Raising Wild Ones

Being a mom is the root of my joy and at times, my frustration.

God has blessed me with four strong-willed children. Their strong-headed, larger than life personalities makes me proud but sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out. They test my patience but I pray they never lose their stubborn streak.

Why?

Although they make me question my parenting on repeat, their ability to hold their ground will help them through their teenage years and into adulthood.

But when you have multiple children who all pave their own way, being a parent with an arsenal of tricks is the only way to help them embrace that trait without losing your sanity.

Here are my tricks for helping your wildflowers blossom.

1. Patience.
This one is a givin for every parent but with a strong-willed child, just when you think you have enough patience, you have to dig deep to find even more. Patience has never been my strong suit. Maybe that’s why God gave me such resilient kids. The biggest thing I have learned is to not respond out of instinct but out of thought, most days. After all, I am only human but I strive to muster up every ounce of patience I can and pray for God’s strength on the days I have trouble.

2. Less Rules = Happier Family
Setting boundaries early is crucial when raising independent children but keep it simple. When I was a mom to two, I discovered that I was driving myself and my family crazy when I tried to put too many rules in place. When strong-willed kids have too many rules, they feel like they are set up for failure and that they can’t do anything right. When that happens, they rebel and ignore every word you say.

When you keep the rules simple, it allows them to know your expectations and gives them the ability to be themselves in all of their wild glory.

3. Clear, Consistent Consequences.
When rules are broken, there needs to be set consequences in place. My kids are not cookie cutter. So every child has different consequences from no video games to time outs. Age and interests are a factor but no matter what their consequences might be, they know ahead of time what will happen if they don’t follow the rules.

The other side of this is following through. Knowing that you can stand your ground too allows them to know the rules are not wishy-washy and that the rules you have in place are not optional.

4. Pick Your Battles
Fighting your stubborn little on everything will not only make them frustrated but make you frustrated as well. That doesn’t mean letting them do what ever they want, when ever they want but if it is not going to matter an hour from now, let it go.

Your four year old wants to wear snow boots in the middle of July?

Cool!

Your seven year old wants to brush his teeth for the fifth time to day?

Go for it!

As long as they are safe, people around them are safe and nothing will be broken, don’t sweat it!

5. More Choices, Less Control
Strong-willed children love the feeling of independence. Giving your child the opportunity to make more choices will help them be happier. Letting go of the control will not only help them but help you be a calmer parent. Letting them decide their outfit for the day, the snack they eat or what book they want to read might not seem like much, but to your little one, it allows them to feel that independence they strive for. Plus, allowing them to make choices on the small stuff now will help them in making choices on the big stuff later in life.

6. Love First and Foremost
Kids pick up on every emotion you have whether you are happy, sad, frustrated or down right mad. They can feel it. When they feel you are frustrated, it amps up their naughty behaviors but if you parent with love, they will strive to please. My strong-willed children are not people pleasers unless they know you love them. When someone builds a relationship with a strong headed person, they will move mountains to make you proud. If someone doesn’t build a relationship with kindness and love as the foundation, they will do what they want whether you like it or not.

They admire the opinions of the ones who admire them.

Being a mom to wild ones is challenging but really rewarding. They are bold thinkers and are the souls who change the world. It is difficult to raise strong-willed wildflowers in a world that tries to squash and conform them. Once parents understand their child’s personality, they will be their strong-willed child’s biggest advocate.

And to the parents who feel overwhelmed at times by their child’s larger than life personality, know you are not alone. We have all been that mom, locked in a bathroom trying not to lose her sh*t. You are raising a child who will do incredible things. How lucky are you to get a front row seat!

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