Dear Mama of a Strong-Willed Child,

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” He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:29-31

Honesty and truth get us where we need to be.  If we sugar coat and go through the motions in hard places, we will have missed the lessons to be learned and we will fail to see the beauty that will rise from the ashes.

And it will rise.

So in the spirit of embracing hard, let me give you moms who are raising a strong-willed child some encouragement.  I’ve walked this path.

I’ve exchanged stories with other moms only to see their eyes widen and their loss for words when I shared the latest story of my child.  I’ve experienced the doubt that comes when my parenting seemed to have zero effect on said child.  I know what it’s like to see your child realize that something is different about them but they just can’t quite put their finger on it.

My husband and I didn’t always get it right, but we learned a lot through the years. I’m sharing a few nuggets here in no particular order, except this first thing, hear me:

*I know you’re tired.  It’s okay to admit it, to have spontaneous cry fests, to need a nap and to lock yourself in a room for just ten minutes of peace.  Take care of yourself.

*Your marriage comes before that child. Go on date nights and do not discuss your children for more than 5 minutes. Don’t feel sorry for the baby sitter either. Your child will still be alive when you get home.

*That strong personality you see in your child was God-given. When you are frustrated and exhausted, remember that taking out your frustration on him or her is a selfish act. It may make you feel better for a moment but it does nothing to help teach your child what is right.  Get down on their level and make sure they understand what it is you are trying to convey. Otherwise, they won’t remember what you said but only that you looked really scary when you were saying it.

*Your child has a spirit in them that is inquisitive and wide open. It’s the place the Holy Spirit will reside some day. Be careful not to crush it.

*That behavior that absolutely drives you bonkers…it’s not about you. Your child does not have a personal vendetta against you. I promise.

*Those questions that your kid keeps asking…answer them. One day your child may be the smartest adult in a very large room and answering all the questions will have been part of the building blocks to get them there.

*You are the parent, not your child.  Parent them even when it appears they think they are the boss.

*At the end of those days when you’ve had to be more negative than positive with your child, round off the evening with a bucket load of grace. Your relationship with your child is more important than the rules. He or she needs to hear that.  If you’ve had a hard day, you can bet your child has too.

*If you have other children in the home, make certain you are spending time with them one-on-one.  Your strong-willed child is taking up a lot of space in your home, figuratively speaking, and their siblings need your assurance that you value and love them equally.

*Find you some people who have walked this path ahead of you. I know it’s tricky when you want to be careful who you confide in, but pray and ask the Lord to put someone in your life that you can talk to.

*Speaking of prayer…pray.  A lot.  God’s plans are for you to succeed as a parent and as a family.  Your faith will be the vessel that carries you through all the years and all the stuff.

*Be your child’s biggest cheerleader. I can assure you that on certain days, they’ll feel like they have no one who quite understands them.  You get to be that person.  It’s a privilege.

Oh how I wish I could give each of you a hug!  Mercy, I’ve never questioned anything more in my life than how to guide this precious child of mine.

You are raising leaders.  World changers.  Influencers.  You get to be a part of it! You were hand-picked to parent this child and God knows what He is doing.  You are doing a better job than you think you are and your perseverance will pay off so hang in there!

Sincerely,

A Well-rested Mama of a Thriving, Successful Strong-Willed Adult

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