13 Expert Tips For Parenting Strong-willed Children


Strong willed kids are challenging, but they can also become wonderful, self-motivated and determined adults through conscious and sensitive parenting.

As difficult as they are to manage, its important to nourish our strong-willed child and resist the impulse to break their spirit. Maintaining a healthy parent-child relationship is vital as you work to find a balance between setting limits for your child without limiting his freedom to develop his unique gifts. Children with this temperament and traits such as relentless focus, high energy, courage and persistence have the ability to be future world changers.

How is strong willed different to stubborn or just plain difficult? “It depends on the issues that you’re clashing about. Strong-willed children feel that their integrity is compromised if they’re forced to submit to another person’s will. It’s issue driven and value driven, not a generalised defiance.

Educational psychologists agree that the central issue is control. She says, “Caregivers need to find the root of the obstinacy. It’s sometimes related to anxiety around things that can’t be managed or controlled. It’s normal for children to push boundaries.”


  1. Restrict the limits. Your child can be stressed because of his intense emotions. Let him have a voice in determining the limits.
  2. Look for win-win solutions rather than forcing an issue. This can prevent an explosion, and teach negotiation and compromise.
  3. Avoid power struggles with routines and rules. That way, you’re not being bossy, it’s just that, “The rule is that we don’t eat chocolate after dinner. But we can have a special treat tomorrow.”
  4. Strong-willed kids learn experientially. Allow your child to learn through experience instead of trying to control him .
  5. Let your child take charge as much as possible. Kids who feel independent have less need to be oppositional.
  6. Give choices to empower and encourage cooperation.
  7. Avoid proving you’re right. Your child might have to do what you want, but she’s allowed to have her own opinions and feelings about it.
  8. Listen. Your child has a strong viewpoint and is trying to protect something that seems important. Reflect on what’s making her oppose you.
  9. Discipline through the relationship, not through punishment. Kids don’t learn during a fight. Help your child express hurt, fear or disappointment so that the feelings evaporate.
  10. Offer understanding and respect so that your child won’t need to fight to protect her position.
  11. Non-compliance is not a personal insult. Your child has her own agenda. Focus on cooperation instead of demanding obedience.
  12. Avoid resorting to punishment. It doesn’t teach responsibility, and resentment can cause poor behaviour.
  13. Explain your “No”. Take the time to explain your adult thinking.

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