Superkey for situations with your strong-willed child?

Have you been following along with this month’s emails?

I’ve had some amazing feedback on the actionable tips I give in these newsletters, and I’d love to know if you’ve tried out some of the tools and seen a positive impact from using them.

So far we’ve covered:

When people judge your parenting… – You can find that post HERE.

And last week we looked at why it’s not a great idea to take it personally when your kid yells at you and what you can do instead. – You can find that post HERE.

This week the subject is a superkey to unlocking the will of your strong-willed child.

Now when I say that, I don’t mean that we are going to stop them from being who they are.

They get to be who they are.

At some point in life that strong will is going to be an asset to them. It might help them to be true to their values or to stand up for themselves or to reach the goals that they dream of…

But day-to-day, that strong will can be hard to handle, especially when it’s used against you.

If you gave in to everything, your kid might be having Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast while zoned out on computer games on a school day twenty minutes after the bus left for school.

When parents of strong-willed kids come to me, and they come to me often, they often find that they have resorted to bargaining and they know in their hearts that the bargaining isn’t a great long-term strategy.

I realize that if you’re in the pattern of bargaining, it can be hard to move to a new way of doing things right away.

But as much as you can, I want you to consider moving away from bargaining, and moving over to a place of choices.

Being in a place of choices is a key for parents of strong-willed kids.

Strong-willed kids often times really need choices.

It helps them feel more in control. It really helps them with feeling they are being allowed to be themselves.

Here are some simple examples…

One would be, ‘do you want toast with butter this morning or a breakfast sandwich?’

Here’s another:

‘Do you want to brush your teeth now, or in five minutes?’

And another…

‘Okay, we’re gonna cross the street. Do you wanna hold my hand, or hold my pant leg?’

Giving your kid choices is going to cut down on the no’s because it’s not breakfast sandwich or no, it’s breakfast sandwich or toast.

As long as you can live with either one of those, whether it’s like, I don’t care if I make a breakfast sandwich or toast, I don’t care if you hold my hand or my pant leg. It’s a win.

You’re creating situations where your kid can be successful and can win.

A wonderful mom I was working with said to me ‘Hey but Lisa, what do I do if my son doesn’t want one of the breakfast options? Do I give him another two?’

Well here’s my thought on that…

You are not running a diner. 🙂

If you’ve made your options, then the next step would be to say, ‘Well, these are the options buddy.’

Sometimes they don’t know what they want, or they’re not ready, or they need a minute to process.

I don’t know about you but, if my husband asks me what do you want for dinner tonight, I don’t always have the answer front and center. Sometimes I need a few minutes.

I think to myself, ‘I don’t know what I want. Do I want sushi, do I want Mexican, do I want soup, do I want to just get something quick?’

Your kid might not know what choice they want to choose at that moment.

Then you just calmly say ‘Alright, well let me give you a moment to think about it, and I’ll ask you again.’

Choices are a superkey for parents of strong-willed kids.

Start small, see what happens.

Until next week,



About the author

Lisa Smith

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