Do you have a strong-willed child? Wonder how you can be the best mom to such a determined kid? Here’s encouraging and helpful advice from a mom who knows!
I can clearly remember the day.
When this beautiful, brown-eyed, curly-haired child – simply bursting with personality – walked into our home.
As if she owned the place.
I think she might have been all of four-years-old, but that didn’t seem to matter much. At least not to her.
Normally, such behavior would have greatly bothered me. But not this time. To be candid, I was charmed by the child.
But, oh, did this little girl dominate the room the moment she entered it.
My husband observed her for a mere few minutes before quietly pronouncing that she could “probably run a small country by the time she was ten.”
And he was right.
She could have done it.
After Miss President-of-a-Small Country had run outside to play, I turned to my friend – the mother of said child – and asked how she did it. How she managed to be the mom of such a powerhouse.
And I’ll never forget her reply.
“I am the brick-wall in Anna’s life.”
An answer which puzzled me.
What does being a “brick wall” have to do with anything? And more importantly, what does it have to do with being a mom to this child?
But I was about to find out.
Because I watched our young president run into her Brick-Wall mom throughout the afternoon.
She wanted – no, demanded – a certain kind of snack.
Her mom’s answer was a quiet, but firm no.
She wanted – no, insisted on – taking off her sweater.
Her mom’s response was a soft, but unrelenting, “You’ll have to wear your sweater if you want to play outside.”
After about three or four of these devastating disappointments, her little powerhouse decided to have a complete melt-down on my living room floor. (After all, what’s the point of running a small country, if you can’t get even get your own way with your mom?)
My good friend scooped her daughter up and lovingly held her in her arms until she stopped crying.
But this mom never gave in.
She stuck to her decisions and held her ground, no matter how much her darling daughter protested.
Her little girl might run a small country some day, but she wasn’t going to run over her mom.
My friend isn’t the only one who has raised a strong-willed child.
I’ve got a few of my own.
More than my fair share, as I’ve mentioned to God over the years.
Oh yes, I’ve got the quiet strong-willed one, and I’ve got the loud-and-clear strong-willed one. (Did you know that they come in all kinds of flavors?)
Both sons and daughters.
Let’s just put it this way: that brick-wall thing has been put to the test.
But now that they’re older? And doing big things out there? I’m grateful for that strong-will.
Because it takes strong resolve to stand up for what’s right.
It takes strong determination to overcome obstacles.
And it takes a strong will to impact a lost world.
So go ahead, Mom, and make like a brick wall. Then stand back and watch how God uses you – and your child – to make a dramatic difference for His kingdom.
How to Be The Mom Your Strong-Willed Child Needs
Remind yourself that brick-walls don’t budge. Neither do they “wrestle.” And by that I mean don’t get into a power struggle with your child. Make your decision and stand by it.
Your strong approach helps your child feel secure.
Can you imagine what it’s like to be in your child’s shoes? To feel determination and strength, but not have the wisdom or maturity to go with it? As strong as your child is, he/she is still a child who needs an even stronger mother.
Don’t frustrate your strong child with too many rules.
This might surprise you, but it’s actually important that you don’t micro-manage your strong one. Pick your boundaries and your rules and stick to them, but be sure and give them room to breathe. Even give them assigned areas where they can exercise their strengths. Put them in charge of a pet or a project. Give them a real responsibility.
Focus on the positives.
Instead of thinking how difficult it is to parent your child today, consider how this strong-will can impact the world for good. I remember those stubbornly crossed-arms challenging me in those younger years, and now I see her standing up for pro-life and justice today. God gave your child that will for His purposes.
Please don’t label your child.
Don’t refer to your child as “strong-willed” or “stubborn” or the like – either to his/her face or even to others. This will only make your child feel the power…or possibly the rejection. Remember a strong-will isn’t a “condition” or a “syndrome” – it’s a gifting.
God picked YOU to be your child’s parent.
That means that no matter how ill-equipped you feel to parent this child, God knows you can do it. That’s why He made you the mom. So maybe you don’t believe in yourself, but you can believe in Him. He knows what He is doing and He – in all His wisdom and power – chose YOU.
So stand strong. Your child needs you.
Your very own world-changer.
In His grace,
Lisa is the happily-ever-after wife of Matt Jacobson and together they enjoy raising and home-educating their 8 children in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She encourages women to embrace the rich life of loving relationships and the high calling of being a wife and mother. Lisa is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and her husband is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt and Lisa are also the co-hosts of the FAITHFUL LIFE podcast where they talk about what it means to be a biblical Christian in marriage, parenting, church, and culture.