Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guiding Your Strong-Willed Child

Sneak Peek Friday

I am honored to have worked on the Academy of Coaching Parents International's HeartWise book called Parenting Responsively for Connection.  Along with 10 other ACPI Certified Parent and Family Coaches; I wrote the book to help parents answer some difficult parenting issues.  Every Friday this summer YOUR Parenting Question Blog will share a short excerpt from this book.  We hope that you find them information and helpful.  If you like what you read and you would like to order the E-book you may do so here at Strong Roots Family Coaching

My sister, Amy, is a strong-willed woman.  She has always known what needed to be done in her house and was unyielding in her pursuit.    When her four children were all under the age of five, it was not realistic for her to cater to every whim they had.  That would have created chaos.  However, her loving nature allowed her to remain in control without needing to have constant power struggles with her children.  She parented with a firm, but gentle hand.
            The greatest lesson I learned from Amy was that you could tell your children no, stick with your answer, and also be the one to comfort them.  I once watched her youngest son, Aidan, have a tantrum because he could not watch a certain television show.  Aidan was crying and screaming, and my sister picked him up, put him on her lap and said, “Oh, you poor thing, I understand how hard this must be for you.”  That was all she said.  She rocked him and comforted him.  She did not give in and let him watch the show.  She did not restate the reasons why he didn’t get to watch his show, and she did not make promises that he could watch the show later.  She simply comforted him and let him know that she understood his frustrations.  Aidan held on to her as he cried and eventually calmed down.  The truth is Aiden needed to be heard. 
            When I need to share and vent to my girlfriends, I don’t want them to solve my problems, I just need someone to say, “I understand and it will all be okay.”  Your children need the same attention and understanding.  Expressing their feelings is the best way for a child to release their hurt.  It’s better for them to release the pain in the moment, than to hold it in and release it in some other way hours later.
            But what if, like me, you’re not strong-willed and standing your ground is your biggest weakness?  I am quick to eliminate any uncomfortable situation and am easily swayed.  This is how I got to the point with Megan where I gave in every time I sensed she was about to have a meltdown. Believe me, I paid the price. Ultimately I had to learn the importance of standing my ground.  These days, when my children are hurting because I enforced a rule or have requested something of them, I remember that I also can be the one to comfort them.  I do not give in to them, however hard that may be.  Instead I turn my energy to being there for them in their time of distress.  Luckily, this comes very easily to me and even though my children may be angry with me, we still remain connected and loving throughout the struggle at hand.

ACPI Certified Coach for Parents
Page 88

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