Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Hard Headed /strong willed children

Posted by on Jul. 24, 2013 at 11:59 PM
  • 30 Replies

My son will be 5 in October and ever since he was 3 he has been a strong willed child. I believe that he should be able to make decisions about his life to some extent so I do not want to break his will however I am having a hard time parenting him. He is constantly an uphill battle and testing every limit he can. Time out, bear hugs, spankings all seem to be worthless, jokes to him. 

I would like to know from parents of other strong willed children what works for your kids?

Before people start commenting though just so you know I spend a good bit of time with my son, I am a stay at home mom and go to school so I am with him most days except when school is in when he goes to prek himself. He is very well behaved when it comes to listening to teachers and my husband but most everybody else he will backtalk and yell no and then you have to sit there with him crying for about 30 minutes before you can get him to do what you asked him to (if he doesnt want to) and the crying is like a full blown tantrum with kicking screaming, hitting, and punching hard. Like I said above I allow him to make decisions for himself by giving him choices about his clothes, where he wants to play, choices of food etc. Some days are better than others but most are strong willed days. 

by on Jul. 24, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
luvemboth
by on Jul. 25, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Here's a bump. My 3yo is the same way and it's exhausting. I'm curious what others have to say.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
mommie_x0x
by on Jul. 25, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Bump. My four year old is the same way and I also am looking for advice I'm wore out also!
thebailiffs
by on Jul. 25, 2013 at 1:16 AM

Boy I could have written this post, but my son is going on 7 years old and we made it out of 5 and 6 years old. 

These traits (independent, strong willed, stubborn) are all traits that are great as an adult, but suck as a young child. When I read your post I wondered if your son was your only child.  Mine son is our one and only. 

I agree that he needs to make choices, but I really don't think your punishment is successful. If your punishment was working then he would not be sitting for 30 min. throwing a tantrum.  I also would not let our son carry on like that.  I know it is hard to "give in" but sometimes that is what has to be done. I also know his triggers and dont let it go there. I stop it, change the topic or have him do something else. 

Now, when my son acts up I tell him if he continues he will take a nap.  He HATES naps so this is working right now. This has changed a lot over time.  For our son taking his toys/Wii away did not impact him. Some times when it is really bad he will go to bed without a full dinner, but only a cheese stick.  

Yes, he needs to make choices but not when it ends in a tantrum.  

I also learned that many times my son was over tired and needed down time during the day. 

Could you also find classes or some activities to do together? Not sure if you are already doing this.. You have a lot on your plate. 

Hope this helps. 

sbell02
by on Jul. 25, 2013 at 4:31 PM

His tantrums dont really have triggers, the only trigger is him not getting what he wants. Anything from no you cant have cake for breakfast to yes you have to put your shoes on to go ride your bike all start these tantrums. I will not give into my son, I dont want to teach him that these tantrums will get him his way. I do pick and choose my battles however. For example if he really wants play a certain game instead of having lunch right away I do say ok you can play for another 10 minutes and then you have to come eat. It helps a bit to give him certain time frames and staying on a structured schedule however it doesnt help that much. As for discipline I am so lost, because nothing helps at all so far, taking things away, time out, putting him in his room, nap time, nothing works. We recently started like a star chart where he gets stars for listening and helping around the house but it is not really minimizing anything. 

thebailiffs
by on Jul. 25, 2013 at 4:49 PM

I am glad that you are willing to try different methods to stop the behavior.  Trust me I have been there and felt the same way, hopeless. 

I am not asking you to "give in" to him, but I would like you to try to avoid the things that make him tantrum. For example: I know my son HATES going to run errands and is worst when I need him to go with me to do these things.  So I have attempted to go without him.  Like at the end of my work day I will stop at a store and get things.  This is just one example.  It will take time to realize what makes him fall apart. When I do have to bring him I always have something for him to play with or eat, maybe an apple or a sugarfree sucker. 

It really is about control.. So instead of giving him what he wants try to change it so you both get your way.  Your example was great, he wanted to play the game and you gave him 10 min. more. PERFECT, he got to play and you got what you wanted 10 min later.  

If he does well with time. Try to tell him that in 1 hour he needs to do X..

