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I’m not parenting expert and I certainly make mistakes as a parent everyday. But I learned very early on that my son was strong-willed. No matter what we did or how we disciplined, he did what he wanted when he wanted. No parent wants to have “that” kid; the one who doesn’t listen and seems to blatantly disrespect their parents. I used to see these kids out in public and think “oh my gosh, my kid would NEVER get away with acting like that.” Well guess what, sometimes it happens and you can’t do a darn thing about it.
Over the years I’ve learned how to cope with it better. I ordered a book on how to parent your strong-willed child but of course never found the time to read it. But instead I’ve used trial and error to figure it out. Do I have it completely figured out? No. Not in the least bit. That boy still knows how to test my patience and how to push my buttons. But I’ve discovered things that help us both understand each other better and how to cope with it.
The biggest help? Giving him attention? I find that he gets into trouble or causes problems when he’s bored or I can’t give him my undivided attention. Now of course he needs to learn how to play by himself and be independent. But spending an hour or so a day with him, and just him, seems to improve his behavior tenfold. I don’t mean just taking him to the playground and letting him run around (which does help, yes) but actually sitting down with him and doing an activity.
I recently ordered this YOXO (pronounced “yock-so”) PBS Build It kit from their website to spend some time together and get away from screen time. I don’t let my kids spend a lot of time in front of the TV or tablet, but with everything going on I will admit it’s been more than I like. So I thought this would be something fun we could do together. YOXO partnered with PBS KIDS to design these open-ended Build It kits. The possibilities are endless! They come in 30, 60, or 120 pieces and there are also add-on kits as well.
I ordered the 30 piece kit to see how they liked it first. My son opted for one of the suggested designs in the kit while my daughter built her own. The kits are designed for kids 4-8 so I definitely had to help them a lot more than someone with older kids may have to help their child. But that ended up being more fun because we worked together to build it.
The Build It kits are made from recycled and recyclable materials and feel like super thick puzzle pieces. So they can be used to design and then redesign over and over again. I also love that they suggest using other things you already have around your house, including LEGOS!
This is just one of the ways we’ve found that works for us when it comes to parenting our strong-willed child. Other things include:
Speaking to them in a calm tone.
Give them choices.
Having a structured routine.
Parenting a strong-willed child doesn’t have to be as difficult as it may seem. The most important thing to remember is that they find being told what to do unbearable. So make sure you are approaching the situation calmly and let them feel understood. Never forget that you’re the parent and they’re the child but picking your battles will help both parties cope.
It may seem extremely difficult right now but from what I hear, strong-willed children make excellent teenagers and adults. Which makes sense because I believe I was a very strong-willed child myself 🙂
How do you parent your strong-willed child if you have one? Any advice or things I left out?! Want to purchase a YOXO Build It Kit for your kids? Use code samantha10 for a discount! You can also purchase the kits on Amazon.com.