Welcome to Day 3 of the How Do I Teach... Series; I hope you have checked out all the topics and are getting some helpful tips! If you missed my Introduction to How Do I Teach a Strong Willed Child or my post on the Key Ingredient, Respect. Please Check them out! If not read on to learn about what to do when the respect key doesn't work.
Now we know that our relationship with our strong willed child hinges on mutual respect. If you respect them they are much more likely to respect you as a parent. However, even with an appropriate amount of respect there will be times that they defy you. You see strong willed people realize early on, pretty much at birth from what I have seen, that they don't have to do anything except die. No one can make them do anything; they always have a choice!
It is common advice to "choose your battles," but I would say as much as possible, don't battle with strong willed kids. When you battle a strong willed child, no one wins. NO ONE! You see battles mean that you may get what you want, but only at the cost of your child's dignity. And if you do get them to comply it will not be without a huge amount of frustration and that "I'm a terrible parent" feeling afterward.
This doesn't mean you don't have rules. You do need rules. I would try to keep rules as simplistic as possible. Most importantly keep consequences for disobedience very clear. When you ask them (respectfully) to do something, simply get on their level and remind them also what will happen if they don't do it. When a rule is broken don't plead, don't bargain, and don't threaten, as long as the consequence was known ahead of time simply tell your child what they did and proceed with whatever punishment you gave them. They knew what was going to happen, and they are expecting you to follow through on what you said (why should they respect you if you don't). If you prolong it at all they will continue to try you which will only end up with you being frustrated.
This is a HUGE struggle for me. Being a strong willed parent means I still have a huge need for respect, and I expect it from my kids. And I am usually not afraid to go to war with my kids over something small because of it. This ends in frustration all around and a lot of tears and apologies from me.
The actual discipline you choose is very dependent on the child. You have to choose something that is important to your child or you will never get them to cooperate. This can be a problem with a strong willed child as well, since they may not be as motivated by common consequences as other children. I quickly learned this the first time I told my girls I would take away their toys if they didn't clean them up. They didn't clean them up, but as soon as I got out the trash bag they were happy to help throw them in there. Didn't affect them.
I remember when my oldest was 3 and decided she would only wear what she wanted. Generally not a problem except when she insists on wearing church dresses everyday! She would select one of the outfits I offered in the morning, but suddenly she started have accidents all the time. After an accident I would tell her to go change her clothes, and that is when I quickly realized it was so she could change into whatever she wanted! I took away all her dresses until the not so accidental accidents stopped! Surprise, surprise it only took a couple days! They are creative in getting what they want, and you will have to be a bit creative in finding consequences.
Lots of other great topics from lots of other great bloggers! Check them out!
Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ Homeschool Gameschool ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ No Doubt Learning ~ Mrs. Redd’s Classroom Blog ~ Proverbial Homemaker ~ My Joy Filled Life ~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Vicki Arnold ~ Only Passionate Curiosity ~ Living Life and Learning ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ For This Season