When You Just Want to Retreat…
Do you struggle with parenting a strong-willed child and feel like retreating as opposed to reaching out to them? Perhaps the tension, the yelling, the power struggles are such a regular occurrence that when it’s quiet it seems safer to withdrawal.
They are playing quietly. Or quietly on their electronics. Leave well enough alone. Besides, you may well rest up for the next blow up.
I operated this way for years. As a working single mother, I did not see any other way around it. While parenting a strong-willed child I was told he would eventually “grow out of it”. I would have to wait it out.
The problem was, it didn’t get better. I had to change.
What my child need from me, was me. Not for me to ignore them. And the way to give them some of the completely exhausted me was actually extremely simple.
Simple Idea…Big Impact
This book isn’t specifically about parenting a strong-willed child. However, it was a complete game changer for me!
“If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling” by Amy McCready suggests twice a day for ten minutes having “mind, body, and soul time” with each child.
Now, this sounds way too corny for me so I call it “Mom Time”. Additionally, I do not know as a single mom how to get twenty minutes total per child in per day, especially on days or weekends that the children are not with you. So, each family should tweak this. I decided on ten minutes per day per child.
How to Implement 10 Minute Quality Time When You are Parenting a Strong-Willed Child
During this time, each child gets mom’s full attention and the other child(ren) are not allowed in the room. The timer is set. This makes it official for the kids and wanting more. Sometimes they ask for longer. To keep the time precious, it stays at ten minutes.
The first day I suggested to my son if he could use this time to explain Pokémon to me. He was all over this! He asks me to wake him up early each morning so we have our ten minutes first thing each day before his sister wakes up. This sets the mood for the day.
The first week we did this, our arguments stopped immediately! He just soaked up the extra attention. I like to think I gave him this attention before I started an official “mom time”, but this set-aside, quality time has made all the difference.
My other child gets “Mom Time” as well. Often when you are parenting a strong-willed child the other child gets ignored. They are quiet in the background and as a single parent, all your attention is on one child. This one-on-one time is a great excuse to force your time on other children as well.
The great thing about this idea is that the kids keep you accountable, they want this time with you and won’t let you forget it!
When I feel super lazy I ask myself if I spent ten minutes on social media doing nothing today. Well, yes, of course, I did, probably times twenty.
Additionally, the surprising payoff for spending ten minutes with my children individually makes such a big difference in the day-to-day struggles. I see they are more willing to get ready for school in the morning or take out the trash or do homework. As anyone who is parenting a strong-willed child knows, it can be daily tasks that you fight over.
If I put loving them first and fill that need up consistently, I see they are in return more respectful of my requests.
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? Who wouldn’t want that?
These ten minutes are faster than the sometimes two hours we could spend in an argument that is now diffused before it even begins.
It’s not a magic cure-all. But it is one more tool in my parenting toolbox and I’ll take all I can get.
Need ideas for what to do during your 10 minutes? Check out these ten quality time ideas.