Strong-willed children grow into strong-willed adults who can either create beauty and lead others to greatness or let their strong spirit hurt and squash those around them. The beginning of the road to greatness or ruin lies with the choices the parents make in teaching the child how to use that strong will.
My parents had to stand up to me many times because I’m one of those strong-willed people. I’ve gotten a taste of what they went through during my years as a teacher, especially a year and a half ago. I had one especially strong-willed student who was leading the whole class toward being rebellious. With God’s help and courage, I took him on, and he eventually left the school. I couldn’t change that student, but I could let him receive the consequences for his behavior.
The New Strong-Willed Child
Receiving appropriate consequences for behavior is how strong-willed children learn, according to Dr. James Dobson in The New Strong-Willed Child. From my personal experience (I hadn’t learned how to submit well to female authority (I was fine with male, but always wanted to buck females) until I got fired a few years back, so I had to learn the hard way) and from teaching tough, inner-city students, I see that it takes persistence and a ferocious will to keep standing up to a child who just wants what he or she wants and always is pushing for that.
Reading The New Strong-Willed Child gave me so much encouragement about how I handled my classroom: I stood up to those children because they wanted to see if I would let them get away with disrespect, cheating, and laziness. Dr. Dobson tells many stories of children who want to see if they can get around what their parents were asking them to do, and I was surprised by how much ENCOURAGMENT came through the book.
Dr. Dobson draws from being a classroom teacher, a child psychologist, and a parent of a strong-willed child himself to share solutions and advice mixed with much care. He does not want to see parents bewildered by their children, and he knows that parents CAN parent strong-willed children well.
A strong-willed child makes the parents (or teacher) look bad by not being able to control the child. If the parent had a compliant child, the parents would look normal and like great parents. The strong-willed child gives parents a test of their leadership, their authority, and has so much energy to keep on doing it. These children like to take on the authority figure to see if they can break the adult and get what they want. Dr. Dobson encourages parents to just keep on standing up to these children, molding them, teaching them to listen to authority. It takes so much energy to stand up to a little one who is pushing the limits every day, but the child will learn if the parent is consistent.
Reading The New Strong-Willed Childmade me thankful that I held strong when teaching and that my parents held strong with me. It is exhausting, but worth it—the children learn that they must listen to you. And strong-willed children become amazing strong-willed adults who change the world.
This book is worth reading. Check it out: 🙂
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