Friday, January 16, 2015

Parenting the Headstrong Child

My awesome Katie is about to turn five.  She is hilarious, smart, and loving.  When she is playing, she loves to run back in to the room where I am and kiss me before barrelling back out of the room.  She constantly entertains us with her antics and the way she loves to perform for us.  She likes to script our play time, telling us exactly what we are to say next.  Some of the things she busts out with are the funniest I've ever heard.  I honestly don't think I've ever laughed harder than I do from Katie.  Recently, she came in singing the alphabet backwards.  My husband joked it was her already preparing for her first DUI.  She's free spirited and loves life to the fullest.  She took her first karate class last week and we're now calling her the "Smackdown Princess."   Seriously, it was the greatest thing ever to watch her in karate class. She came out screaming "I LOVED IT!!"  Katie is in constant motion.  She NEVER sits still.

This child is a force. 

With all that said, Katie has her VERY challenging moments.  Once this child gets something in her head that she wants to have, do, eat (you get the point), the word NO is utter and complete devastation.  The last big meltdown was Wednesday morning when she came in announcing she was wearing her slippers to school.  Um...no, you're not.  That lasted a good 25 minutes.  She screamed that her other shoes hurt her too much.  They don't.  She screamed that she is allowed to wear her slippers to school.  She isn't.  She cannot be reasoned with once she gets like that.  She will sometimes put herself in her room until she cools down, but most of the time, she will badger us, scream, cry, etc.  By the time it's all over, all of us are WHOOPED. 

It's not every day, but it a frequent enough occurence for us and her teachers that we are talking all the time about how to help her.  Creating incentives for her to work towards.  Issuing her consequences.  Praising her for correct behavior.  Sometimes it helps.  Sometimes she couldn't give a crap.  Over the years, it's definitely improved.  I think we're at once or twice a week and most she can snap out of easier and faster than a few years ago.  About a month ago, she had a fit at school and woke all her friends up during naptime.  After they finally got her to calm down, she looked at the teacher and said, "uh oh, Mama is going to give me a consequence."  Sure did--no sleeping in my bed that night which she had planned to do since my husband was out of town.  She loves to sleep with me when it's just me so that was definitely something she was sorry to miss out on.  Of course, I then got to deal with the "please, please, please, I'll be better" all night when she knew sleeping with me was a no-go. 

Everyone says "it will serve her well later in life to be so strong-willed."  OK, I get that, but oof, I need her to make it through childhood without losing what little sanity I have too!  We all know I'm a little crazy already, haha!

Do you have the strong-willed child?  Any advice?

At least it's a good thing she is damn cute!

13 comments:

Natalie said...

This is exactly my son. All the way back to when he was a baby, if he couldn't make us understand what he wanted, he would bang his head on the hardwood floor. If I had the audacity to put my hand under his head to prevent floor whacking, he would give me the Glare of Anger, make a three-quarter turn and continue his head banging. Oof is right!!! He is now 10 and it does get better, but I have not found a cure yet! He had a meltdown last night... He used some of his Christmas money to buy an iTunes card only to find out that he couldn't use it until he did the update... which we have to go to my office to do. Lots of door slamming and stomping and begging and pleading and... I am on the same track you are... I told him that he could get happy really quickly and learn to find a bright side and we can do the update today or he can keep grousing and we can do it a week from today. He begrudgingly got happy-ish. If there is a better solution than consequences, I would LOVE to know what it is! LOL!! I do agree, these hard-headed children will change the world. (Possibly by wearing everyone else down, but still.. World changed!)

longinwaiting said...

Maybe it is a "Katie" thing... my Katie is almost 11 and is the same way!! Parenting the Strong-Willed Child is a good read!

Koko Perhe said...

I have a strong willed child as well. My daughter is 10 now and it does get better! I read 'Parenting with Love and Logic' and that has helped so much with her. The basic idea is that you give them a choice, both options work for you, and then let them chose. Then whatever they end up doing it is thier choice. For instance when she wanted to wear slippers to school you could have said 'well, slippers are shoes for home and shoes are for school so, would you like to wear x shoes or y shoes to school today?' It redirects thier thoughts to the choice you gave them and since they made the choice they feel like they have some power over the situation. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't always work and she still knows how to push my buttons and we still have days where I go to bed exhausted! But, overall it has been a great approach for us. Good luck!

Mary Anne Whiteley said...

