Strong Willed children have great qualities and make great leaders. That’s what someone shared with me about my 2 children. I wasn’t convinced that all the struggle and stress was worth the fostering of this quality. It was doing my head in. I needed some powerful strategies to work with these gifted strong -willed children. I needed to be better equipped as a parent to facilitate the challenges, opposition and also foster the strength in my kids.
I was listening to a Brene Brown CD, and was reminded that it’s a kid’s job to protest about everything:
- personal responsibilities- before and after school,
- chores and contributions,
- Screen time,
- limits and boundaries,
- especially when we hold them accountable for their misbehaviour and poor choices.
I have come to realise more and more that when kids protest they are asking: Are you loving and powerful enough to stay strong and not argue with me? Are you strong enough to parent me? Will you be strong and loving to set the limit and hold me accountable as I am not strong to do it myself?
In the tantrums, meltdowns, arguing, protesting, begging, and back talk, kids want to know will you be loving and powerful?
For some, “powerful” might conjure up a negative connotation. A healthy parent doesn’t want to argue but wants to hold the limits or consequences in place. A powerful parent, learns the art of not thinking too hard and goes “brain dead” and then neutralises an argument with one line and refuses to engage with the protest or opposition.
In the journey of developing this skill, I have discovered that I have become more loving and powerful in a healthy way, which in turn, has deepened and strengthened our connection.
The benefit this approach has had on my 2 children is that they are now flourishing at school, socially, more resilient in trying new things and navigating through challenging circumstances, and willing to take more risks in sports, academically, and with new opportunities.
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