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Each child is unique and every situation is different. The way you parent and help each child to learn will depend on their age, ability and temperament.

Strong-willed children

Some children will do what you expect with very little stress while others are very strong-willed and determined. It might seem they are stubborn, but strong-willed children like to be involved and feel capable. They like to do things for themselves.

Some parents think they need to stop their child being strong-willed to get them to behave, but helping them feel in control works best. If you enter into a power struggle with your strong-willed child, family life can become a battle-ground. When you feel a power struggle brewing it can help if you:

• stay calm

• don’t take their resistance personally. They’re just struggling with wanting to feel in control of their world

• let them know you understand how they feel. It will help calm them down. It also teaches them they can cope with feelings without needing to be cheered up, even when they don’t get what they want
• try to see things from their point of view. Whatever viewpoint your child has, they are strongly attached to it. Pushing them to do something without understanding why they are resisting may end up in a struggle. You might say ‘I can hear you don’t want to wear your coat to the shops. Can you tell me more about why?’ When
they feel listened to, they can be more flexible. Even if they don’t feel cold now, they may be happy to put a coat in the car in case they feel cold later

• find ways that you can both win. If turning the TV off isn’t a choice, you might say ‘We need to turn the TV off in five minutes. Do you want to turn it off yourself, or would you like me to do it?’ You still get to decide what happens, but giving your child a choice about how it happens means you both win

• use routines and rules. If the rule is ‘we brush our teeth before bed’, the child doesn’t need to resist the parent’s wishes in order to feel in control, it is just a house rule that everyone follows.

Alike you, let your child too enjoy certain amount of liberty. No doubt orderliness in the system and following the right ethics and character should never be compromised when it comes to bringing up a child.

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