Education Blog

How to Parent a Strong-Willed Child?

September 17, 2021

It will be difficult to find a medical definition of a strong-willed child. Many children go through a defiant stage. For some kids, defiance and disruptive behavior are related to disorders like Oppositional Defiant Disorder or brain differences like Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It doesn’t matter if it’s a phase or a personality trait; disruptive and stubborn behavior can bring down any parent. How can you manage a strong-willed child? Parents should consider how their child’s traits can benefit their future.

Being Strong Willed is a Childhood Strength

The behavior of a child is influenced a lot by his or her parents. The influence of parents on the behavior of a child is less important than that of their personality. Parents can help their child become a determined, loyal adult by focusing on helping them become more productive. It takes self-awareness to be able to recognize their emotions and to develop empathy for others.

“Parents and teachers can simultaneously strengthen a child’s ability to stay strong-willed. They should encourage him or her openly to discuss emotions and develop healthy strategies to deal with when things don’t go their way.” Dr. Leela R.Magavi, M.D. is a Johns Hopkins-trained adult psychiatrist, Regional Medical Director for Community Psychiatry + MindPath Care Centers.

Strong-willed children can help others get through tough times and persevere through the challenges. If combined with teamwork, adaptability to change and tenacity, this tenacity can be a huge asset.

“Parents can help their child feel more independent, confident, and resilient,” Dr. Magavi says. Dr. Magavi says that genetics and temperament can have a significant impact on a child’s emotional ability and ability to be strong-willed and flexible.

How Do You Teach A Strong-Willed Child Flexibility?

Family life is a learning laboratory for flexibility. Even when interactions seem insignificant. Opportunities for compromise abound. Parents can show others how to listen and validate their feelings.

“Families can practice voting for what to eat or watch on TV, so that children understand the importance in prioritizing all opinions and beliefs. Dr. Magavi says that while everyone in the family might vote for pizza, dad may vote for tacos. This is an opportunity to show that even if they disagree, it does not mean they are bad people. These themes are interwoven with equally important lessons, such as the importance of sharing and accepting differences.

There will be many challenges. You will face significant challenges along the way. A strong-willed child can be argumentative and outright defiant. While there will be times when you instinctively want to put out fires, Dr. Magavi says that asserting your authority won’t help.

She says that if parents react with anger or threaten to withhold love, children mold and then respond in the same manner to their environment and primary source for comfort. You can resolve tantrums and egocentric behavior to resolve problems. Parents should remain calm and don’t ignore them.

It is not difficult to do all of this.

How Can Parents of a Strong-Willed Child Manage Their Stress?

You may have to go to timeout if you want to show patience and flexibility to your child. You shouldn’t use it as a punishment but to give yourself time to recover. Find something positive to concentrate on and use tools that will improve your mental health, clear your mind, and lengthen your fuse.

Dr. Magavi suggests to use mindfulness exercises and practices to reduce ruminative thinking. Meditation, breathing exercises and yoga can help relieve stress. Establishing a routine for sleep could improve individuals’ ability to focus and stay productive.

Don’t feel like you have to do it all by yourself. Dr. Magavi says that having a support network and a healthy outlook can help you build a strong foundation.

She says that parents can talk to their friends and family members to help them process their emotions. Parents may find it helpful to join support groups, or speak with a child psychiatrist or pediatrician to help them better understand their parenting issues. Some people find it useful to reach out to a religious or community leader.

You might find humor in your child’s stubbornness by sharing your experiences with others. Children can be funny even when they are irrational. As long as you don’t laugh at your child or in front of him, laughter can be a great remedy.