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Strong willed toddler advice for parents on how to handle a strong willed child 

Tips for Managing a Strong Willed Toddler

As a mom, I sometimes find myself thinking, “One day I am really going to appreciate your determination and will, but right now you are driving me crazy!” We’ve all been there. But take heart--often it is the strong-willed child who will grow up to be courageous, fearless and passionate about life. Who wouldn’t want their child to possess such wonderful qualities? Testing limits and exploring his independence is all part of growing up. Instead of trying to break your child’s strong will, read below for some tips on how to manage these trying moments and find peace at home while safeguarding his independence and determination.

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Tips for Managing a Strong Willed Toddler

  1. Set a routine. Remember, you’re in charge, even though it may not always feel like it. Do you remember hearing the words “my house, my rules” when growing up? We can certainly appreciate that sentiment now as parents. Eliminate power struggles by creating a firm routine. Your child will know exactly what is expected and why. Setting a firm bedtime, for example, will help to remove the fuss of not wanting to go to get ready for bed. Soon your rules and routine will become a way of life.
  2. Allow your child to make choices. When handing out orders, the strong-willed child is most likely to refute, disprove and argue. Instead, try providing choices (that are you okay with, obviously) that allow her to feel validated. Would she prefer to clean up toys and then make her bed or vice versa? Would she like to wear the blue shorts or the red shorts to the library? Allow her to assert some independence within reason by giving her choices throughout the day.
  3. Stop, Look and Listen. Try to look at the situation from his perspective. What may seem like an argument to you could actually stem from him not understanding the situation. Remain calm and listen. In doing so, you’re reminding your child that they do matter and their feelings and thoughts are valuable. A little validation can go a long way when it comes to fostering good communication and relationship building between you and your child. 
  4. Give your child consequences. It’s simple. Your rules and routines come with consequences if they are not followed suitably. Be consistent and follow through to make sure your child understands what will happen if she doesn’t uphold her end of the deal. Sooner or later, she will tire of losing toys because she neglected to clean up before pulling out the next activity.
  5. Don’t argue. Modeling kindness in today’s world is imperative and a little bit of love can go a long way. You don’t need to convince your child of anything but you can demonstrate kindness and patience in the midst of an impending battle. By staying calm, you help to diffuse the situation.
  6. Choose your battles. Face it--you’re not going to win every single battle with your child. Does it really matter if his outfit is comprised of stripes and polka dots or that he insists on wearing his superhero cape to church? Focus on what really matters. Obviously, it’s imperative to stand your ground when it comes to your child’s safety and the safety of others. But if your child wants to pair peanut butter and ham for lunch, so be it. 

Remember, they aren’t called the terrible two’s and troublesome three’s for nothing! As trying and tiresome as the toddler years might be, it is also a sweet time to help your child build confidence and independence. Use this time for all it’s worth. Your little one will be grown up before you know it, and you might just miss the chaos and hubbub of the early years.


Blog post notes For moms, advice on disciplining children, how to discipline your child, positive discipline , positive parenting , oppositional defiant disorder 

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