Why you DON'T want your kids to always cooperate easilyApr 27, 2023
Do you ever stop to think that it might be a good thing when your child challenges you? My daughter was particularly strong willed as a child and did not always cooperate easily. To be completely honest, I did not think that it was a good thing at the time. I wanted her to listen and cooperate more often, but she truly had a mind of her own.
The battles I remember most were over her clothes, and they started before she could even speak. I would pick out something for her to wear, and she would stomp her foot and point to what she wanted to wear instead. She mixed patterns and prints, and she loved glitter.
She was constantly changing her clothes, and she also loved to layer. One night when changing her into pajamas I found that she had five shirts on. Yes FIVE. The next day I put all of her clothes on high shelves in the linen closet so she couldn’t access them for multiple changes during the day.
I bought the cutest outfits with all of the matching accessories, and she wouldn’t wear them. It drove me crazy, and it was so frustrating.
I wanted her to wear the clothes that I liked and I thought looked beautiful.
She wanted to wear the clothes that she liked that made her feel beautiful.
Our views were not the same, and she was firm about pushing for what she wanted.
At the time, I thought of her as strong willed. I wished that she was compliant and cooperated more easily because it would have been so much easier as a parent.
Looking back now, I am so grateful that she challenged me.
Those qualities that drove me crazy when she was little turned out to be great qualities to have as she entered her teen years and now as a young adult. She is firm in her convictions and comfortable standing up for herself and what she believes in. She is able to speak up and self-advocate for what she wants.
I am now so grateful that she is strong willed as a young adult. She became a leader, not a follower. She cared more about what felt right to her than about what other people thought — and she didn’t develop the “people-pleaser” tendencies that many people spend a lifetime trying to break.
So next time your child isn’t cooperating as you would like — and they’re challenging you for what they want instead — take a deep breath and consider that they are developing the skill of standing up for themselves and what they want, and learning how to self-advocate.
I completely understand that parenting uncooperative kids can be SO frustrating, and knowing that these qualities will be helpful as an adult does not make getting out the door in the morning easier.
That said, please know that you do not need to be in a constant battle of wills with your child — you just need to add some new tools to your parenting toolbox. The ability to be flexible and compromise while still being able to self-advocate is a skill that children have to learn, and you can help teach them. I teach all of this and more in my parent support group — The Confident Parenting Club. Click here to learn more.
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