#30DaysofThanks, children, girls, grateful, gratitude, growing up, mindful parenting, parenting, respect, thankful

Stubborn, Strong-Willed Children

My four year-old has thrown a big fit every day for the last three days. Actually, I think she threw more than one yesterday. And she is not just four; she is four and a half. As she’s gotten bigger, so have her fits. I should call them tantrums I suppose, but I feel like a tantrum is something done on purpose and with purpose. A fit feels more like something that takes you over, that you can’t help. And I think she’s been having fits. I’ve decided they are Growing Fits.

My youngest is not shy. She says what she means. She has an opinion about everything and will tell you all about it. My oldest is a bit more introspective. She’s not quite as willing to share everything, but has always been pretty set in her ways. Neither girl is easy to sway. And sometimes – like this morning – that makes me so tired. But it also makes me thankful.

It can be trying, guiding a child to the correct behavior when they have absolutely no interest in listening to you. But I imagine it’s hard on them as well, trying to figure out how everything works and what they are big enough to do and not big enough to do. Sometimes, the fault is mine in expecting that my bright, articulate children are ready for something for which they are not actually mature enough. And sometimes they create their own problems by insisting on their ways and ideas, not accepting the necessary hierarchy that comes with being a child.

Trying as it may be, I am thankful that my children have strong opinions. I am thankful that they are not afraid to use their voices and cannot easily be pushed to change their minds. For although it can be difficult to navigate these aspects of their personalities as part of a parent/child relationship, these traits will help them navigate their worlds as adults.

So my job is to make sure I don’t squash those qualities while also teaching them respect and the consequences of not following rules. And to let them know how much I love that they are stubborn and strong-willed and how they should also be thankful for those traits. Wherever they came from. Because I don’t know anyone else like that.