This post is a part of my 10-Minute Tuesday series. I take a one-word prompt that a friend has supplied and write for 10 minutes without any heavy editing and see what comes out of my head. Today’s word is “strong-willed.”
When people hear the term “strong willed,” they probably jump to the idea of a strong-willed child. Oh, you know how hard they can be! They are stubborn, obstinate, tantrum throwers when they don’t get their way. There has to be special books written about how to parent them.
Nobody has ever seen a book called Parenting the Compliant Child. We think that would be easy.
But what if we started looking at being strong willed in its positive form? What if instead of being obstinate, these people were considered resolute?
I think about Jesus who resolutely set His face toward the cross. I would say His will was very strong.
Trouble is, I know with kids who are considered strong willed, their will is usually against whatever it is their parents want them to do. I didn’t have a strong-willed child, so I don’t have any parenting advice, but I wonder if a mindset change could make a difference.
Can a 3-year-old be reasoned with?
“You sure seem to have your mind made up about what you want to have for lunch. It’s too bad we’re not having that today. I wonder what we can do about that?”
Makes me chuckle to imagine it.
I know the struggle is real, you parents of strong-willed children out there. So I would just like to offer hope. It won’t come immediately, in fact, it may take them into their 20s to figure it out, but your resolute child could be one who has great perseverance. Once they’ve made up their mind, they go after that thing with gusto.
Think about Jesus. When he was 12 he was left behind in Jerusalem because he was sitting in the temple teaching the men there. Teaching! At 12 years old. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49).
He knew what He needed to do, and He did it. Now, granted, He was the perfect Son of God, but what lessons can be learned from His life about being resolute?
Huge differences with our kids, I know that. But I think it’s not just a sin nature that is at play. Guiding a child to submitting their will to that of their parents is an arduous process. Parents have no easy task figuring out how to mold their child without crushing them.
I don’t envy them the task.
But a compliant child also needs to be molded. They need to know that they have a mind of their own and that God has a plan for them. Every whim of someone else doesn’t need to be followed. It’s not a bad thing to question directives in the right manner and at the right time.
Does that make sense? We don’t want our compliant children to become doormats that others use to get what they want. And I think as parents we need to be careful to make sure our kids have a voice. Can compliance become apathy? Can these children become people pleasers?
I’m not a psychologist, so these are just rambling thoughts. But I do wonder.
I’d love to hear what you think.