When people meet my daughter, they immediately classify her as a strong-willed child. I mean, if you saw her, you might do the exact same thing. She has fiery red hair, a bursting personality, and she knows exactly what she wants and doesn’t want. She isn’t going to do anything in life unless she wants to do it. She has intense emotions and she is not afraid to use them. By all definitions of the word, my daughter is definitely strong-willed.
If you have a child like this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. So often children that are labeled as strong-willed are only seen as just that… strong willed. They are seen for their strong personality, their strong emotion, and their strong determination to do things their way. But if that’s all we focus on, we are missing so much more about these amazing and unique children.
Depending on who you talk to, the term strong-willed can bring up a lot of emotions. You either love the term or you hate the term.
More often than not, it’s because of your experiences you’ve had with the way the term is used.
When the term strong-willed comes with an eye roll or a gasp of frustration, it doesn’t feel like a very positive thing. But when it’s said with a head raised, chest out, and an admiration of this powerful personality, it feels pretty positive.
Whichever side of fence you sit on, I can guarantee you that the strong-willed child you have in your life wants you to know that they are so much more than just three little words.
10 Things Your Strong-willed Child Wished You Knew.
1) You are not a bad parent.
I need you to hear this loud and clear. I am not feisty and head-strong because you parented me wrong. This is who I am. In fact, you are the best person for me to have on my side because you are constantly looking for answers, tirelessly trying to help, and deep down, you believe in me.
2) I am not spoiled.
I do not put my foot to the ground and stomp with all my might because you gave me too many toys or because you said yes too often. I do these things because I want to assert my independence. I want you to know that this is what I want and when I want it, but I haven’t learned the best way to tell you yet. I am still learning how to communicate, and I need you to help me. With your help, I will be able to use my emotions to change the world.
3) I am not difficult.
I see you in the corner with your hands on your head, slumped against the wall. I know I test you, and try you, and push you to your limits, but please do not describe me as your difficult one. I might just start to believe it.
4) I am not stubborn.
I know I like to do things my way, but most of the time it’s because I haven’t developed the ability to problem-solve yet. I need you to see me as fierce and as taking a stand for what I believe in. I need you to help me learn how to be flexible.
5) I will thrive on routines.
I like to be in charge of what’s happening in my own life. I like the know when things are happening, where they’re happening, and what’s going to happen after that. When you set up a routine that I can depend on, it takes away one thing that I have to worry about. It gives me the order I’m so desperately seeking.
6) I like making my own decisions.
I bet you already knew that about me, though. This probably means that I put up a fight when you tell me exactly what to wear or you tell me exactly what to eat, but I can let you in on a little secret. If you give me choice, and you set those choices within a boundary, I will put up much less of a fight.
7) I need you to trust me.
I know you’ve seen more and done more than I have. I know you’ve had more experiences than I have. You already know the outcome long before I do, but I need you to put a little bit of trust in me so that I can make my own mistakes, so that I can learn to problem-solve, and I can learn to be independent, just like I want to be.
8) I learn through doing.
You can tell me things until you are blue in the face, but it’s not going to make a difference until I try it. Give me experiences so that I can test my ideas and theories in a safe place, so that when you tell me a pot is hot, I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is because I’ve experienced it.
9) I think outside of the box.
Sometimes this box is really tiny and sometimes this box is really big, but the truth is is that I think a little differently than maybe you or your other kids do. I like to go about problems and try things from a different angle. I am creative and I am constantly inventing, and creating, and dreaming of the unknown.
10) I need you.
More than all else, I need you to know that I need you. When I have a behavior that is ugly, and strong, and determined, I need you to see that as a cry for help. When I meltdown in the Target parking lot, I need you to hear me saying, “I need you.” When I yell, “No,” as loud as can be, I need you to hear that as me saying, “I need you.”
I need you to know that I am not picky, anxious, difficult, messy, or strong-willed. Instead, most of the time I am misunderstood.
Changing Your Strong-Willed Child’s Inner Thoughts…
The truth is…
Kids are constantly being told they aren’t good enough, not smart enough, not calm enough, just plain and simple…
What would happen if instead of telling kids they are not enough, we changed the way we saw our children and we changed their inner language?
My new book, The Superkids Activity Guide, is aimed to empower ALL kids to speak up, share their superpowers and learn why they do the things they do so they can advocate for themselves!!
The book has a manifesto that I stand behind 100%. I believe all children should believe these things about themselves and often wish I had believed these things to be true as a child myself.
This is a small excerpt:
“Go ahead and say it, so you believe it: “I am a SUPERKID.”
There, didn’t that feel good? Go ahead and say it one more time, just to make sure it sinks in: “I am a SUPERKID.”
Before you start to think of all the reasons you can’t possibly be a superkid, I want to stop you. You see, even the most famous rock stars have doubt and don’t believe in themselves every day. This doesn’t mean they are any less super. And even superheroes have struggles and pitfalls. That doesn’t make them any less super, either. The truth is, despite your struggles, your mistakes, or your bad days…YOU ARE A SUPERKID. The Superkids Manifesto is yours. I want you to own it.
You are unique.
You are adventurous.
You are spirited.
You are creative.
You are fierce.
You are a SUPERKID.
You are going to conquer the world and I am going to help you every step of the way… ”
In order to make this movement touch every corner of the globe, we need YOU!!!
A NOTE FROM REBECCA EANES: I can’t recommend Dayna Abraham’s new book highly enough! The Superkids Activity Guide to Conquering Every Day has so many great ideas and projects for kids and their adults! However, my favorite thing about this book is that it teaches children to believe in themselves, to love who they are, and to feel empowered with all of the wonderful tools it provides!
What began as a simple book with 75 simple crafts, games and activities to help adults and kids manage the most difficult parts of the day (mornings, wait times, mealtime, playtime, learning, and nighttime), The Superkids Activity Guide, slowly became a movement. The Superkids Movement and Activity Guide is aimed to empower ALL kids to speak up, share their superpowers and learn why they do the things they do so they can advocate for themselves!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dayna Abraham is the mother to three totally awesome superkids who inspire her every day to be the best grown-up sidekick they could ask for. When she’s not helping her kids conquer the world, she keeps busy by writing at lemonlimeadventures.com, writing books like Sensory Processing 101, STEAM Kids, and Learn and Play with LEGO®, and drinking lots of coffee. She loves getting her hands messy and creating crazy science projects and crafts to keep her super kids at home busy. Before she was a writer, she was a National Board Certified teacher, where she met some of the coolest superkids on earth. As a little girl, she wished grown-ups and other kids saw her as a superkid, so now she’s made it her mission to inspire kids like you to love who they are and embrace their differences.