Willful child

Jenelle - posted on 11/06/2008 ( 13 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 4 and is really curious about God, but she is so willful that she doesn't want to do anything obiedent for long. Her will is so strong that she will literally hurt herself to get her own way. Any advice on how to show her how God feels about this, to show how much she needs to think of others, and disciplines that could work would be a God send. Thank you

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Jenelle - posted on 11/13/2008

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thank you so much...I am feeling so encouraged by all of your advice and prayers. Thank you for helping me to remember that God is in control and that He really does know what He is doing even if I struggle to rise to the occasion. Again thank you so much for your loving support.

Lori - posted on 11/11/2008

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I have 2 strongwilled children. Not as much as what you seem to be going through. I read "The Strongwilled Child" by Dobson. It helped me lots. The biggest thing I learned was that you have to win the battle. You CAN'T let that little love bug win. It's hard at times, but the results are proven. Unfortunately, they like to test us more often than we like :( The other thing is that you have to be consistent. I think that's harder than winning the battle. AND PRAY!!! If your child has an interest in things of God, walk her through the salvation process. She is old enough to get the basics. And the Holy Spirit will be working in her while you are working on her. God bless you.

Jayna - posted on 11/11/2008

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I'm also the mom of a strong-willed daughter, age 4. From about 18 mo. until just recently, she was extremely difficult. I've shed many tears and cried out to God for wisdom on how to love and discipline her consistently. And by God's grace, she recently seems to have turned a corner in the right direction. I guess I say this to encourage you to press on, continue to be consistent, and pray always. Know that you are loving your daughter as you teach her to obey your authority. If she can learn to submit to your God-given authority, she can submit to God's authority when she is better able to understand. God does not make mistakes, and he does not give us more than we can bear (although it doesn't always seem that way). He was sovereign in making you her mommy, and she your daughter. But regarding your daughter's fits/tantrums (even hurting herself): I would say that's a self-control issue. She is letting her emotions and anger out of control when she doesn't get what she wants. One thing you might try (if you haven't already done so) is be proactive about teaching her about self-control when things are calm and normal. Scripture is full of wisdom on self-control. And we trust God to help us in our weaknesses (ie. self control), he is glorified in helping us! I've actually read all the books others have recommended, and they do help you think through different approaches with strong-willed children. "Don't Make Me Count to Three" (Plowman), was wonderful in teaching how to not only discipline wrong behavior, but to also teach how to choose right behavior and why. It was also a funny read :-) But be careful with any book on discipline. We don't have cookie cutter children, and even godly advice from a trusted author doesn't work for everyone. If you do A, B, and C with your child, this doesn't mean she'll automatically do X, Y, Z. God is our constant, and supplies all our needs, even the wisdom to discipline and train our children, and he is wholly trustworthy!

Donna - posted on 11/11/2008

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If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

I had a boy extremely strong willed and a girl and three others more obedient/compliant to varying degrees. In my experience (my youngest is now 19) the stronger willed children are more determined in life, with goals they are going forward to accomplish. But don't be afraid to be the parent. Kids NEED parents; that's why God gives them two. Four is one of the hardest ages too. It's like repeating the two's. Hang in there.

Krista - posted on 11/11/2008

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I pray for strong willed children...most people think that's crazy. I was always very strong-willed, but what my parent's didn't see was that it was because I knew what I wanted (which isn't a bad thing). they were too concerned with wanting things done "their" way they totally missed that the same result could be accomplished in a different way. they never had to worry about peer pressure with me because no one could talk me into doing anything I didn't want to do and out of all 4 of my brothers and sisters my mom has admitted to me that I've given her the least trouble. She probably just thinks differently about things than you do. My mom pressed so hard for me to keep my room spotless that I totally rebelled, but when she left me alone to take care of things myself I did it. Teach her right from wrong and let her know that you trust her and expect her to do what's right. give her a chance to do things her own way and I bet you'll get a good result. 4 year olds are very observant, if she feels like you don't trust her to do what's right, she'll give you reason not to, but if she knows you trust her she'll make sure she maintains that trust with you by doing what's right.

Susan - posted on 11/11/2008

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Dear Janelle, a strong willed four year old needs a strong willed parent to make sure that she lovingly enforces the rules and is consistent with rules. Self abuse is concerning. You did not say what she does but if she tries to hurt herself it is important to restrain her so that she does not do that and reassure her how important she is to God and how much he loves her and wants her to take care of herself. It is hard for a 4 year old to think about others. That will come as she sees you and others around her sharing and caring.

Jenelle - posted on 11/11/2008

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Thank you so much for all of your suggestions and help. I will continue to pray about the best direction for me to go with my daughter. I try to keep remembering how God has made her and all of her positive attributes as well and keep affirming those as much as I am able. Thank you again and I will consider each piece of advice carefully.

Lisa - posted on 11/11/2008

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My third child was really strong willed and I read everything, including Dobson's "Strong Willed Child". However the best book I have read that helped me understand his strong will and how to best work with him was, "You Can't Make Me" by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. It was eye opening for me. Having a strong willed child can be difficult, but can also be a blessing when they learn where to plant their feet. The book is written by a Christian and she herself is a strong willed person, which gives great insight to how God's word applies to the situation and how to best deal with a strong will. Hope that helps.

Fiya - posted on 11/07/2008

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Prov. have alot of direction about diciplining children. The most important key is being consistant with it. People can talk about books but it isn't the Word of God. Also parent goes in and out of trends like fashion. Look at how it was and how it is. People said for a while dicipline, now don't just put them in a time out. They need control. Read those Proverbs you will see that is not what the Bible says and parenting is not a fashion trend!

Christina - posted on 11/06/2008

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hey jenelle, we need all the help and support we can get. sometimes it feels like it's us against them, but God has bigger plans for our daughters and ourselves and we will make it.

Jenelle - posted on 11/06/2008

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Thank you for the encouragement. Sometimes it's so over whelming and I'm not sure what to do next, so thank you very much!

Christina - posted on 11/06/2008

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jenelle, my daughter is almost 4 and i can completely relate. she fights about everything. it seems like it will be impossible for her to bend her will to the things of Christ, but try to remember that once that will is in the hands of God, little if anything will ever sway her. just try to keep reminding her that Jesus is our boss and that EVERYONE has to obey rules (of God, of the country, of the state, of the house). keep up the good work. God is in control and knew that these little fighters needed us to be they're mommies!!!

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