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ByronkL
ByronkL asks:
Q:

An (extremely) strong-willed 7 year old.

Our 2nd grade daughter is extremely strong-willed about everything. On the one hand, her confidence is a good thing and will serve her well someday. However, it's extreme; she answers every request with "But Daddy..." or "Not right now," or chooses to ignore our requests.  This goes far beyond a typical 7 year old. She's argumentative, unresponsive (we have to ask her many, many times to do something), and is unwilling to learn from her mistakes. We've taken her to multiple counselors and therapists, including a nationally recognized behaviorist and several months of a therapist who came to our house every week for 2 hours to observe.
Our daughter is extremely bright, very sweet but incredibly obstinate. We have tried multiple approaches suggested by our professionals and are very consistent in our discipline. We've tried the carrot - praising and acknowledging her good behavior - and the stick, taking away privileges and toys. If anything we feel we are too strict but we can't allow her to shirk her responsiblities.
Bottom line, she wants what she wants, and she wants it now. Anyone have anything to add to the mix?
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 4, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

It sounds like you have tried many approaches and have sought advice from several professionals. You also say that you feel you are too strict. While it is important for children to have structure and routines, it is also very important to be flexible and to have compassion and empathy with our children.

If you find yourself getting into power struggles with you daughter, it is time to step back and decide if the struggle is really worth it. It can be OK to let little things go and to choose your battles. It is much better to have a few solid household rules for young children, rather than a list of expectations that they would find difficult to achieve.

For more parenting advice, please go to our website: www.parenting.org
Boys Town is the creator of the Common Sense Parenting program. You can find more information about possible classes in your area on this website. We also publish Common Sense Parenting books for parents of children of all ages. Our online catalog is: www.boystownpress.org
You can also call our 24 hour hotline to speak directly with a counselor.

Thanks again for reaching out today. Take care and best wishes to you and your family!

Sincerely,

Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
hotline@boystown.org
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Additional Answers (2)

geoleoan
geoleoan writes:
My son is also a very strong-willed child. I also started looking for help from specialists, until i realised that the child didn t have any problem, but us. We weren t unanimous and persistent to the rules at setting  limits and punishment. We worked on this base but the most important element was, love. I  prove him, everyday that no matter what he is doing i love him because he is my child. I love him for what he is. I  discuss  with my child about how he feels, i propose things, i try to saw him the disadvantages of his behavour and the best tool is the  use of stories (i make a fairy tale that fits to my point) to show him my message. I dont command, i ask. It may take a while, but when he is ready   to do something or try something he always keep his promise.We have long way, but everyone can see a huge change the last months. Now when i ask him to do something i only ask twice!
keep up the good work
> 60 days ago

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Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
Hi!
Great question and I can tell that you love your daughter very much!  I agree with the expert answer and don't think you will find a better answer than that.  All kids do this, that I've seen anyway, the smarter the child, the more I think that they "test" you.  As I would remind my husband many times and this goes for everything, "choose your battles wisely".  Don't make a big deal out of the petty stuff, they are less likely to listen to you when it is a big deal.

Best wishes!!
> 60 days ago

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