Embracing my strong-willed child

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We’ve hit tough terrain over here.

I’m not talking about terrible-twos, because we’ve been in that for 10 months and…well, it isn’t pleasant, but we’ve learned how to deal with that.

This post is about a few different things.

It’s about how we are embracing the strong-willed side of our child, and how we are embracing our child.

I’ve been finding it difficult lately to write, because I’ve been so focused on “how can I raise this child to the best of my ability” and “oh my word, I’m losing my mind” and I’m getting lost in between.

So here I am. With a 28 month old who rules the roost, which blows my mind because I told myself I’d never let my child rule over me. Well…

Kids are stinking clever, let me tell you! Actually, you probably don’t need me to tell you…you already know if you’re reading this!

Z is very strong willed. He’s…highly spirited.

Here are some examples:

He has been poop-trained on the potty since about 9 months old, yet he refuses to go pee on the potty. He’d rather sit in a massive pee-filled diaper than go pee on the potty. If he’s in a good mood, and really wants a skittle…he will go, but those moments are rare.

He will not give up his “gaffee” (pacifier). He only gets it at nap time and bed time, but we attempted to take it away (by trading him for a hershey’s kiss, which he agreed on) and he screamed uncontrollably (and unconsolably) in his bed for an hour until we gave him his gaffee so he wouldn’t wake up his sister.

Speaking of his sister…it took him 9 months to show her real, true affection (that wasn’t bribed for a photo) and it’s been a long bumpy road of his “life practically ending” because we asked him to apologize to his sister for hitting her or taking the toy away from her.

His strong will gets him in trouble a lot, and he says “no” a lot which results in spankings (and as you’ve probably read a few posts ago, we discipline biblically.) Yet he doesn’t seem phased. Sometimes he even laughs after getting one (and mama cries).

He has learned to talk back…and man, does it frazzle me. And he’s only TWO! I was in the basement the other day asking him to come upstairs for dinner and he kept saying “no no no”…so I said “Z, I’m going upstairs” and shockingly enough, he responded with “I’m not.” I picked my jaw up off the floor and ran upstairs to tell my husband what just went down.

He likes things a certain way, and if they aren’t e.x.a.c.t.l.y. the way he likes them, he loses his mind. Ate yogurt on that one chair that one time and he HAS to eat yogurt on that same chair every single time.

On one hand…this kid likes patterns and routines, which is awesome, he thrives on them, but on the other hand, he loses his marbles if it’s not exactly how he wants it.

If that’s not strong-willed, I don’t know what is.

He may or may not get that from me…but as an adult, I’ve learned to roll with life, and I know that things don’t always go my way and I have to be okay with that. As a kid, his frontal lobe isn’t developed enough yet to rationalize what’s going on around him, which results in total-freak-outs, which then usually results in mama-tears and then we are all just big useless blobs on the floor.

Anybody else with me here? I’m begging someone to throw me a life-preserver and pull me in so I don’t drown here.

I know this is just a season, and I know he will grow up and things will change, and I know I’m using dramatic analogies here…but HELP!

At Charlie’s doctor appointment today, I brought up the above situations about Z to the nurse, who told me her son did the same thing with potty training and the pacifier. And reading a couple books really helped her…so I’m going to pass along these books to y’all, even though I haven’t read them yet.

Strong-Willed Child” by James Dobson (I ordered this book)

1-2-3 Magic” by Thomas Phelan

And if you’ve ordered these books, here are some things to do while you’re waiting. (Things we’ve found that help us so far.)

Embrace your child, as he is. Even with his strong-willed mindset and temper tantrums. Show him you love HIM, and that you will love him no matter how he acts or what he does.

If the reward system works for you, do it. If your child will go pee on the potty for a skittle, do it! If he will give up his pacifier for a piece of candy and ACTUALLY give it up, do it!

Just stay consistent, stick with what you say and follow through, and don’t give in…because usually all this is harder on you than it is on them, and you’re being strong to benefit them as they grow up.

Don’t forget to embrace them, too. Give them hugs, kisses…tell them you love them.

And most importantly…don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s where I’ve been, and I’m here to say that no matter what, you’re an amazing mom, or dad, and you’re doing a GREAT job. Please don’t punish yourself for having a highly spirited child. God is there with you, hold fast to Him and stay strong. Ask Him for help, ask Him for guidance and patience, and pray over your child when something is going on (literally lay your hands on his/her head and pray out loud, begging God to take away whatever is going wrong in your child’s mind/body/spirit.) Ask God to show you how to be the best parent you can be, and that He would give you the strength to parent effectively, after all, you’re raising future moms and dads and you want them to be effective, as well, so start with you. AND…allow this journey to grow YOU.

If you’re going through any of this, please reach out to me. I’m on a constant journey of learning from other parents…hearing book recommendations on this subject, and hearing what worked and didn’t work for you.

I know every child is different, so is every parent…but we can all learn from one another without giving unsolicited or unwanted advice.

And I’m sure I’ll be blogging about this again soon, after I’ve read Dr. James Dobson’s book, so I hope you’ll stay with me and walk this journey with us.

***I linked amazon links, but this is in no way sponsored by amazon, or any author and/or publisher. And I have not read these books, but I have ordered them. They are strictly a recommendation from someone else, that I’m passing along to you.
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