If you struggle with raising a strong-willed child check out how using this strategy will bring peace back to your home and reverse the struggles that come with parenting a strong-willed child. Learn how to reconnect with your head-strong child.
When You’re Raising a Strong-Willed Child
I expected to hear the words…I hate you, mom…from a teenager. But never from my precious 5-year-old. He wasn’t even in kindergarten yet.
I don’t know if it’s easier to hear it from a 15-year-old. But hearing “I hate you” from my 5-year-old while he slams his door and refuses to come out hurts a mama’s heart.
I wish I could say it happened just once. But it happened so many times I couldn’t count.
Well-meaning family and friends told me he would eventually “grow out of it”. I would have to wait it out.
But my child didn’t “grow out of it.” Being strong-willed, or headstrong, is part of his character. And it isn’t a bad a thing. Many of our leaders are strong-willed.
But we couldn’t live like this either.
I Had to Change
I discovered my child needed more of me. The uninterrupted me. But not all the time. I had a balance to learn.
And the way to give him some of the “completely exhausted me” was surprisingly straightforward.
From the book “If I Have to Tell You One More Time…” by Amy McCready I began implementing what she calls “mind, body, and soul time” with each child. “Mind, body, Soul Time” sounded too corny for me so, I call it “Mom Time” or “Quality Time.”
The idea is simple at its core. Spend 10 minutes, twice a day with each child.
Additionally, I didn’t know as a single mom how to spend 20 minutes alone with each child each day. So, I decided on 10 minutes per kid.
Can Something This Basic Work This Well?
Satisfying your child’s needs can be done effectively in 10 minutes a day – if you’re serious about it.
- Each child receives 10 minutes of uninterpreted, undivided attention.
- Other children are not allowed in the room to overhear the conversation, vie for attention, or make funny faces at their sibling.
- Set the timer. A running clock makes it official for the kids and makes them wanting more. Sometimes they ask for longer. To keep the time precious, it stays at ten minutes.
The first day of our “Quality Time” I asked my son if he could explain Pokémon to me. He loved it.
After that, he would ask me the night before to wake him up early each morning so we could have our 10 minutes before school started. Having our time together in the morning helps set his mood for the day on a positive note.
After the first week we did this, our arguments stopped immediately. My son just soaked up the extra attention. I like to think I gave him this attention before I started an official “Quality Time.” But this set-aside, one-on-one time has made all the difference.
Why it works:
- The great thing about using this quality time is that the kids keep you accountable, they want this time with you and won’t let you forget it.
- The surprising payoff is they are more agreeable on day-to-day tasks as a result. From getting ready for school in the morning to taking out the trash or even doing their dreaded homework. As anyone who is raising a strong-willed child knows, it can be daily tasks that do you in.
- This time makes our children feel special. Wouldn’t it make you feel special if the person you looked up to the most set aside ten minutes a day with no distractions and concentrated solely on you?
- These 10 positive minutes together are faster than what may have been a 2-hour argument over something trivial.
- If I put loving them first and fill that need up consistently, I see they are in return more respectful of my requests.
What About The “Easy” Kid?
My other child gets “Quality Time” too. Same rules apply for both kids.
Often when you’re parenting a strong-willed child, the other child(ren) get ignored. I can’t count how many times over those difficult years, yes years, when I said I feel sorry for my other child because all of my energy went to my youngest.
I’d get so caught up in my youngest’s outbursts, that it wouldn’t be until after my youngest would calm down, that I would notice the effect it had on my other child.
The “easy” kids are quiet and in the background. All of your attention focuses on the other child. This one-on-one time gives you a great excuse to force yourself to focus on all of your children.
Ideas for Quality Time
At the beginning of our “Quality Time”, I ask my children where they want to talk then ask if they have anything to talk about. Usually, they do.
If not, I keep this time very simple. This time lasts just 10 minutes. I want to keep the lines of communication open the whole 10 minutes.
If you want a running list of ideas just in case, check out this article – 10 ideas in 10 minutes.
Or print these coupons out. The book contains 36 coupons including a page of blank ones for you to fill out your own. You can hang on to them or give them to your child to turn in as you go. Most coupons are ideas that you and your child can do together in 10 minutes.