Surviving the Strong-Willed Child

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No two children are alike. I have five distinctly creative and individual children. One of our five has flipped me off my feet with my parenting skills. You see, I thought I had skills. We've worked our system and seen desired results with our other children. The results that we sought; our children's hearts. But not each child will willingly hand their heart right over. This child, my only girl and for further analysis, also my middle child, has made me work.

girls jumping by forhisglory, on Pix-O-Sphere

Our daughter quickly earned the nick-name “Thunder Hoof.” She controlled every situation and dynamic that she could insert her tiny finger into. I was drastically thrown off of my parenting high horse and into the world of grabbing for a life line.

Jesus, help me.

That being said, our daughter is intensely creative, funny and vivacious. She keeps us in stitches with her antics. I love her so much. In the past 6-months we've had great progress. As we both are growing in the Lord we are enjoying one another more.  She's able to verbally express areas that make her feel frustrated. We talk about situations and ways to handle those situations differently. And we talk a whole lot about Jesus and what He expects out of us both.  We're both a work in progress, but I'm thankful for this journey.

I'm still in the thick of this. So this is not a post that will give you all the answers as to how I tamed an intense creation. Here are my life notes so far.

  • I've had to trust God. On the very hard-challenging-why-do-you-act-this-way-days, I've had to trust Him. Lots.
  • I have worked for her heart. The Lord showed me that I didn't have my daughters heart, and that was our big problem. He has shown me ways to reach her heart that I have had to cultivate. Simple things like cooking, coloring, and reading together. No longer do I look at these as day-to-day activities. I set my mind “on purpose” to reach her through her interest and our time together.
  • It's not all about her. Oh no, God knew I needed her, and she needed me. I've worked for every smile and tender moment. The Lord has shown me several yucky areas of my own heart; pride, impatience, and selfishness to name a few.
  • There is a purpose, His purpose. My daughter's personality is so intense and fiery at times because she will need to be a strong woman for Jesus in this world. I cannot imagine the world in which she will be a wife and a mother. She will need every drop of determination and spunk to shine her light for him.

And that is all I have for you at this point of our journey. I'm endeavoring to enjoy and delight my strong-willed child.  Although honestly, I still have days in which I'm just nearly surviving.  Parenting is a fulfilling and self-sacrificing job as it is, and throw a strong-willed child into it, you'll find yourself clinging to the cross. Which is where I need to be anyway.

During this process of parenting a strong-willed child, there are three books that have helped me greatly.

Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp

The Strong-Willed Child by James Dobson

Dare to Discipline by James Dobson

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