Disciplining our Children

Do you have a strong willed child?  I am guessing, based on the number of mothers that I have visited with and confided in, that it is likely that you do!  Because well over half of the moms I have compared notes with have chuckled and shaken their heads and said, “Yes, I have one of those too!”

My middle child is my strong-willed child.  But she can also be the sweetest child in the family!   How she flips that switch from one to the other puts my head spinning!  So what do you do?  How do you discipline your sweet little strong willed child?  I’ll tell you what we’ve tried, but I’ll also tell you that these ideas have only worked about half the time!

  1. Time outs – These came to be kind of pointless for us as she still screamed at us from her place in the corner.  And she would also push her limits, coming as far out of the corner without actually leaving the corner.
  2. disciplineSending her to her room – Although this removes her from the situation, and the stomping up the stairs and slamming of the door can be amusing, it doesn’t last for long.  And when I have tried to keep her door closed, it just ends up in a literal tug of war on the door handle, followed by blows to the door that I was surprised the door withheld.  (If we ever needed to break out of a room, she would be the one I would task to the job!)
  3. Removing favorite toys – This worked for a little while and she was devastated as she watched her favorite toys disappear.  But then, she figured how to play the game and would throw other toys at us to take away too.
  4. Taking away privileges – This was more difficult for us than for her because we hated to see her left out of family activities and we had trouble following through with these.
  5. Assigning her chores – We called these dirty jobs.  And boy she hated these at first!  Especially wiping toilets!  But eventually, she just flat refused and my moving her cloth-filled hand over the toilet wasn’t beneficial for either of us.
  6. Rationalizing with her – What?  Have you ever tried to rationalize with a screaming banshee?  Enough said!
  7. Asking her what to do.  Finally in one of her sane moments, I asked her, “What should I do to help you, because I know that you aren’t happy acting this way.”  She agreed and thought for a minute, finally, she just said, “Ask me if you can hug me.  And then just hold me.”  This seemed to be more of a success than everything else that we tried.  When she got into one of her tantrums, I did ask her if I could hold her and her face changed and she just nodded.  So I held her and sang a song to her and she sobbed her way through her feelings until she smiled again.

 

And now, while she can still stomp up the stairs and slam the door with the best of them, she has grown out of her full blown tantrums and our discipline has changed yet again.  And each night I pray that while she focuses those feelings for the benefit of others, she also remains a passionate young lady, so that my strong willed child will not succumb to peer pressure and will find God’s way for her.

What do you do for your strong willed children?

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