Help! I’m Raising a Strong Willed Child

Help!_Strong-WilledChin tilled high, mouth pursed in frustration; it is obvious she is not going to budge of her own accord. I could try cajoling her or perhaps teasing, but those methods rarely work. Only gentleness, firmness, a calm spirit, and the grace of God is going to pull us through this one. My strong-willed child is ready to face off and I think I need a little help.

I am blessed with several strong-willed children. Did you catch that? Yes, blessed. I confess, I have not always thought of it as such. There are times having a strong-willed child is frustrating and tiring; and can cause said tired adult to question whether they are an effective parent. None-the-less, strong-willed children are a blessing.

I recently had the pleasure of reading The Strong-Willed Childby Dr. James Dobson. In his book, Dr. Dobson confirms this belief and offers encouragement to parents raising these amazing children.

  1. My Child Has Free Will – My child is not a robot. God created them with a will of their own and an independent spirit. It is foolish – yes, foolish – of me to assume I have control over them or that I can force them to do what is right. Should my child make unwise choices, this is not necessarily a reflection of poor parenting on my part. We need to be careful to make this distinction. If there is improvement needed on my part, so be it. However, my child also needs to be made accountable for their own decisions.
  2. I’m Not Alone – Believe it or not, I am not the only parent blessed with strong-willed children. Neither are you. I know, it seems as if everyone else’s children are perfect and the parents have it all under control. But, that’s a lie.
  3. Hold Ground – The key to winning ground in our parenting is to remain consistent. It’s easy to give in when I’m tired, but I’m only doing my child a disservice in the long run. It’s not going to be easy, but I need to stand firm. I need to be gentle, but not give in.
  4. It Will Get Better – No matter how bad things might seem right now, I need to trust the Lord is doing a work in my child and give them over to Christ. If we are being consistent in our parenting, doing everything God has asked of us, there is nothing more I can do. It might take a while, but things will get better.
  5. Being Strong-Willed is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing – I’m not sure why, but being strong-willed is always associated with being bad. However, being strong-willed is a blessing. Strong-willed people with a solid foundation in Christ cannot be swayed in their beliefs. Thus, the problem isn’t strength of will, but the actions and attitudes of their heart which need to be adjusted.
  6. God Gave Me This Child For a Reason – God didn’t give this child to someone else, He gave them to me. He knows I am just what this little person needs, and they are just what need. Instead of wondering why I am going through this, I need to be asking myself what God is asking of me and how I can be going about accomplishing His work. If I am still here, still parenting, God is not done with me yet. What more could I be doing to help my child?

We need to realize this is not our fight but the Lord’s. We do what we can, then trust God to make a change in the heart of our strong-willed child. He will work in their hearts, minds, and spirits. All we need to do is pray and have faith.

I don’t know as I learned anything new in reading The Strong-Willed Child. But, it was a good reminder and a great read. If you are new to parenting, have just discovered you have a strong-willed child or two, or just need a bit of encouragement, may I suggest you pick up the book. May you be encouraged.

🔔Time to Chime In: Are you blessed with strong-willed children? What has the Lord been teaching you through the adventure of parenting?

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24 thoughts on “Help! I’m Raising a Strong Willed Child

  1. so true….but I don’t know if it’s fortunately or unfortunately but both of mine are. I think my son is more but that could be because of the age…lol. I think I’ve learned to be a lot more patient and calm if nothing else

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks – needed this today. Yep I also have strong willed kids – and I totally agree that you have to be consistent and hold your ground. Even when you don’t see results straight away. It can be tempting to give up and give in. But we have to believe that we will eventually reap a harvest if we do not give up!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My daughter has always been strong willed. I’ve always viewed her as a world changer – even when she was little. When she was 18 she moved to Uganda for a semester and worked with a mission that went into the villages and taught parents how to care for their special needs children. One such child was severely abused and neglected. She found a foster family, raised money to give them, sat at the mayors house of that village and convinced him to allow her to take the child from the first family and move him to the foster family. She moved him on the back of motorcycle. When telling my best friend of many years this story she said, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t beat all the spirit out of her when she was young.” Being strong willed is a blessing – and God has a plan to change the world through the strong willed kids!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Mine are all strong willed but they come by it honestly as so was I. It has been s blessing, peer pressure resistance was the greatest part of that gift for each of them. I chose my battles wisely and really only over treating others well. It was a beautiful lesson on patience for me. My children taught be a lot when I looked at their perspective. Hang in there! It’s all worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You bring up an excellent point. While mothers need to remain strong, the responsibility of training rests upon the father’s shoulders. We need to be praying for our husbands, asking the Lord to give them wisdom in this area and praying they would be actively involved in our children’s lives.

      For those of us who grew up without the benefit of mentors, may we reach out to the next generation, offering to be their friend.

      Excellent thoughts; thank you for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a few very strong willed child. I bought Dr. Lemmens book by the same title several years back. These two are as amazing as they are challenging. And my 21 month old I can tell will be the same! Thank you for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry to make another correction. But the two Dr. Leman (got the spelling wrong too – blogging too early in the am!) books I have are: Have a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind without Losing Yours. On the cover of the latter, there is a picture of a curly haired boy screaming. So I was thinking of both and that kid screaming 🙂 I do have the Dobson book as well. I really like Dr. Leman’s easy, no – nonsense approach to parenting. One of the things he goes over in both is not to lose your cool when your kids do. Being a strong willed person, I find this a challenge!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I certainly have a strong willed child and I wouldn’t change it for the world. My husband has a pretty severe mental illness. Most of the time it’s well under control, but sometimes medications fail. Our son needs that strong will and strong sense of self to not be pulled into his father’s madness. So on those days that my patience is gone, I try to find just a little more, because to squash that spirit would be a travesty in so many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My oldest was very strong willed. I was ok with this when he was young. I figured he would just become a steadfast adult, but as he neared the teenage years I became fearful. Why wasn’t he submissive yet? What if he just got worse in the teenage years? Sadly, my fearfulness led to anger, which of course, made matters much worse. God showed me what was happening and I needed to parent by faith, not sight, and certainly not through fear. So, I let go and just gave calm, consistent discipline. I realized my job was not to make him a good kid. My job was simply to obey God as a parent. How he turned out was God’s business. I could only plant and water. God had to make my child grow. His attitude improved drastically when mine did. He’s now 14 and I can’t believe how much he has matured. If you had told me two years ago how mature he would be now, I wouldn’t have believed it. God is gracious.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, my daughter is strong willed. Had her first tantrum at 11 months old. Hands and feet pounding the floor. Oh my! She is now 10 years old and even though we’ve gone through some challenging times, she’s gotten better and is becoming more mature. Yes! I agree that you must stay firm. You must not give in! EVER!!! It can be very difficult to raise a strong willed child. But I must say that even though I see a big difference in her behaviour over the years, I see the biggest change in myself. She has made me a better mother. With a few more grey hairs, mind you, but still…a better mother nonetheless. Keep you focus on God and He will give you strength to battle with any difficult child out there. Even your own! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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