My daughter is 10 and in some ways it is better and in some ways it is worse. She gets sneaky about things she knows we won't let her do...it can be quite stressful, and she blames us on the consequences, even if it was her choice that earned her that consequence....

Stacy said...

Super Nanny rules (the real/original, not the American replacement one) I think works amazingly. Lay down the law hard, and they quickly learn that sitting on a step/room and losing their "currency" is no fun. They learn good behavior is rewarded and much mor fun! Good luck!

Jess Barber said...

Have you tried removing dyes from what she eats? My son was JUST like this untilbee removed dye. He suddenly has self control he didn't have before!

Jenny said...

I have a friend who jokes about the same thing! We use a hashtag #OhKatie when describing her!

Jenny said...

Interesting! Never thought of trying that. She is a very picky eater too

Kathy said...

This sounds just like my son. I took the argument (on my side) out of the equation. I set a timer and tell him that there is no discussion. If {insert whatever needs to be done here}, isn't finished before the timer goes off...there will be a consequence. He didn't listen one time and all of his cars (favorite toy at the time) ended up in the attic until his listening improved. I've very rarely had to dish out a consequence since. He is 11. For the record, my husband still 'debates' with him and has to deal with the melt downs. Good luck!

Amy Wildberg said...

At our school, we use Check in/check out. The idea behind it is that they get 2, 1, or 0 points 3 times during the day in areas that we want behavior to improve in. Each day we set a goal for the child, usually starting at 18 out of 24 points for the day. You keep track of the points on a chart and the child gets to use the points for rewards. The rewards can be as simple as pick from the prize box, all the way to a fun activity (baking cookies, going bowling, etc). These really work in our school and at home with some of our strong-willed children. Good luck!

Amy

One crazed mommy said...

Both of mine go through phases of being hard headed and stubborn - my daughter has kind of grown out of the fits, for the most part. She is 11, but she has her melt-downs on occasion...but she used to be my "high maintenance child" - oh the fits she used to throw! Now my son is more even keeled, however...he is a Taurus...bull headed, and once he has his mind set, he won't budge. So...yes, there I can relate. He gets very sulky and moody and will glare and stop talking - for example the other night he got upset about something - we were out of town with friends, at a restaurant...he went and sat by himself in another booth and refused to budge...I had to call my husband (who could not go on the trip) - he seems to have some magic touch with him. It wasn't until after that he joined us at the table...but I was stumped as to how to proceed. Very, very frustrating! If he wants something, he wants it NOW! He decided the other night he wanted to spend his saved money for a certain toy, and said "Lets go to Walmart" at 9:00 p.m. on a school night...Ummm - his bedtime is 9:00 p.m., and he just didn't understand why we couldn't just up and go. LOL! Ummm - everyone in the household was in jammies already, so not happening buddy! He went to bed in tears, and I had to send in my "magical" husband to calm him down.

Katie H said...

I 2nd eliminated food dyes. My son is 5 and we did it when he turned 2. It sounds overwhelming, but really isn't. For everything you eat that has food dyes, there is a similar item that does not. For instance, name brand marshmallows have blue dye, but Wal Marts version does not. Weird. Whole Foods is good for suckers and candies if you need and cupcakes to take to birthday parties when they can't have cake. We are super strict with it and refer to it as an allergy, which I believe it is. I would be happy to offer any advice if you are interested in this. It would take 2-3 days to notice a change, but well worth it. Strong willed children are equal parts fun and exhausting. Hang in there!

Anne Marie said...

I have a strong willed child, my middle child. Katie sounds a lot like her and I often wondered if I was going to go crazy before she calmed down. Normally my husband takes over because as she gets worked up and nothing seems to work I begin to loose my cool and its best he takes over. With that said there is hope, they do grow out of it but it will take time. Be consistent on how you handle each meltdown its crucial for her in eventually getting a hold of her self before she goes over that cliff to another meltdown. The other we found works when you can is sending her to her room to have her meltdown so the whole family doesn't have to listen to it. They can rant and rave all they want in their room but not where we are because it's not fair to the rest of us. Now mine is 10 and Katie is still 5 so it will take time for this to work effectively. I can say because I have stuck to my guns on how i handle it the meltdowns have become few are far between. They haven't completely gone away but she is less out of control and easier to get her under control.

The one thing I have noticed the more tired she is the worse they are. If she is worn down because she hasn't gotten enough sleep or the week as been so busy often time brings them on. When that happens is normally not just one thing but "my whole life" issue. Once we calm her and she gets some sleep she's good as new.

Good luck and she will out grow this in time.