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How to Deal With a Strong-willed Child

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


A strong-willed child is a child who doesn’t mind his parents. He may also be described as stubborn or willful, and will strongly reject overt attempts to control his behavior. Children tend to become strong-willed in phases, during the “terrible twos” and the teenage years. According to a recent article, the skills required for dealing with these two very different ages of children are basically the same.

How can you handle a strong-willed child?
– Be consistent. Don’t let the child wear you down until he gets what he wants. This just reinforces nagging behavior.
– Show them you mean what you say. Bending the rules or not following through on punishments only teaches children that sometimes they can get away with bad behavior if mommy and daddy are tired or distracted.
– Do not get dragged into a fight with your child. You are the adult and you need to bring the level of the discussion up to your level. Take a break and walk away from the conversation if you need to.
– Be sure that all of the child’s caregivers and the rest of the family are aware of the plan and willing to stick to it. The plan will be much more successful if the child is subject to the same rules wherever he may be.

Parents can console themselves with the knowledge that strong-willed children generally grow up to be motivated, successful adults with high self-esteem. When they are being strong-willed they are just demonstrating that they need someone to show them the discipline to control their behavior. Read the full article with links to more tips at Parenting the Strong-Willed Child and Keeping the Upper Hand.

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