There is a parenting movement recently, especially among those of us mamas of “Wild Ones” entitled “Parenting the Strong Willed Child”. For those of us with strong willed children, we are grasping at anything possible to explain away the behavior of our children and not take the blame ourselves. I mean, after those few trying years with “The Wild One”, I was ready for vodka delivered intravenously, so if I started to contemplate that her behavior was my fault – I’d need daily shock therapy!
Now, while I have read through every article, or blog that I can find on the subject, just to assuage my own parenting skill set, I have come to one recent revelation. While The Wild One is very strong willed, and sometimes just can’t process her own emotions, which keeps her on edge – there are those times that she is just being…wait for it…. a brat! Spoiled, selfish, and yes…strong-willed. I worry about what she will become as a teenager, and then an adult. I have seen the spoiled teenagers that have no respect for authority…and even worse, the “strong willed” adults who feel like they know better than everyone around them. Why is that? Well, I think that it could be because of the parents of strong willed children. Now, I realize that this thought process could be controversial…because I truly feel that the entire strong willed movement has taken hold with such force, because parents just need a break from all of the blame and guilt. And yes, I have been that parent that just can’t take another minute…and I am 100% sure that The Wild One will give me more of those moments, possibly tonight when I have to force her to do her homework. But, I am also concerned about things that I am beginning to see in her – a strong defiance of authority, the attitude that her way is the only way, and the sassiness! Don’t even get me started on the sassiness! I have worried that those moments when we needed a break from the harshness that was our lives, that we may have given her more liberties than I like to mention. I notice that she will whine or throw a tantrum until she gets her way, then “wa-la” she is magically all better once the toy, ice cream, tv show of the moment is in front of her. HMMM…strong willed, or just brat? And yes, that is rhetorical, I know the answer. So, we have started the painful journey of retraining our strong willed child. Last night she cried and wailed for about an hour because she didn’t want to read out loud to me. I asked her to read me one page and then she could read quietly. She decided that she was “scared” to read out loud. Shew, that was a long hour! But finally, she realized that I was not going to give in, and not only read her page to me, but then didn’t want to stop reading out loud to me and continued for 20 minutes! Now, is she cured? Heck, no! Am I cured? Heck, no! But I am learning to see the signs of the inner brat in The Wild One.
One thing I do want to point out, is that this “revelation” would never have been possible 3 years ago. We were in the thick of some major issues with The Wild One and survival was the only thing possible. So, I needed to be in a clear place before I could truly come to this revelation of mine. So, for all the parents of strong willed children out there…continue doing whatever you need to get to your “good place”…..and I promise it will come. BUT always keep in mind that we are responsible for raising these kids to adulthood(you will not murder them, though there are days that you will question that), and no one likes a bratty adult. So, keep them alive, but keep them in line as well.