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Mommy and the Joyful Three 05/02/18

Raising a Child Who Has the Will of a Lion

stubborn daughter

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

There is a difference between faith and force. The largest difference is shown when you are raising a strong-willed child.

I have some insight into the mind of a strong-willed child being that I was one myself. I'm also raising three kids, who display many of the same traits that I did when I was young.

Strong wills aren't a bad thing. Actually, it can be a beautiful thing when guided correctly. These types of children are usually the ones who are determined to succeed no matter what. They don't give up easily. These kids are oftentimes the ones whose voices rise up against adversity. However, at times, they can self-destruct as well.

"Free spirited", "rebellious", and "problematic". These are all words you may find associated with a child who was born with the will of a lion.

So, what if I told you that there is a way to show a strong-willed child how to direct that energy in a positive way?

As parents who love Jesus and want our children to give their lives for Him, we sometimes can become a tad bit panicky when we have a child who does not fit what we had in mind. I understand that strong-willed children question authority. They do not learn the way that other children are taught and they want to experience life and to come to their own conclusions. This is actually not as bad of a trait as you might, at first, assume.

Here are a few ways to appreciate a strong-willed child and show them the right way to channel his/her personality:

1. Love them for who they are.

Sadly, these types of children can be greatly damaged if you do not allow them to express themselves in ways that are not harmful. Allow them to be passionate about their passions. God did indeed make them the way they are. Even if you do not comprehend why your child may do things "backwards", love them for their uniqueness.

2. Teach them by showing them.

I learned more by the actions of others than I ever did by their words. Show them that your faith guides you. Let them see you putting God first and make it as clear as you can that it is your Savior who counsels you. Trust me, even if you feel they are not listening, they are watching.

3. Pick your battles.

Yes, they must listen to you and you are there to be the one to show them the way. But, allowing them to have some freedoms actually ensures that they will not try to take too many in the wrong way.

When a strong-willed child feels that they have no control over any of their choices, they feel very closed in and it makes them want to fight everything. Again, take it from a girl who knows.

Change the words you use towards them. Even if you feel your child is not listening, trust me when I tell you that the words you use such as "problematic" can be harmful to their emotional well-being. Remember these children were born this way. Start to tell them that their will is beautiful, again when it is used correctly.

Most important pray for them. When you feel you are at your wits end, go to God and ask him for direction in how to parent them.

Do you have a strong-willed child? What is your advice for other parents who are raising a child who seems to be marching to the beat of his/her own drum?

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