All children have minds of their own, hate to listen on occasion, and sometimes set out to make sure your life is as hard as possible. But there are others who take it a step further. If the phrase "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" isn't a far cry from the mantra that keeps you sane on a day to day basis, you may identify with these signs you're raising a strong willed child.
Lovingly referred to as "spirited," strong willed children actually have a lot going for them, despite the difficulties you face in parenting them. In fact, according to an article from The Washington Post, strong-willed child grow up to be self-motivated, great leaders, and are more "impervious to peer pressure." In fact, a recent study noted that children with these kind of behaviors often go on to achieve more than their more compliant peers.
In the moment though, when they're under your control, raising a strong willed child can seem like an impossible task. "No" is probably one of the most common words in the vocabulary, and even a simple task like picking up their toys must be done on their timeline or not at all.
Although you're the parent, and there is admittedly a huge difference between a child who simply is badly behaved and one who is strong willed, if these signs ring true, you're probably dealing with a spirited kiddo.
1. They're Bossy
Often before they can speak in full sentences, strong willed children are intent on bossing everyone (including you) around. They have no problem telling adults what to do, according to Very Well. Although this can be seen as a positive trait later in life, it can be hard to handle as a parent.
2. They Want To Be Right All The Time
The Washington Post article quoted above also notes that your strong willed child likely won't rest until they've had their way. Although this can make parenting and laying down the law a huge challenge, there are plenty of tips to help with the struggle.
3. They Love To Argue
If your child is particularly argument prone, the University of Alabama's Parenting Assistance Line suggests "less talk, more action." Short and sweet instructions and not following along with the argument will help them recognize that you're serious.
4. They're Impatient
Waiting for things isn't really an option for most strong willed kids, explains an article on Very Well's website. They don't want to waste any time "waiting on someone else".
5. They Need To Learn Things For Themselves
According to Popsugar, strong willed kids are hands-on learners. The need to see if things work the way you say they do for themselves, simply telling them won't work. But this will actually build trust between the two of you, so consider it a good thing.
6. They Advance Quickly
You might find that your kid hits milestones quickly, or maybe even skips them altogether. They simply don't have time to do things at a "normal" pace.
7. Discipline Doesn't Work
Positive Discipline explains that strong willed children often won't respond well to discipline. Things like time-outs, or raising your voice will only backfire and increase the power struggle.
8. They Have A Strong Sense Of Right And Wrong
According to an article in Time, strong willed children are "more willing to do what's right, rather than what their friends are doing." It's a matter of influencing them in that direction, she says.
9. They Test Your Limits
While all children certainly love to push boundaries and test their parents patience, strong willed children will take it to a new level, as noted on AhaParenting. Though this is difficult, it is not impossible to manage.