Wheaton Montessori News

Parenting a Strong-Willed Child: Power Struggles
Categories: General Knowledge Fund

Article Recommendation: Parenting a Strong-Willed Child

Ms. Lingo recently read this article by Dr. Laura Markham on parenting a strong-willed child; there are several portions that she remembers coming up during CommuniTEAS and conferences.    The entire article is worth a read, especially if you find yourself in the lucky position of being a parent to a strong-willed (read: somewhat stubborn) child!

 

From Mrs. Mayhugh: I often find myself thinking, “I’m the ADULT!  My 4-year-old is NOT going to dictate what’s happening here.”  Many times, if I just stopped thinking about being “in charge” and looked for a different solution, we’d all be much happier – and more able to move on from whatever battle we’re waging.  On those rare days when I’m really on my “parenting game” and am able to offer choices during a “power struggle,” we get along well.  We still struggle and have issues, but that’s life within a community of people with free-will.

 

When Ms. Lingo forwarded Dr. Markham’s article to me, this quote stuck out, and stuck with me: “…Remind yourself that winning a battle with your child always sets you up to lose what’s most important: the relationship.”

 

From Dr. Markham’s blog on parenting a strong-willed child:

“Don’t push him into opposing you.

Force always creates “push-back” — with humans of all ages. If you take a hard and fast position, you can easily push your child into defying you, just to prove a point. You’ll know when it’s a power struggle and you’re invested in winning. Just stop, take a breath, and remind yourself that winning a battle with your child always sets you up to lose what’s most important: the relationship. When in doubt say:

“Ok, you can decide this for yourself.”

 

If he can’t, then say what part of it he can decide, or find another way for him to meet his need for autonomy without compromising his health or safety.”

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