she knows I'm getting flustered, it's like it puts fuel on the fire. I also agree that children with a strong will have great attributes that will come in handy later in life. They are just not always easy to parent.