Positive discipline techniques for strong willed children
As a parent or caregiver, dealing with a strong-willed child can be challenging. You may feel like you are constantly battling with them, struggling to find a way to communicate and connect. However, positive discipline techniques can help you build a stronger relationship with your child and reduce conflict. In this article, we will explore some positive discipline techniques that can be particularly effective with strong-willed children.
Dealing With a Strong-Willed Child
Set clear expectations
Strong-willed children may push boundaries and test limits, but they still need structure and routine. Setting clear expectations and rules can help your child feel secure and understand what is expected of them. Make sure the expectations are age-appropriate and that your child understands them. For example, you might have a rule that your child must complete their homework before they can play video games. If your child knows this rule and understands the consequences of not following it, they are more likely to comply.
Strong-willed children may resist being told what to do, but they may respond positively to being given a choice. Offering your child choices can give them a sense of control and help reduce power struggles. However, it’s important to ensure that the choices are limited and that both options are acceptable to you. For example, you might say “Would you like to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt?” instead of “Wear the blue shirt.” By offering a choice, you are still getting what you want (your child wearing a specific shirt) while giving your child some control over the situation.
Use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement involves praising and rewarding your child for positive behavior. This can help encourage your child to continue to behave in positive ways. For example, you might praise your child for completing their chores without being asked or for sharing a toy with a sibling. Rewards can be small, such as stickers or a favorite treat, or larger, such as a special outing. When using rewards, make sure they are appropriate and not used excessively.
Use logical consequences
Logical consequences are consequences that are directly related to the misbehavior. For example, if your child refuses to put away their toys, you might take away the toys for a set period of time. Logical consequences are different from punishment, which is often unrelated to the behavior. Punishment can cause resentment and is less effective in changing behavior. Logical consequences, on the other hand, can help your child understand the impact of their actions.
Time-ins are an alternative to time-outs. Time-ins involve spending time with your child to help them calm down and regulate their emotions. When your child is upset, you can sit with them, hold them, or talk with them to help them feel safe and calm. This can be more effective than sending your child to their room or isolating them, which can cause feelings of shame and rejection.
Parenting the Strong Willed Child Discipline Strategies
Strong-willed children may have intense emotions and can benefit from empathy. Empathy involves trying to understand your child’s perspective and emotions. This can help you connect with your child and reduce conflict. When your child is upset, try to see things from their point of view and acknowledge their feelings. For example, you might say “I can see that you are really upset right now. It’s okay to feel that way.” By acknowledging your child’s emotions, you are validating their experience and showing that you care.
Model positive behaviors
Strong-willed children learn from watching their parents. It’s important to model positive behaviors and attitudes, such as being respectful, kind, and patient. When you make a mistake, apologize and take responsibility. When you handle a difficult situation well, point it out to your child and explain why it was the right thing to do. By modeling positive behaviors, you are setting an example