To the Parent of the Strong-Willed Boy

You've never met a more determined child

Is his strong will wearing you out?

You’re not alone! I’ve helped many parents with their strong-willed children, and I have some key tips to help you through it.

Each child moves through the world in his or her own way. Some children are soft-spoken and reserved. Others are loud and adventurous. In my book, The Child Whisperer, I call the four main ways that children move through life the 4 Types of children.

The Determined Type 3 Child is often seen as strong-willed.

These children move through the world with a forward push. They’re active and hands-on. They get into everything as little children and they often move into action without thinking as teens. Parents and teachers can get worn out by their high energy.

Here are some key insights to help you embrace this child’s determined will as a gift…

1. Your son is capable of more than you may think.

Your Type 3 child likely has a natural confidence in his abilities. And he is determined to make things happen.

He can handle a lot of experiences you might think are too challenging for his age. In fact, because of his natural drive, he may be able to do many things that other children at his age might not.

TIP: Encourage your son in his big pursuits. Trust your son and your own intuition to guide you in what to let him try. If he constantly gets resistance from you, he’ll just grow up to do his own thing and not involve you. But if he feels supported, you will build a relationship of trust with him, where he knows he is allowed to be himself.

2. Your son receives the message that he’s “too much” to deal with.

Your child’s energy is bigger than he is when he’s young. He doesn’t always know how to manage his forward-pushing energy all the time.

He can easily be labeled the “difficult child.” Many Type 3 boys distance themselves from adults who place this judgment on them in order to feel more freedom.

TIP: Words matter. Don’t label your ambitious and determined son as difficult or defiant. He isn’t intending to upset you. Remind yourself this his big, loud energy can also be called fiery, determined, eager, ambitious, and fully alive.

3. When he is loud and physical, it doesn’t mean he needs discipline.

Type 3 children first relate to the world physically. They are hands-on and they move with a swift energy. This can looks like your son being loud or rough-housing with kids in a way that needs correction.

He’s not bothering people on purpose. He’s just moving through the world with big energy that he needs to learn how to manage.

TIP: Make sure he has plenty of physical outlets in his day. Allow him to teach you what activities suit him. Activities that involve a physical experience are very supportive and will set him up for success. This doesn’t just include sports, it can also include mechanics, woodworking, carpentry, and anything with an entrepreneurial learning experience. Instead of seeing him as aggressive, support him in experiences that let him be a go-getter.

4. He needs your direction and support in his big pursuits.

Just because he is determined and willing to take risks, doesn’t mean he always knows what’s best for himself. He still needs your perspective.

When it’s fitting, he needs your help to re-direct his energy toward something safer or more appropriate based on your family’s schedule.

TIP: Support your son by learning to manage your “no’s.” As parents we do need to tell our sons “no,” but pay close attention that you’re not saying it unless it’s truly necessary. More than any other Type, your son needs to feel free to explore and to go on self-directed adventures. 

5. When he’s tired or hungry, he will act out more often.

Your son’s body will respond negatively when his diet is not nutritious, or when he needs rest. This can look like tantrums when he’s younger. As he gets older, this can look like taking on too much.

If he learns to listen to his own body’s physical cues, he will grow up to get a lot done, without burning himself out.

TIP: When he’s small, make sure his diet is healthy and that he’s getting enough rest. As he grows, teach him to listen to his body and to eat when he’s hungry and rest when he’s tired. 

BONUS TIP: This goes for you, too! When you feel overwhelmed, make sure you take a break from your Type 3 son. Give yourself moments of rest. Take care of yourself. Then you’ll have the patience you need to support your son in becoming his best self.

Your Type 3 son’s energy will help him pursue challenging experiences. Tell him to keep going for it! His gift of determination will help him succeed.

Are you parenting a Type 3 son? If so, go back and review the Type 3 section in The Child Whisperer book from time to time.

A refresher will be supportive to you! If you don’t know which Type of child you’re parenting, pick up a copy of The Child Whisperer. You’ll learn how to read your child more clearly and create more cooperation and happiness in your home.

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