Sometimes it’s difficult to see the border between stubbornness and having a strong will. It is especially true of children, who tend to insist on what they want. There are certain character traits which can give you a hint as to whether you are raising a person of iron will (or a little spoiled kid!).
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Should you really want to have a stubborn kid?
When it comes to bringing up children, debates are even fiercer than in the case of the most sophisticated philosophical problems. However, raising a strong-willed child, the type which is often called “spirited”, is definitely a challenge. Parenting a stubborn kid means having to argue every day, as your authority is not enough to make your child behave and do what he/she should do.
Regardless of whether you like it or not, being strong-willed seems to be one of the signs that indicate the child is going to be wealthy. As a research published in Developmental Psychology found, children who tend to ignore rules and do everything their own way earn more when they become adults. However, the reason behind this link is unclear: while some believe it’s their determination that make such kids successful from the financial point of view, others claim there is nothing good about it, as children of this kind are capable of doing something immoral or even illegal to get the thing (in this case, money) they want. The study findings make matters even worse, because it means raising a child who is strong-willed gets another aspect, i.e. struggling to teach him or her that money is not the cornerstone of life.
How do I know if my child is really strong-willed?
Well, actually, if you really have a strong-willed child, chances are you already know it. Still, there are certain habits and traits which indicate your kid is not as humble as you perhaps want him/her to be.
- They want to know it all. When you say eating burgers for breakfast, lunch and dinner is not a good idea, they will not be satisfied with the “Because it’s like this” answer. Such a child will demand to know what reasons are behind this restriction and keep on asking until you surrender. It’s not a bad thing to like getting to the root of an issue, but the way stubborn children do it is not always appropriate.
- They can argue for as long as you have patience. This trait stems from the previous one. Strong-willed children are good at debating, and they can find a myriad of loopholes in your reasoning, introducing more and more arguments until the interlocutor is completely tired out.
- They exhibit anger often and in a special way. When a strong-willed child gets angry, he/she will not keep silent and wait until the issue resolves. Such a kid is likely to stomp his feet, yell, and do other things which betray the stubbornness of the young boss.
- They like telling others what to do. It’s true of both adults and peers: strong-willed children set rules when playing games with others, give advice to grown-ups and seldom agree to let someone else be a leader.
- They are extremely impatient. Remember how your child refuses to wait in the waiting room while the doctor you’re about to see is busy? Or how he/she cannot stand waiting in line when you take your kid to the grocery store? All these cases indicate your child does not want to waste time because of other people, and he/she values his own interests much more than those of others.
- They find it difficult to distinguish between ‘need’ and ‘want’. Children whose will is strong have difficulty understanding why wanting does not necessarily mean needing. That is why you are likely to hear such a child yelling when you refuse to buy something that he/she wants.
As seen from the examples above, parenting such a child can cause your hair to turn gray prematurely. Even if we take the research findings into account, it’s still a problem that every parent has to face, as raising a good person means teaching him/her how to be kind, generous, humble and friendly, while all these traits may be difficult to foster in a strong-willed child. So brace yourself – it will take all your patience and ability to explain to turn stubbornness into perseverance and help your kid become a good person!
Student Characteristics and Behaviors at Age 12 Predict Occupational Success 40 Years Later over and above Childhood IQ and Parental Socioeconomic Status – Psycnet.apa.org
How to Talk to Kids About Wants vs. Needs – Verywellfamily.com
Parenting a Strong-Willed Child – Psychologytoday.com