• Let’s face it, some kids are just harder than others. My first two kids are so laid back, easy to please, and more than willing to follow any instruction given to them. They make me feel like a rock star parent. Then there is their baby brother. He is willful, stubborn, independent, and not a rule follower. He is the kind of kid if you ask him to sit down he immediately wants to stand up. Thank goodness he is cute. He has been quite the challenge for me and my husband alike. We thought we had this parenting thing down with the firs two. But as I said before, some kids are just harder than others.

    By asking him to do something he couldn’t do I was setting him up to fail

    The first thing that I had to adjust with my youngest were my expectations. I can expect my older two to sit down quietly while I make dinner. This is not, however, possible for my youngest. He is a ball of energy and needs to be moving all the time. Asking him to sit down quietly was not in his nature, and it ended (every single time) in a huge melt down. By asking him to do something he couldn’t do I was setting him up to fail. That is not to say that I will never ask him to sit quietly. I just don’t do it as frequently.

    Kids like this need a touch of independence. Giving them choices can be life saving to you. If you come up with two acceptable activities give him the choice. Just that small ounce of power will get easier cooperation, but still leave you in control.

    Another way we have had success with our troublemaker was to get down on his level. Simply telling him to pick up his toys would go ignored. But, if I get down on his level, by sitting or squatting, and talk to him about picking up; sometimes even explaining why it’s time to do so, I get a better response.

    All this being said sometimes being a parent means I cannot give him a choice, or I cannot get to his level to explain things. It is important in those times to step up and not back down. This way your child learns that sometimes he gets a choice, and other times you mean business. He learns that you respect him enough to give him some control, but that he must in turn respect you.

    These are the things that we have started doing to help us with our willful child. I can only hope that it will help you with yours. If nothing else, just remember that this too, shall pass.