Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Strong Willed Child
I spent the last week pulling out all the books that I have on the subject again and trying to see if there is anything that I missed. I found such encouragement today when looking at "The New Strong-Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson while on the car ride home. I have read this book multiple times, but today I really felt reassured and renewed to tackle the task of raising our sweet, strong-willed girl. Since I'm keeping this blog as a way to look back and see what was going on in our lives, I want to write down some of the things that I found important and want to remember. If you have a strong willed child, read on and find the same encouragement. If you don't have one, maybe you should read so that you won't make hurtful comments to a friend who happens to have the task of shepherding a strong-willed child.
-First, recognize that strong-willed children are NOT a liability, and you should never let yourself feel victimized or cheated by having borne one of them. DO NOT compare your child with the "perfect" children of your friends or relatives...a tough-minded kid IS tougher to raise and at times may push you right to the edge. But that wonderful assertiveness and determination WILL be an asset when your child is grown. That irritating temperament was a gift from God, and He makes no mistakes.
-Children DON'T start life at the same place...the aspect of inborn temperament is NOT something boys and girls learn. It is something they ARE.
-Strong-willed children often possess a certain strength of character that will help them grab the opportunities that come their way. When they make up their minds to reach for something, they are likely to stay with it until the goal is achieved. They are less susceptible to peer pressure.
-Those who are effective in shaping the will without breaking the spirit are going to appreciate the person their child eventually becomes.
-The ultimate paradox of childhood is that boys and girls want to be led by their parents but insist that their mothers and fathers earn the right to lead them.
-Once a child understands who is in charge, he or she can be held accountable to behave in a respectful manner.
-God has instilled parents as leaders for a finite period of time. Authority must be preserved in the home. Children who are acquainted with it learn to yield to the benevolent leadership of God Himself. God has given parents the responsibility of representing Him to their children. He is a God of unlimited love and our children become acquainted with His mercy and tenderness through our own love toward them. But make no mistake, He is also the possessor of majestic authority! The universe is ordered by a sovereign God who requires obedience from His children and has warned that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). To show our children love without authority is a serious distortion of God's nature.
-When your child's behavior is saying "I hate you" in every way possible, hang in there. Keep your courage. Better days are coming. Don't panic...Don't try to "fix" them overnight. Choose carefully the matters that are worthy of confrontation, then accept his/her challenge on those issues and win decisively.
-Parents will not harm a child by taking steps to gain control of a child's rebellious nature, even though it sometimes involves confrontation, sternness, warnings, and when appropriate, reasonable punishment. Only by accepting the inevitable challenges to parental authority and then by "winning" at those critical moments can parents teach a headstrong boy or girl civilized behavior. And only then will that child be given the ability to control his or her own impulses in the years to come.
-If you don't take a stand with your child early, he/she is compelled by his/her nature to push you further.
-There are two messages that we need to convey to our children before their 4th birthday:
1- I love you more than you can possibly undersatnd. You are precious to me and I think God every day He let me raise you.
2- Because I love you, I must teach you to obey me. That is the only way I can take care of you and protect you from things that might hurt you. The Bible tells us "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" (Eph. 6:1)
-While raising a strong-willed child may be difficult, it is worth the effort to do the job right. The Lord gave you that challenging child for a purpose. He wants you to mold and shape him/her and prepare them for a life of service to Him. You're up to the task! You are going to make it with the Lord's help!
If any of you are struggling with the same thing, be encouraged! Feel free to message me if you have any great advice or success stories that you can share. If you don't happen to have a strong-willed child, be careful of the messages you are sending to those that do. We are all just doing the very best that we can. I can promise you that it is not my desire for my child to throw a tantrum in the middle of wal-mart or to cry fourteen times within our hour long visit together... We're working through it and I know that one day things won't be quite this challenging. Karsyn Rose, if you happen to read this one day years down the road, you are worth every bit of the effort. Daddy and I love you and are so very proud to be your parents! We would not trade you for anything. We know and believe that one day you are going to do great things. We pray that you will use your strong will for Christ and that you will be able to stand strong when others can't or won't. We love you!
Posted by Kara Osborne at 9:48 PM