A Strong-Willed Child and Listening

Member question:

How can I get my child to listen to me without negatively impacting her strong will, which I believe will serve her well as she gets older?

Rachel’s response:

You’re so right that having a “strong will” can serve her well… She’ll push through obstacles and won’t let challenges stop her. But even so, she will have to learn go use those powers for good!

Here are some tips:

  • Do have lots of age-appropriate ways for her to express her “will.” Here are some ways to do this:
    • Give her roles and jobs
    • Ask her to teach you things
    • Play games where she’s in charge
    • Have 1:1 time with her where she decides (within reason) what you will do
  • Do set a few boundaries that are important to you as a family. In those cases, you will have to make sure you show her that you’re in charge and you’re the parent. This may mean letting her travel the Yuck Curve frequently as she realizes she can’t get her way.
    When she is in Yuck because she’s not getting her way, try not to go into Yuck yourself. Instead, help her see that she can handle the feelings that arise when, sometimes, things simply can’t go the way she wants them to.