“Strong-willed children often grow into strong-willed adults who become world leaders, world shapers, and world changers. Parenting them peacefully is not only possible, it’s imperative because sowing peace in their hearts now while they’re in our care will grow a future of peace later when the world is in their care.”
― L.R. Knost
Gosh raising yourself can be tough. I have to admit that I was a strong willed child, and the same as an adult. And I have 2 strong willed kiddos (one more then the other). Both my husband and I fall into that category so those kids had no chance of being chill.
Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it’s exhausting. And a lot of the time, I am proud. It is a tough world, and if my girls can stand up for themselves and maybe even others, nothing would make me happier.
People who knew me as a child would likely not be surprised that I became a lobbyist and podcaster, who gets paid to talk for a living. I often got told I was too loud, too much, stubborn, AND talked too much. In fact, blabbermouth was a nickname of mine. I look back and chuckle at how the things about me that defined who I was, that made me unique, that gave me superpowers, have helped me thrive in my career. In fact, being strong willed and too much is how I pay the bills. And I have thrived as an adult, where I struggled as a child. I didn't fit society's norms, especially for a girl. Maybe that is why I struggled so much with being put into boxes, I don’t like being defined by others, constrained, or slowed down. I like to shake norms, get results, and propel forward.
In my parenting journey I have encouraged my kids to find their voice. Today they are 9 and 11. As soon as my children were able to speak they ordered their own food at restaurants. If they need something, I encourage them to use their own voice to ask for it. When adults speak to me and ask me about my kids, and they are present, I direct them to ask my kids. My kids sign in at the doctors appointments and know how to shop and pay for things at stores independently. I am raising my children to be independent future adults.
One of my children struggles with anxiety. I have seen her go from needing to present to the teacher in private, to presenting to her class, to leading games at parties. Something I personally love to do, but she loves it, and I want her to grow and challenge herself, so I happily hand the mic to her.
My older daughter was telling me about an activity they did at school where you had to choose 2 words to describe yourself. I asked her what 2 words she would use to describe me. She said, brave and an animal lover. We talked about why she thought I was brave. And I made sure to remind her that I often do things scared, and how I don’t have everything always figured out. I know she pays attention and that she looks up to the example I am setting for her. I know the days I did things scared, and the hard work I put in constantly as a parent and as a professional, is teaching my children amazing things. And I can’t wait to see what a blessing they will continue to be in the world.
So from a strong willed child, to parents raising strong willed kids, a strong-willed child may at times break you, you may cry, you may be exhausted, you may even need to apologize for the way you have reacted to them. BUT the tough days are worth the amazing person you are growing and supporting. They may just do some pretty amazing things. And I think if we listen, they teach us a lot. May we allow them to thrive, may we survive, and may we learn from them. You just need to be brave enough to try, and stubborn enough to continue. Keep going momma, you've got this and that hard work is worth it.
“Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”
- Michelle Obama