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February 23, 2015

Hooray For The Strong Willed Child

Hal photo outside Feb2012“Children in a family are like flowers in a bouquet: there’s always one determined to face in an opposite direction from the way the arranger desires.” (Marcelene Cox)

When people tell me that they have a “strong-willed” child, I tell them, “Welcome to the club – and congratulations!” Children with strong wills are nothing to be worried about; in fact, they should be celebrated. We should all be trying to raise children who have strong wills and desires. Don’t you want your 14 year old to have a strong enough will to resist drugs when his friends pressure him? Of course you do. But this doesn’t mean that you should always let your child have his way; that would be abusive. Set boundaries and at the same time, give your child some space to exert his will in appropriate ways so that he maintains that sense of self he naturally has. Celebrate the fact that your son is growing into a person who is confident and strong. If your son wants to wear a hot pink shirt paired with bright red shorts, what’s the harm in letting him? Maybe, just maybe, if you give your kids a little more say in the small things they can control in their lives, they won’t fight you so much on the bigger issues.

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