Hello, Conscious Parent! Welcome to “Dear Katherine,” a Q&A with real-life parents/caregivers. If you’d like to submit a question of your own, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a mother to a lovely, zany, strong-willed 8-year-old girl. I love her to smithereens, but sometimes it feels like we’re in a constant power struggle. Last weekend she wanted to wear a bathing suit to church. Today, she refused to wear a coat—in the middle of winter! I value her firm sense of self and the vitality of her character, but I don’t want to be caught in a cycle of push and pull. What do I do?
The Struggle is Real
Dear The Struggle is Real,
First, I want to congratulate you on raising such an amazing little girl! A strong-willed child isn’t a “bad” child, but a unique person with special gifts and talents. Their innate sense of self-direction and motivation positions them to become amazing leaders. They’re often vibrant and passionate free-thinkers who aren’t easily deterred by outside pressures.
I, too, have a strong-willed child. My daughter Pia had (and shared!) opinions very early on and I had to learn how to effectively communicate with her and meet her needs.
The Struggle is Real, you wrote that you value your daughter’s vitality and sense of self. That’s wonderful! As parents, it’s our responsibility to encourage a strong will, not break it. You can empower your child’s identity and still keep the peace.
Here are 6 tips for transforming power struggles into parent-child collaborations:
The Struggle is Real, when your strong-willed child is “acting up,” that’s when she needs you the most. Let her know that power struggles are unnecessary because you’ve got her back and have her best interests at heart. When it’s clear to her that you value her identity just as much as she does, your strong-willed girl will become your best ally. 😉
Love and Blessings,
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A 3xTEDx speaker, media contributor, parenting coach, and a mom of two - helping families thrive by using the Guidance Approach to Parenting.