I’ve been reading several parenting books lately and wishing I had accessed the wisdom in them long ago. The one pictured here, “Setting Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child” was really great. When I picked it up, I was just thinking of my daughter, who is very stubborn but also has so many wonderful qualities. I wasn’t having any particularly difficult challenges with her, I just wanted to be prepared should any arise. As I read this book, however, I realized that my four-year-old is also a strong-willed child, and that was why I WAS having so many challenges with him. I am also pretty sure my youngest will be just as intense. Yay.
What I love about this book, though, is the way it talks about the children, describing them as “aggressive researchers” and explaining that they are just wired to learn the hard way most of the time, and that they need to collect a lot of concrete data/evidence in order to know what their boundaries are. I felt so much relief and compassion as I read, because I realized a) that there are LOTS of kids like this out there, b) the parents didn’t do anything wrong to cause the kids to develop these intense personalities, and c) they’re not little anarchists, but rather just determined little scientists trying to figure out how things work in their world.
I got a lot of tools to implement in this book, and I’ve already started using them regularly (and making mistakes with them, too). I realize how inconsistent and vague I’ve been with my discipline and instructions over the years, and am trying to be much more focused going forward. Even with the mistakes, I’ve already had a significant breakthrough in my relationship with my daughter, which I believe was set in motion by this book.
This all started with a goal of yelling less at the beginning of this year… who knew there was so much more to it than just that. Yelling was a symptom of much deeper and more complex issues lying beneath the surface. Although I wish I’d seen them sooner, it feels great to be dealing with these issues so productively now. Better late than never. Yet another lesson in agile mothering!