Oh, the strong-willed kid.
They are typically LEADERS in the making and FULL of creative ideas.
They also leave parents asking at times “Who is this Kid” and “Seriously?”
Thus, the challenge becomes deciding which battles are worth the fight.
If you have a strong-willed kid, chances are the following is familiar:
“Jack, it’s time to clean up your toys!”
Jack, with those big, beautiful blue eyes, takes a moment to consider your request then answers with a confident “No” or maybe even a polite “No Thanks” and returns to his own plans.
“Jack, it’s not a choice. It’s time to stop playing and clean up NOW!”
So sets the stage for what could lead to an epic battle of the wills.
Ultimately, you are the parent and you can make Jack clean up the toys, but there might be a way to both win. I love win-win situations where the child accomplishes what you need them to do and you prevent a meltdown, even if it requires a little bit of compromise.
The strong willed child has a need to control unlike any other.
There are two ways to play their game and both come out happy.
1. Give an “Either/Or” choice so they Don’t Lose the Control
“Jack, you can either put away the blocks or the puzzles right now. Which one would you like to do?”
This gives your little leader an opportunity to “save face” gracefully.
2. Turn Things into a Game/Race/Competition
“Jack, let’s set this timer and see how many toys you can put in the toy box before it goes off.”
Did I mention the strong willed child likes to compete as well?
Give these strategies a try and keep in mind that a little compromise or competition just might save the time (and tears) that may result otherwise!