strong willed child

10 Tips to Survive (and Thrive) While Parenting a Strong Willed Child

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Do you have a strong-willed child? If so, congratulations! You have a child who is highly determined and resilient. These are two of the most important traits for success in life. However, parenting a strong-willed child can be challenging at times. Let’s discuss how to know if you have a strong-willed child, the strengths they bring to the table, and finally, 10 tips for parenting them successfully!

What does a strong willed child look like?

All kids have their moments of frustration or difficulty. But a strong-willed child is different. They tend to be more inflexible, have stronger reactions, and are more persistent in getting their way. You might even feel like you have a child that is too much. Too big, too loud, too bossy!

Here are some common characteristics of strong-willed children:

They Have Strong Opinions

Strong-willed kids have strong opinions and they are not afraid to voice them. Sometimes it can feel as if you are living with a tiny lawyer. Strong willed kids will argue their point, even if they don’t have all the facts.

They are Highly Sensitive

Strong willed children are highly sensitive. They feel things deeply and can be very emotional. This intensity can lead to big tantrums or meltdowns. You might even wonder if it’s normal for your child to be having such angry outbursts. This is common for strong-willed children.

No one is More Determined

They are determined and resilient. Once a strong willed child has set their mind to something, they are unlikely to change it. Which means they are less likely to comply with what you want them to do. But this determination also means they are more likely to achieve their goals in life.

Difficulty Transitioning

Strong willed kids have trouble with transitions. They like routine and don’t do well with change. This can make mornings, bedtimes, and even vacations challenging.

They Want to Know Why

Kids with a strong will have a strong desire to understand why you have certain rules or expectations. They want to know the logic behind your decisions. Be prepared to have some serious discussions about why you don’t want them to eat candy for breakfast!

strong willed child

They Want to Be in Charge

If you’ve ever felt like the roles were reversed and you were the child, not the parent, you might have a strong willed child. They can be very demanding and have a hard time taking turns or sharing.

They are often impatient.

Strong willed children can have a hard time waiting their turn or sitting still for long periods of time.

They Seem Entitled

Strong willed kids can seem entitled or demanding. They might have a hard time understanding why they can’t always have their way. Sometimes it feels like they make their own rules.

Selective Hearing

Because they have a strong sense of self, strong-willed kids can have selective hearing. When they don’t want to do something, they tune you out. It can feel like you are talking to a brick wall.

strong willed child

They Follow Their Own Timeline

They move at their own pace. Strong-willed children often do things on their own timeline. They might not be ready to potty train when you want them to or they might demand to have certain privileges far sooner than you feel they are ready.

Looking at your strong willed child in a different way

While parenting a strong-willed child can be challenging, it is also incredibly rewarding. These children are gifted and talented. They are natural leaders and their determination ensures they will achieve great things in life. So, what are the strengths of a strong willed child?

Read: Are You Raising a Gritty Kid?

Zest for Life

They want to experience and master things. Strong-willed children are usually very curious. They want to touch, taste, and experience everything. This desire to explore the world around them can lead to some challenging behaviors (like putting things in their mouth that they shouldn’t), but it also means they are constantly learning and growing.

High Expectations

They have high standards. Strong willed children expect a lot from themselves and those around them. They can be perfectionists and have a hard time when things don’t go their way. But this also means they are often high achievers.


They are independent thinkers. Strong willed children aren’t afraid to voice their opinions or stand up for what they believe in. They think for themselves and don’t always follow the crowd.

Great Problem Solvers

They are creative problem solvers. Strong willed children often have to find their own way of doing things. This means they are often very creative in their approach to problem solving.

Born Leaders

They are natural leaders. Strong willed children are confident and not afraid to take charge. They are often the ones leading their peers in games and activities.

Strong Sense of Self

They are less likely to fall into peer pressure. This is great news for every parent of a strong willed child. Sure, you might not feel like you can tell them what to do, but neither can anyone else. Their strong sense of self means they are less likely to give in to peer pressure.

Non-Stop Energy

They have a lot of stamina. Strong willed children often have boundless energy. They can be the last ones standing at the end of a long day or event.

Successful and Goal Driven

They are wired for success. Strong willed children are often successful in life. Their determination, confidence, and natural leadership skills put them in a great position to achieve their goals.

They Will Change the World

With their strong sense of self and determination, strong willed children have the potential to change the world. They are the future leaders, innovators, and creative thinkers that will make a difference in the world.

You know the good, bad, and the ugly. But how exactly do you parent a strong-willed child?

Tips for Parenting a Strong Willed Child:

10 tips for parenting a strong-willed child.

Keep them busy

Strong-willed children often have boundless energy. They need to be constantly moving and exploring. If they are bored, they will find trouble. So, it’s important to keep them busy with age-appropriate activities that allow them to burn off some steam. As they become teenagers, give them a lot of opportunities to get out and be involved.

Encourage their independence

Your strong-willed child wants to be independent. Encourage their independence by letting them make some decisions for themselves. Allow them to do things that you might normally do for them. Give them the skills they need to be independent. This might mean helping them learn to cook an egg or do their own hair.

Don’t pick all the battles

There will be a lot of battles with a strong willed child. The good news is that you don’t need to pick all of them! Choose your battles wisely and let some things go. Some things just don’t matter in the long run. Let them have a win whenever possible.

Give lots of choices

Give your strong willed child choices! Instead of asking them to do something, give them a few options to choose from. This will help them feel like they are in control and make it more likely that they will comply with your request.

For example, instead of saying, “It’s time to take a bath,” try saying, “Do you want to take a bath now or in five minutes?” or “Would you rather take a bath or a shower?”

Be affectionate

Sometimes it can feel like you are in a constant battle with your strong willed child. It’s easy to forget that underneath all of those big emotions is just a little kid who needs love and affection. So, make sure to give them plenty of hugs and kisses. Let them know that you love them, no matter what.

Set up limits ahead of time

Without limits, a strong willed child will push above and beyond what you might feel comfortable with. So, it’s important to set up limits ahead of time. This way, they know what is expected of them and they can test the limits without going too far.

Listen to them

Strong willed children often have a lot to say. They are opinionated and like to be heard. So, make sure to listen to them. Hear them out and then explain your point of view. If you can see their perspective, they are more likely to see yours.

Don’t Let them become a scapegoat

With their strong independent streak, it can be easy to let your strong willed child become the scapegoat among family, friends, or even at school. They will have their fair share of mistakes on their own, don’t allow anyone else to make them the target for all that goes wrong. Sure, they can and will fight some of these battles on their own, but they also need you in their corner. If you don’t stick up for them no one will.

Let them save face

Strong willed children often have a lot of pride. They don’t like to be wrong and they don’t like to lose. So, when they make a mistake or lose a battle, let them save face. Let them know that it’s okay to be imperfect. Never yell at them or reprimand them in public.

Keep good routines

Strong willed children need structure and routine in their lives. This helps them feel safe and secure. So, make sure to keep good routines in place. Have a regular bedtime, mealtimes, and activities. This will help your strong willed child feel like they are part of a stable family unit.

Parenting a strong-willed child can be challenging, but it is also rewarding. These children are full of energy and life. They are independent and need to feel in control. They are also opinionated and need to be heard. But most of all, they need love and affection. With these tips, you can learn how to parent your strong-willed child with love and patience.

What are some of your tips for parenting a strong willed child? Share in the comments below!

strong willed child

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