If you struggle with raising a strong-willed child check out how using this strategy will bring peace back to your home and reverse the struggles of parenting a strong-willed child. Learn how to reconnect with your head-strong child.
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When You’re Raising a Strong-Willed Child
I expected to hear the words…I hate you, mom…from a teenager. But never from my precious 5-year-old. He wasn’t even in kindergarten yet.
I don’t know if it’s easier to hear it from a 15-year-old. But when I hear the words “I hate you” from my 5-year-old while he slams his door and refuses to come out, it hurts this mama’s heart.
I wish I could say it happened once. But it happened so many times I couldn’t count.
Well-meaning family and friends told me he would “grow out of it.” I would have to wait it out.
But my child didn’t “grow out of it.” He is strong-willed, headstrong, and knows what he wants. And it isn’t a bad thing. Many of our leaders have these same characteristics.
But my family couldn’t live like this either.
I Had to Change
I discovered my child needed more of me. The uninterrupted me. But not all the time. I had to learn a balance between the two.
And the way to give him some of the “exhausted me” turned out to be straightforward.
From the book “If I Have to Tell You One More Time…” by Amy McCready I began to implement what she calls “mind, body, and soul time” with each child. “Mind, body, Soul Time” sounded too corny for me, so I called it “Mom Time” or “Quality Time.”
The idea is simple at its core. Spend 10 minutes twice a day with each child.
Additionally, as a single mom, I didn’t know how to find 20 minutes alone with each child daily. So, I decided on 10 minutes per kid.
How to satisfy your strong-willed child’s needs effectively in 10 minutes a day
It is possible to satisfy your strong-willed child’s needs in 10 minutes a day – if you’re serious about it.
- Each child receives 10 minutes of uninterpreted, undivided attention.
- Other children are not allowed in the room to overhear the conversation, vie for attention, or make funny faces at their siblings.
- Set the timer. A clock gives it an official feel for the kids and leaves them desiring additional time with you the next day. Sometimes they ask for longer. To keep the time precious, it stays at ten minutes.
On the first day of our “Quality Time” I asked my son if he could explain Pokémon to me. He loved it.
The next day, he asked me the night before to wake him up early each morning so we could have our 10 minutes before school started. Having our time together in the morning helps positively set his mood for the day.
After the first week we did this, our arguments stopped immediately. My son soaked up the extra attention. I like to think I gave him this attention before I started an official “Quality Time.” But this set-aside, the one-on-one time has made all the difference.
Why this strategy works for strong-willed children:
- They want YOU.
- The best part about quality time is the kids keep you accountable. They want this time with you and won’t let you forget it.
- The surprising payoff is that they are more agreeable to day-to-day tasks, from getting ready for school in the morning to taking out the trash or even doing their dreaded homework. As anyone who raises a strong-willed child knows, it can be daily tasks that do you in.
- This time makes our children feel special. Wouldn’t you feel special if the person you looked up to the most set aside ten minutes a day with no distractions and concentrated solely on you?
- These ten positive minutes together are faster than what may have been a 2-hour argument over something trivial.
- If I put loving them first and fill this need of theirs consistently, I see they are in return more respectful of my requests.
What About The “Easy” Kid?
My other child gets “Quality Time” too. The same rules apply to both kids.
Often when you’re the parent of a strong-willed child, the other child(ren) gets ignored. I can’t count how many times over those difficult years, yes years, when I felt sorry for my other child because all of my energy went to my youngest.
I’d get so caught up in my youngest’s outbursts it wouldn’t be until after my youngest would calm down I would notice the effect it had on my other child.
The “easy” kids are quiet and in the background. All of your attention focuses on the other child. This one-on-one time gives you a great excuse to force yourself to focus on all of your children.
Ideas for Quality Time
When we first begin “Quality Time”, I ask my children where they want to talk then ask if they have anything to talk about. Usually, they do.
If not, I will keep this time simple. This time lasts 10 minutes. I want to keep the lines of communication open for the whole 10 minutes.
If you want a list of ideas, check out this article – quality time ideas in 10 minutes.
Or print these coupons out from the Single Mom Toolbox. The book contains 36 coupons including a page of blank ones for you to fill out your own. You can hang on to them or give them to your child to turn in as you go. Most coupons are ideas that you and your child can do together in 10 minutes.