Brilliant Strategies For Setting Boundaries With A Strong-Willed Child
Strong-willed children are frequently misconstrued as stubborn or rebellious because adults say one thing and the children do the exact opposite, or they appear to struggle with boundaries.
If you can see strong-willed children in a different way, you’ll notice that you’re dealing with a youngster who is very self-directed and has been striving to establish his own boundaries for a long time. This might result in a lot of confusion and miscommunication.
The rule (one of the million various ways to let the child bounce from our preferences/boundaries and find a way to meet their own needs of the power, experience, and connection) is what strong-willed youngsters struggle with, not the boundaries (how a grown-up likes or doesn’t like things).
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Boundaries Are Important For Strong Willed Kids
What you, the teacher, or another adult likes or doesn’t like, wants or doesn’t want for the child is the boundary. Getting a better understanding of the boundary can assist you in enforcing it without feeling obligated to move a mountain in one day.
If you want your child to help feed the dogs, tidy up toys, clear the plate after meals, wash their teeth, and show respect, your REAL boundaries should be three things:
Rules – There are a variety of strategies to assist a youngster in accepting a boundary and meeting their needs within that boundary. Feeding the dogs, for example, is simply ONE technique to help a child learn responsibility, care for things, and treat others properly. If this rule isn’t working, you can modify it or come up with a different technique to teach a child responsibility.
Understanding the distinction between rules and boundaries is the first step toward bringing greater clarity to the problem and assisting strong-willed children in cooperating.
Children that are strong-willed or self-directed will have a strong desire for power and control. They will try to set their own boundaries again and over again, which is why it’s critical that we establish clear boundaries for ourselves while remaining flexible on the rules that the child must follow in order to accept the boundary.
It’s easy to see why strong-willed children don’t respond to “punishments” and why charts and more control fail them time and time again.
One of the most common misunderstandings is that children learn best via failure, but the truth is that children learn best through achievement. Life is full with disappointments and mistakes. That is without a doubt the case.
However, as parents, we can assist our children in seeing opportunities for achievement even when they make mistakes. That’s a problem-solving skill they’ll have for the rest of their lives!
Help Your Strong Willed Child Want To Cooperate
Get Clear On Your boundaries
We often back ourselves into a hole as parents, saying things like, “You have to pick up the toys right now.” Now you’re stuck, and you have to find a way to get them to clean up their toys, or you’ll lose your authority.
Instead of thinking of your boundaries as “cleaning up the toys right now,” think of it as “raising tidy and responsible children.” And you prefer to keep your house in order. There are a million methods to accomplish this. Cleaning up the toys at this precise moment is simply one option.
Help Them Use Rules To Find Success
Consider all the different ways a strong-willed child might learn to respect your boundaries by utilizing the limitless options that rules provide.
Look for areas where your child is most cooperative, such as tidying or cleaning, and start there. Children learn best through success, therefore whenever your child achieves something, make a note of it as a STRENGTH. This connects the STRENGTH (what the child excelled in) to a specific behaviour or activity. And here’s the kicker: the child’s future actions are determined by his or her STRENGTHS.
Here are some examples of how even small children can demonstrate tidiness and responsibility:
- Folded laundry should be stored in drawers.
- Removes the plate from the table.
- Is it possible to take care of oneself? (i.e. teeth brushing, combing hair, getting dressed)
- To clean tiny messes, use a handheld vacuum or a broom and dustpan.
- Clean up a spill using a towel.
- Toys should be put away.
- Weeds should be pulled.
- Make your bed.
Look for times of day when your child is most successful before creating a rule. Waiting until evening to pick up toys can feel more like putting gasoline on fire than singing kumbaya.
When Rules Do Not Work, Change The Rules
It is our responsibility as parents to assist our children in developing vital life skills. When things aren’t going well, it’s up to us, the parents, to change the structure and framework we give for our children in order to assist them succeed. Kids can even help solve problems by figuring out which rules will work best.
Instead of tidying up toys before sleep, you and your child can work together to come up with a new rule that will work better.
This is what it might sound like:
“At some time today, the toys must be picked up. You must be able to remember to pick up the toys in some way. Perhaps there comes a period when you enjoy cleaning. Perhaps you have a favourite game to play as you clean. Maybe you’d like to help out around the house with something else, and we can get rid of some of the toys so there’s less of a mess. There are numerous options! Let’s come up with a strategy together.”
If your child regularly fails to follow a rule, such as picking up their toys, you might help them succeed by assisting them in “backing up.”
This is where you would, for example, minimize the number of toys in the house so that only little messes need to be cleaned up rather than large messes that leave us, as parents, feeling triggered, angry, and resentful when our children can’t or won’t do it.
You can progress to greater messes as your youngster becomes more successful with little ones. Begin with success rather than failure.
What You Should Do Next:
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- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
- Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)