For all you parents of strong-willed kids, I get it. It's not easy—your child challenges you on everything. Even a simple request, such as "brush your teeth," can escalate into a civil war. You are tired, frustrated, and often feel like you are failing as a parent. How are the other moms making this parenting thing look so easy?
I have been there. Two of our three daughters were strong-willed kids. Our oldest was especially challenging. Katie was determined to do life on her schedule and according to her agenda. I, too, had my expectations of what life should look like. As a result we clashed often. This off-beat rhythm continued throughout her high school years.
I almost always felt overwhelmed. Why did the other moms look like they had this parenting thing figured out while I was often trying to discover the best way to deal with one situation after another with Katie? By her junior high years I had adopted a mantra that lasted through her high school years—Today's new rule is. . .
Because for Katie if there was not a specific rule regarding something it must be permissible and she would push the limits on everything.
Here are a few things I discovered that helped me become the mom Katie needed and helped her become more of the person God created her to be.
1. Know your kid—each one individually. I did not realize what a big deal this was in parenting. Each of our girls were and still are very different; not only personality, but how they see life, respond to life, goals, dreams. Looking back I see how sensitive Katie was and still is. I believe at some level she is a highly sensitive person. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/communication-success/201711/24-signs-highly-sensitive-person) Physical stimuli that most of us process or shrug off overwhelms her to the point of shutting down. She is more sensitive to other people's reactions to her and what is going on in the room, group, etc. She feels her emotions deeply.