Module 01: Understanding Your Strong Willed Child





Welcome to Understanding Your Strong Willed Child



Strong willed children have a particular personality type that is passionate, spirited, intense, obstinate, rigid, frustrating and amazing. They have the potential to be some of the best leaders in our society with their passion and determination. However, they are challenging to parents when not fully understood.


Strong Willed Children...

  • Lead with intense anger. "NO! You can't make me!"

  • Strongly resist being controlled or told what to do

  • Have BIG reactions, so much so that the entire family tries to avoid upsetting them

  • Have a hard time with change and transitions

  • Are acutely aware of fairness so sibling dynamics can be hard

  • Often get into trouble as they are commonly misunderstood

  • Some are over achievers at school and save anger and inflexibility for at home (confusing)

AND traditional parenting advocates and MOST PARENTS THINK

  • Parents are supposed to be in charge

  • Teach their kids by telling them what to do

  • Hold a line and not let tantrums 'win'

You can see how traditional parenting + strong willed children are set up to fail.




LESSON 1: What works and what doesn't work

What works and what doesn't to parent a strong willed child, the 3 vital things I wished I'd known sooner. (Developed from years of experience parenting a strong willed child as well as asking over 50 strong willed adults what they wished their parents had known.)

STRONG WILLED CHILDREN

1) Are born with a CHALLENGER nature and their deepest FEAR is being controlled by others.

2) Thrive with clear, direct communication and expectations + structure (and they hate them)

3) Everything they do is to meet their needs, nothing is about me.


THE SOLUTION

  • Accept the child you have, not how you wished they were or they are supposed to be (comparison + judgement thought traps)

  • Validate their emotions (doesn't mean you agree)

  • Set clear limits, and speak clear boundaries

  • Expect + create regular emotional release times

  • Empower them by involving them in the plans

  • Get curious about their feelings, needs, body wisdom and what triggers them as a valued member of the team.

OUR WORK as parents is to acknowledge and own our reactive states.

  • Notice our bodies, thoughts and feelings when we are in a reactive state

  • Stop and take a break to process our own raging inner experience before we speak or act or direct it AT our child.

  • Ask, 'What am I feeling? What is my unmet need in this moment?'

  • Understand that our strong willed child's words and behavior is not about us (nothing's personal.) They are trying to express that they have an unmet need and don't know how to say this.

  • Check-in with ourselves to keep our batteries charged by becoming aware of our own thoughts, feelings, body wisdom and values.



LESSON 2: Integration Journal Exercise

Reflect on your child and write about these questions.

  1. What rings true from your experience with your child?

  2. What surprises you the most?

  3. Which of the solutions (below) seem like they would make a difference interacting with your child and change your hard family dynamics?

  • Accept the child you have, not how you wished they were or are suppose to be (comparison + judgement thought traps)

  • Validate their emotions (doesn't mean you agree)

  • Set clear limits ahead of time, when centered, not when your lid is flipped and you want to 'teach them a lesson' or punish.

  • They will test most limits, by reacting & emoting; it's how they learn. They are not being willfully disrespectful nor defiant. Can you be curious about their unmet needs?

  • Empower them by involving them in the plans/problem solving

  • Anchor yourself; facing these emotions is uncomfortable.

  • Expect + create regular emotional release times (for them and you!)

  • Get curious about what triggers you

  • Become aware of your own thoughts, feelings, body wisdom and values.

  • Keep your batteries charged with micro self care!

We've learned that you can't change everything at once or we get too scattered. Which one strategy will you start implementing today?

  • Write it down in your journal now and practice this for the next 3 days.

  • Check in with yourself at the end of each of the 3 days as your practice. How did your child respond when you showed up differently using this new strategy?

  • Note this in your calendar. Also note down 3 days from now as a check in on behavior. Improved? Worse? Unchanged? Anything surprising?

  • Tell your best friend or Mom or Sister about this for friendly accountability.



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