Lots of people maybe in a hurry to give advice or to judge. Especially on matters that they might not actually know much about, such as how someone else is parenting a strong-willed child. Imagine this (or relive the memory if the case may be).
A mom walking through a grocery store with a four year old clutched to her ankle. He’s screaming at the top of his lungs, while his feet are wildly kicking behind her. He’s throwing the tantrum of all tantrums, because she told him he couldn’t have a king sized candy bar. The woman moves along with her head held high, dragging the child with every step of that foot, and continues shopping despite his fit. Sound Familiar?
This mother gets all kinds of looks and comments from passers-by. Some are thinking, give that kid the dang chocolate, or maybe he looks pretty old to still be acting like that. Others are thinking, that woman needs to learn how to discipline her child. Some may go as far as to ask the mom, “Have you tried… blah… blah… blah?” Then there are the fellow parents who understand all too well. Without passing an ounce of judgement they refrain the urge to throw the salute in the mom’s direction.
No matter what the passers- by maybe thinking or even saying, the truth of the matter is this: That mother knows her child better than they do. For all they know that precious little one has a disability of sorts. What they also may not know is that this particular mother has indeed tried all of the above. When she’s given into his fits, he’s found something else he wants just as badly within minutes, and the fits only get bigger every time. Or perhaps she’s tried all the discipline she can muster and it only makes his tantrum worse… and louder for that matter. It’s also argued that giving a mother advice on how to parent when you don’t know her from Adam, doesn’t always go over very smoothly. It may be very unwelcome and unnecessary (unless asked for, of course).
What it all boils down to is this: That particular mother knows her child better than every passer-by! Hence the fact that she was holding her head high and doing what she needed to in the store. Her goal was to get in, get out, and get it over, despite her tantrum throwing child. And, especially despite the ever wandering eyes of her fellow shoppers.
If this story rings true, if you are in fact a parent to a strong-willed child, such as the sweet little boy in this example– then hold your head high as well, because no one knows your child better than you do! Don’t let the judgement or the sometimes unwelcome advice of others get under your skin. Here are some reasons we should love and appreciate those strong willed little spitfire children of ours.
Strong willed children will someday be strong willed adults:
Who doesn’t want that for their children? There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a hard head as long as it channelled into something great. Guide your children, and teach them to use that strong will of theirs rather than condoning it.
Someday you’ll miss those toddler tantrums:
For some this statement may be hard to take in at first, but it can be argued that it’s all too true. In hindsight parents may likely trade almost anything for a day when their child was so little, tantrums and all! I look at crying pictures of years ago of my little ones, and I just want to scoop their little faces in the palms of my hands and kiss those tears.
The mama or papa bear in you is strong:
It can be said that defending our children builds character and strengthens the parent-child bond. What better bond is there than the fact that you do, know your child much better than any of the possible judgemental passers around you?
This reason pretty much speaks for itself. For those of us who have strong willed kids know exactly what I mean. We’ll never forget the time our child threw up for what he wanted in the middle of a theme park. We’ll laugh for years about the time our child escaped our grasp in order to climb the pulpit in church, just so she could yell at the congregation how badly she hates sitting still and staying quiet. And we’ll definitely always reminisce about the time he locked us out of the house and ate and entire box of ice cream cones, while staring at us out the window. Just so that we could watch every single lick of the forbidden treat.
Strong willed children are humbling and improves a parent’s patience:
With time and with learning each of our children’s quirks, comes understanding and love. The real deep kind of love is nothing if not humbling. Feeling that unconditional loving touch of a child, can change a person for the better in a heartbeat. Hard head or not, we see beneath the possibly trickster and/or screaming surface. Love also brings patience.
Appreciate the mellow days:
With strong willed children, some days can be worse than others. Parenting isn’t always an easy task. When we’re used to being on our toes practically non-stop, and then one day our child is all compliance and friendly smiles… The appreciation a parent can have for such a day is fulfilling to say the least. When the child agrees to put a toy back on the shelf, we want to embrace them and shower them with kisses. When the child cleans up their blocks without a fight, it’s spirit lifting. When the child will lie down in their own bed and stay there at night, the gratitude can be overwhelming.
It’s the hard that makes it great!
For more reading on children and their quirks ! See six steps to improve your child’s speech, and child attachment styles and parents influence on their child.