Stubborn, hardheaded, strong-willed. Determined, tenacious, tough, spunky. All words that I would use to describe Lucas. Words, that can be viewed both as a negative or a positive.
Having a strong-willed child means that Lucas is invariably always on, constantly challenging the state of things, and constantly testing boundaries in all sorts of situations in order to learn about his world and to drive his Mommy and Daddy bat shit crazy. It is exhausting.
I don’t remember checking off that box in the personality trait profile when I put in my order for Lucas. This trait seemingly went unnoticed until it reared its ugly head at age three. The threenager year was not only a year that Lucas waged war with his own emotions and how to handle them, but it was also a year that I think I found my footing and have begun to realize that Walt and I CAN do this. We CAN be GREAT parents.
What is it like raising a strong-willed child?
- Some days I just want to crawl into the fetal position and cry myself back to sleep. Although this probably applies more to Walt since I am usually already at work when Lucas awakes, but there is no warning or warming up period from the onslaught of questions or arguments before heading off to school. As soon as Lucas wakes, he’s already launched into his essay of why he needs to have his milk before he gets dressed or why he needs to take the 50 different hot wheels in the car on the way to school.
- I’ve felt like a bad mommy… a lot. Lucas has the ability to draw out all of my unpleasantness. He knows how to flip on the switch that turns me into mean mommy. A switch I didn’t even know I had. Why can’t he use his listening ears? Why can’t he do what I ask the first time I ask? Why does he fight me so? I feel like I yell waaaay too much. However, it has made me take a step back and take a closer look at myself. Question my approach with him. I’ve learned to include him in the decision making. To make him feel like he has control over his own decisions. It may sound like manipulation, but it’s made our home much more peaceful. Giving him two options, one being an option I know he won’t pick and the other what he needs to do. “Lucas, you can take a bath now and have time to play or you can go to bed now. You choose.”
- Walt and I blame each other for the stubborn gene. It takes teamwork and sometimes when working within a team you realize that both team members are just as stubborn about certain things as the child. So… Mr. Tibbitts… maybe both parents have contributed to the stubborn gene pool?! There is more than one way to load a dishwasher and more than one way to fold socks! And you know what else? In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter how he puts his toys away as long as they are put up before bed?
- Someone once told me that a good spanking would get Lucas in line. To be honest, I’m not really sure how I feel about spanking. I have spanked Lucas before and it was an impulsive reaction, not one I believe was thought out and one that didn’t make me feel good. What I do know, is that Walt and I are the experts in raising our own child. What may have worked for one parent(s) doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for us or mean that it is what we are supposed to do.
- Parenting is HARD work. I envy the parents that seem to have it all together. The mothers that seem to have been born to be mothers. Seem being the operative word here. I get that some parents try to paint a picture that everything is rosy, but I also think that some children are just easier to raise than others. Walt and I do have to put in extra effort to get through to Lucas and extra effort into figuring out the best way to do it. As exhausting as that can be, it’s molding us into great parents.
- Lucas is going to conquer the world. Lucas has the character, conviction and guts to do incredible things. Just try to stand in his way.
Do you have any tips for raising a strong-willed child?