I have one and you have one.
Actually, if you are lucky like me, you have two! Yes, I have two strong-willed little women running around in my house. Demanding, and dreaming, and showing their emotions at the top of their lungs; singing on the couch, jumping off the stairs, and hiding when they are in trouble and crying when they just can't get passed how they feel.
Oh to the mama with the strong-willed little boy or girl I am here for you and with you. It is not an easy road, in fact it can often feel like a mountain you are sucking wind to get to the top of, but I have a funny feeling deep down in my gut that our little strong-willed people are gunna grow up to be the dream chasing, world changing, heaven coming down to earth grown ups who are going to blow us away with their callings, giftings and abilities..but for right now....right now...yes...let's just talk about the right now. Because the future, yep that sounds amazing and great and all good but the right now moment when that strong-willed child has their arms crossed and they are staring you down with that, "I'm not giving in" kinda face...let's talk about that.
iI have three big thoughts for you. Three things that I am learning and processing and clinging to in the midst of that "afternoon right before dinner meltdown". You know the one. I'll paint a picture for you that happens at least AT LEAST once a week.
It's when I've got a teething baby on my hip, a hangry 6 year old, a hot pan in the oven and one on the stove, one other kiddo on the potty and I have one eye on the clock begging for Griffin to walk through the door and rescue me! And then there is my strong willed girl...melting down about something she can't even remember what and why it hurt her feelings and made her mad. And she won't stop screaming till I give her all my attention. Does that picture look at all like yours? Well, here are my three things that I am practicing in the midst of these kinda "momming moments." I hope they encourage you friend.
1. Emotions Don't Come in Child Size
Nope, they don't come in a smaller size to fit into their bodies, actually they come in the same size as yours do. So, that anger that you feel...well they feel the same amount. The jealousy, the embarrassment, the insecurity, the coping, the shame, the sadness...it's all the same amount as yours and mine.
So, when they are in the middle of a "moment" as I like to call them, what they feel is much bigger than they can even handle. And what is our role? To show them how to handle it. Yikes....I think I often give it back to them the same way they are giving it to me. Oh God give me all the grace please. But knowing that my little 3 year old just doesn't know what to do with this frustration and it comes out in a big scream that's where the goal has to be to meet them with how they feel and help them walk through it. Which leads me to number two.
2. We, As Parents, Have to Have a Long-Term Goal
This has helped me so much. The goal can't be just for them to calm down and stop fighting, to stop yelling. Now don't get me wrong that needs to be taught and learned and it MUST HAPPEN, but the goal has to be to help them LEARN how to manage their emotions. We must speak into our children, to the person they are becoming. Our voice will become their inner voice. So, the goal is to plant seeds of helping them know how to walk through their emotions, not get stuck in them and act out of them, but to process and move on. (There are adults who don't know how to do this, actually I just learned a few years ago!) So, even if they don't fully get it, even if it might not seem like it isn't "getting through"; you are planting seeds and this moment is significant and it will grow into a harvest that you will reap from if we don't give up, if we can keep our eyes on the long term goal.
3. Strong is Not Wrong
It's not. And I refuse to receive anyone telling me that it is wrong. The media, the memes, the strangers at the store, the friends or the family who mean well, will try to make you think that it is wrong. "Just wait till they are teenagers." "You have your hands full", "Your life is going to be awful in a few years." I could keep going with the words people have tried to speak into my life about my children, about my motherhood, but I refuse to let those words in.
Strong is not Wrong! Strong is amazing. Strong is unstoppable. Strong is a leader. Strong is a person who won't be swayed by this culture or this world. Strong is a person who won't give up or give in. And when I think of stories in the Bible, I think of how strong looks different in so many leaders. Moses was strong, Noah was strong, Elijah, Elisha, Ruth, Esther, Jochebed, Joshua, David, Elizabeth, Mary...all of these people were such strong people, but also MEEK. Meekness is Strength under control. A leader who is willing to be led. Surrendered to the Father, but when called, they are strong for others to follow, to see, to learn from.
My gut feeling is if you have a strong willed child that means that you were a strong-willed child that grew up to be a strong-willed woman. That in moments you might feel like you are arguing with yourself, that you might gasp just a little to see your tendencies in your children.
But why not speak to your children the way you were spoken to or the way you WISH you were spoken to. Speak to them, to the person, the man, the woman God has created them to be, to the person they are becoming. Love their little hearts right where they are...but speak into who they are CREATED to be...and who they are CREATED to Become. You have got a world-changer in your house...and we have the honor of raising them. Let's raise them well.
From One Tired, Strong-Willed Mama to Another,
I’m Heather a blessed wife and mama to three beautiful little girls and my son who always keep me wild. My goal is to uplift and inspire as I share my life with you. Thanks for stopping by!