Strong willed children are great one to one in no stress times...they have the attention and the control. But see them in the morning routine, yelling, having a tantrum, not wanting to wear something or trying to fix their hair! Look out! Only a parent who has a strong willed child can relate to this scenario. If you relate to this, here are some tips for you...
1. When your child is already upset, telling them what to do will only increase this emotion. They WILL fight you! What and take to them later.
2. Kids want to be heard and understood so if you let them know that you hear and understand (not give in) this will decrease the emotional temperature or outburst. This is called Active Listening. You repeat back what you hear them saying in your own words while adding a feeling to help them feel that you "get it".
3. They are very bright and can out smart you. They generally have an answer and know how to put you in your place. Use this to your advantage. Ask them what they can do about their problem. Again, this gives them control and empowers them to solve their problem.
4. Allow them to help with the routine. If they help, they'll be more likely to follow through...it's their idea.
5. This type of personality has many emotions and they struggle with what to do with them. Together brainstorm ideas of how to express their feelings. Give some suggestions like: scream in a pillow, punch a pillow or get a punching bag, draw pictures, and older children can journal or use an app like "Mood Log" which will help identify a feeling and help track feelings. It's a great tool!
6. And lastly, important reminder...when you get upset, it increases their upset. Staying calm in the moment and discussing it after, is your best bet...in the No Problem area.
These ideas come from P.E.T. by Dr. Thomas Gordon. There are classes offered all over the world. Find a class by you at http://www.gordontraining.com/parent-programs/p-e-t-workshops-for-parents/#
I'll be starting a support group for parents of strong willed children. If you're interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org