Note: For simplicity’s sake, the pronoun “he” is used for each singular use of “child.”
Ahhh, the adventures of raising a strong-willed child. One minute, you grow weary from the struggle; the next, you look into those determined young eyes and can’t imagine what life would be like without them. Many-the-child-rearing-expert has espoused the benefits of not merely “stopping bad behavior” but reaching for “a change of heart.” WAY easier said than done when it comes to parenting a rebel, right? Fear not! I’ve got your back! A few keywords and phrases may become your go-to aids as you seek ways to help your strong-willed child reach his full potential in life.
First, the following adjectives can typically be used in describing a child with a rebellious nature:
Though it may not seem like it when you are “in the trenches”, such children often have what it takes to become:
and YES, even
*wonderful parents and teachers!
Next, remember these five keywords and ideas as you attempt to nurture, discipline and love your child into adulthood:
1) SINCERITY By nature, children are astute, perceptive, innocent, honest, adaptable, and willing! They can spot a hypocrite a mile away! For strong-willed children, especially, we must “walk the walk” not just “talk the talk”. In short, we must first BE that which we expect our child to be. Be genuine. Be honest. Be real.
2) CLARITY “Do what I mean, not what I say!” Wait. What? I actually knew a woman who used to that say to her kids. We can not fault a child for not following directions that have not been given in a clear, concise manner. A child is less likely to rebel when he knows what is expected and understands why.
3) CONSISTENCY Lack of follow-through does not help a child-it hinders him. He comes to see adults as “all talk/no action”. Don’t give empty threats. Think before you speak, provide clear consequences for misbehavior and follow through on what you’ve said.
4) THOROUGHNESS It’s important to consider your child as a whole person, taking into account his body, mind, and soul. Discipleship and discipline must always address the whole child if a parent wants to tend to the heart.
5) FOUNDATIONAL A child who is taught to properly develop his conscience is less likely to fall into rebellion.
Sometimes a rebellious child will “buck your system” even when he knows what is right. A strong-willed child is often focused on “self”. He wants to be in control. You must show a stronger will than your child. (i.e. KEYWORDS) Encourage your child’s creativity and determination by putting him “in charge” of something. This helps him feel needed and appreciated. Mostly, remember: your child is a child! Heed the saying, “Don’t be so concerned about raising a good kid that you forget you’ve already got one.”
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.