She hit a little boy at the park today. Poked him in the eye at the same time. All after we had had a discussion about being gentle and playing nicely…
What was I to do? We had to up and leave the park, of course. Because if she couldn’t play nicely, she couldn’t play at all. And this isn’t an isolated event – my toddler doing the exact opposite of what she knows she is supposed to do.
Sometimes it can feel hard to love our SWCs (strong willed children). Especially when they aren’t being, well, likable. Of course, then you feel like a horrible parent for even thinking you aren’t madly in love with your child and get upset at yourself. Which in turn makes you impatient with your kids because being upset about anything just does that. And then you feel like even worse of a parent. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Oh, I’m not going to lie, there are definitely moments ahead of you where you won’t like your SWC very much because of some rule or convention they are trying to buck, but you will always love them. Because that’s what parents do. I want to send you a little encouraging thought today: your child isn’t acting up because you are a bad parent. And it is still possible to enjoy your SWC and find the silver lining even on the hardest of parenting days.
There. I said it.
Instead, they are pushing their boundaries to find out what they are. Does Mom really mean I can’t hit the dog? What will happen if I do? While this makes for a huge challenge in an SWCs early years, they will own their boundaries once they have known and accepted them. How do I know, you ask, when I only have an SWC toddler? Lol…ask my mom. I was an SWC myself. And I turned out okay. Or so I like to think 😉
Now, while all of this boundary pushing is actually beneficial to your SWC in the long run, in the short term I know it is a special kind of torture for parents. Which is why I would love to encourage you some more today, if you don’t mind. Can I? Is it okay if I share a few of my favorite things about having a strong willed child? It is?! Good! Because having an SWC is a beautiful and wonderful thing that is just accompanied by challenges.
1). She Can Do Anything She Puts Her Mind To
If she wants to hurry through the grocery store, she will push the cart so hard that I have a hard time holding it back! (Yes, she is only 19 months old…) If she wants to go to bed – a very new and lovely occurrence! – she will climb in her toddler bed, pull the covers up, and call to me in the other room. If she wants me to understand what she is saying, she will actually slow down and use the vocabulary of “big girl” words she has to communicate with me instead of babbling. And if she wants a child to leave the playground she will hit them.
Our SWC’s determination is a wonderful thing! And it will serve them beautifully later in life. We just have to help them properly channel it. This topic could really be an entire blog post in and of itself, but I will move on for now.
2). She Always Knows Her Own Mind (And Always Will)
I mentioned in last week’s post just how much my little girl loves music, and how she will tell me exactly which song she wants me to sing to her. This is just one of the examples of how she always knows her own mind right now. Which can make our days rather challenging…. *cough, cough* I think I am choking on my own understatement. But, this is going to be a huge asset later in life. For one, she will know exactly what college path or career path she wants to take. No fear of her wasting precious time in her life! And she will not waist any time in her day, either. SWC’s are grand planners and goal setters!
In addition, she will never be bullied. She is too strong willed for that! Lol
3). She Will Be an Outstanding Leader
On top of always knowing her own mind, she will be an excellent leader. (These two rather go hand in hand.) Why? Well, for one, she will never be a follower. That is for sure. SWC and follower just really can never be taken seriously when spoken in the same sentence. But, because my little SWC knows her own mind (and is an extrovert) she will be able to communicate her vision and ideas to everyone else. And because she so badly wants to make her own ideas come true, she will find a way to persuade everyone else of them. If we can turn her bossiness (yes, SWCs…all of them…are bossy!) into persuasiveness that is! Then she will be an excellent marketer. And those who can successfully market their ideas make excellent leaders.
4). She Will Own Her Life’s Framework
Our sweet SWCs will never be followers. Which means that they won’t even follow our rules unless they think it worthwhile. As a toddler, that usually comes in the form of our SWCs agreeing with us that the naughtiness that they want to indulge in isn’t worth the consequence they know will follow. When she is older, though, say a teenager, she will follow rules not because she is afraid of the consequence that will follow but because she knows that they are right and good. The rules she follows will be HER rules. She will believe in them. And that is why she will always follow them. No matter what anyone else has to say.
5). We Will Always Know What She Is Thinking and Doing
Because of our sweet little girl’s strong will and the fact that any and all rules she follows as she gets older she will own and make hers, we will always know what she is thinking and doing. She won’t be one to sneak out her bedroom window at night! If she is going to be rebellious she will just walk out the front door. Which means that we won’t have to worry if things are going smoothly. There’ll be no hidden and dangerous undertows.
I hope this short list has given you some encouragement! Trust me, I know how challenging some days are when you are raising an SWC. Sometimes I find myself, head in my hands, saying in my head “I need someone to encourage me!” Which is when I have to remind myself of this list of mine. So I hope that maybe this list can help you when you feel like burring your heads in your hand and crying.
What are your favorite benefits of your child being an SWC? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to share stories with you. And maybe add a couple more items to my list. But, bye for now! It’s time to go spend some time with my very sweetly behaving (at the moment) SWC!
Have a beautiful day ❤