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How to Raise a Strong-Willed Child (& Signs You Have One)

how to raise a strong-willed child
Bringing up children isn’t always cheerful. Kids can throw temper tantrums, and be unsatisfied with your views on their daily schedule. Plus, there`s nothing more unpredictable than their mood. The parents of such kids perceive calm children as a blessing. Yet, is parenting a strong-willed child so unbearable? I don’t think so, as well as many parents of such restless little ones.

Everything You Need to Know About Raising a Strong-Willed Child

Most parents claim that if hours of persuasion don’t work with their children, they must be strict and punish kids if needed. Does it change things for the better? In most cases no. So, how to handle a child’s behavior and not offend his feelings. Today we`ll talk about it.

How to Define a Strong-Willed Child?

Another word for strong-willed is stubborn or difficult. Every child has his own temper. If some kids reveal to their moms and dads how beautiful parenthood is, strong-willed kids, in turn, show its other side. Well, it’s sarcasm indeed, but such kids need much patience and a targeted approach. 
They know what they want and don’t consider it necessary to ask the parents first. A strong-willed child may exhaust you by trying to fulfill his wish. If he fails, he may cry and blame the whole world. Interestingly, it’s not a negative trait. They just need a more flexible and insightful approach. In general, strong-willed kids are:

  • challenging;
  • born to be leaders;
  • prone to ask many questions;
  • don’t accept any instructions;
  • tend to break the rules.

According to a child psychologist, kids who tend to be a boss may experience difficulties outside their family because not everyone is ready to tolerate their demands. 

How Do You Deal with a Strong-Willed Child?

Fierce, angry kids drive almost all parents crazy. Here are the most common patterns of strong-willed behavior and possible solutions. 

  • Intense Outbursts. Kids tend to express anger and can’t calm down for a long time. That means that they cannot tolerate frustration and want everyone to know how the situation hurts their feelings. Don`t minimize it. Let him know that you understand his feelings. It`ll reduce the tantrum. 
  • Require Explanations. When a parent rejects a desire, a strong-willed kid asks for arguments. It means that you cannot get off just with “Because I say so”. You must be ready to answer his “Why not?”. Give the kid a logical sequence of events that may occur if he continues to behave his way. For example, we cannot go outdoors now because the rain is too heavy. You may catch a cold. If you catch a cold you may have to stay home for a long time, and there`ll be no possibility of going outdoors. The more detailed your response, the less resistance you face. 
  • They hate waiting. Standing in a queue or waiting in a traffic jam with a strong-will kid is real torture. At least many parents think so. Make children ready beforehand by telling them about it “Have you already decided what you`ll be busy with in a traffic jam?”. Give him several ideas, such as reading a book or painting sketches.
  • Try to control everything. The easiest way to define a  strong-willed kid is to see if he likes to be a boss. Is your life fully controlled by your child? Does he issue instructions such as when and where to go, what to eat, and where to sit? If so, you have a leader in your family. To prevent him from bossing, ask him to repeat his request but in a more polite manner. It also develops his communication skills
  • Make His Own Policies. You should have negotiation skills to raise a strong-willed child. Though he`ll always impose his own rules, try to find a win-win option if possible. In some cases, you may step back. For example, if your kid doesn’t want to use an umbrella, let him get wet in the rain. Maybe next time he`ll take it. By the way, even if parenting a strong-willed child is difficult, in adolescence no one will be able to change your kid’s mind. At least at Michigan State University one thinks so. That’s especially good if his system of values doesn’t tolerate such things as alcohol or cigarettes.
  • Ignore. A strong-willed child may tempt not to hear you. You should be clear and warn him that there`ll be consequences. For example, you may leave your little one without privilege. But before punishing him, make him aware of it. If he is still ignoring you, take action. 

how to raise a strong-willed child

What Do Strong-Willed Children Grow Up to Be? 

Since raising a strong-willed child is a challenge, the reward must be great as well. As long as you set limits within which your kid grows up and develops, he’ll learn basic behavioral rules, and remain self-confident. Thus, your daughter or son will be confident and independent. Such kids are likely to become leaders. They don’t need an appreciation of other people and their guidance. They like to explore the world and set the most unimaginable goals. 

  1. In order to know your kid’s goals better, help them make a vision board.

A strong-willed child isn’t afraid of criticism or disapproval. These kids are trailblazers who lead other less confident peers. One research examined kids` characteristics in terms of their influence on the future. It turned out that disobedient boys and girls are more business-oriented. They work more paid jobs than those who were docile and soft in childhood.
However, there’s another side of the coin. Parents who don’t pay much attention to strong-willed nature or, worse, try to suppress it are at risk of bringing up future criminals or just angry unhappy people. Subsequently, it’s crucial to direct a strong-willed child. Let him know that independence and self-sufficiency are Ok but he should respect universally accepted rules. Just in case, you homeschool your child, you should be extremely patient and persistent. Unless you have both qualities, you may fail. Thus, try to accept your child’s temper, and it`ll be much easier.


Parenting a strong-willed child is an advanced level of parenthood, but you do can manage it. Your little one isn’t a hard one. Only the lack of proper knowledge and experience can make it so uptight. It’s your chance to get to know what real parenting is, go for it. 

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