What about making him work, like pick a chore he needs to do and tell him if he doesn't do what you want then he has to, whatever sweep the floor, or clean the counter..

Believe me I have been there in tears.. He is so much better with my husband and listens because my husband rules with an iron fist and he is afriad of him.  But sometimes I think he loves my husband more.  

Try to look at each time when he falls apart and think about what you can do different. This is one of the hardest things about being a parent. 

Hope this makes sense... 

lilbit53009
by on Jul. 25, 2013 at 4:58 PM

my son is 4 and is the same way...here's a bump

he's an only child and a spoiled brat

sbell02
by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 8:07 AM


Thanks for the advice, it makes perfect sense to me. I try my best to avoid the tantrums but when they happen I dont give in. He does better with time frames being given but its still tough. Today I am putting some new things into place to see if they work. 

1) I am going to use a timer for all of our activities so that he knows how long we have to do things. 

2) I am putting in place nap time/quite time(I dont know about yall but but my son stopped taking naps at 3 and now wants to play through naptime which was my quite time and now he never does anything alone. He will not go to his own room and just play alone for any length of time so that I can get other things done.) So nap time will be perfect. I am going to start putting him in his room with all his toys and he may either play quietly for a bit or take a nap.

I am hoping that both of these will cut down on his tempers and his attitude where he thinks he should be able to do and say what he wants to me. 

Quoting thebailiffs:

I am glad that you are willing to try different methods to stop the behavior.  Trust me I have been there and felt the same way, hopeless. 

I am not asking you to "give in" to him, but I would like you to try to avoid the things that make him tantrum. For example: I know my son HATES going to run errands and is worst when I need him to go with me to do these things.  So I have attempted to go without him.  Like at the end of my work day I will stop at a store and get things.  This is just one example.  It will take time to realize what makes him fall apart. When I do have to bring him I always have something for him to play with or eat, maybe an apple or a sugarfree sucker. 

It really is about control.. So instead of giving him what he wants try to change it so you both get your way.  Your example was great, he wanted to play the game and you gave him 10 min. more. PERFECT, he got to play and you got what you wanted 10 min later.  

If he does well with time. Try to tell him that in 1 hour he needs to do X..

What about making him work, like pick a chore he needs to do and tell him if he doesn't do what you want then he has to, whatever sweep the floor, or clean the counter..

Believe me I have been there in tears.. He is so much better with my husband and listens because my husband rules with an iron fist and he is afriad of him.  But sometimes I think he loves my husband more.  

Try to look at each time when he falls apart and think about what you can do different. This is one of the hardest things about being a parent. 

Hope this makes sense... 



emmy526
by Gold Member on Jul. 26, 2013 at 9:10 AM

karate is a good way for kids to get out frustrations and learn how to handle stress without violence or angry outbursts

thebailiffs
by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 11:47 AM

All of thesee sound like great ideas.  You sound like you aredetermined to make things better..

One more thing, make sure he is very tired when he goes to bed. Some physical activities are really important for boys. My son doesn Tae Kwan Do 4 days a week, I really notiice a difference when he is not active. 

Please consider other punishments, maybe pulling weeds... Something. 

Let us know how it goes. Things will get much better once  you find what works.. 

Best of luck

ss_mom_of_four
by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 11:54 AM

I have four kids at every single day at least one of them chooses to act this way. My third daughter above the others. I also tried time outs and spanking but this didn't really help. But what does the best with my children (and it's a pain sometimes) is time out with a talk. When they have done or are doing something that I think is unacceptable, I start counting. Whatever number I get to is the number of minutes they have to sit without making a sound (usually in the living room so I have room to stand like a prison guard lol). If they make sound (laugh or non normal noises) I add a minute to that childs time. I usually give them 2 minutes before I start talking. After that two minutes I tell them everything they did wrong and let them know how I feel about their action (disrespectful, harmful, etc) and the consequenses this could have to others) After I'm done I have them tell me what they did wrong and appologize to me for it and also whoever  they did something to if someone else is involved. 

Sometime just making them say "I'm sorry" to whoever they have hurt and hug them makes the biggest difference.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)