Lessons From Raising A Strong-Willed Child

I have heard all the terms. Used all the terms. Everything from “strong-willed” to “spirited,” and the list goes on and on. While many of those terms apply to my beautiful daughter, they don’t tell the whole story. One term certainly doesn’t depict everything about a person, but for the purpose of this post I will use the term “strong-willed child.”

It’s all about perspective. I am tired of seeing articles that talk about how to “manage” a strong-willed child. What about embracing their amazing qualities? What about looking at your child with positivity, while still being the authority figure? Through this wonderful experience called Motherhood, I have learned to be creative while embracing my daughters amazing qualities.


Strong-willed doesn’t mean defiant. In truth, it just means she knows exactly what she wants. (Of course that doesn’t mean she always gets it.) Honestly, sometimes I wish I were as decisive as my toddler. It would save me a lot of time.

To combat the meltdowns that come from having a decisive mind, I try to make sure to give her choices so she has the opportunity to exercise her quick and decisive skills. When I allow her the option to choose between two things, I always make sure I am comfortable with both options. This way its a win, win for both of us. Even though this quality can stir up a good meltdown on any given day, I don’t see it as a problem. Decisiveness is a great quality, one I hope she carries with her into adulthood.


My daughter is very expressive. She always demonstrates how she is feeling – from happy to silly, upset, or just plain mad. Between her facial expressions and dramatic body language, I often tell my husband she could be an amazing actress one day! I love how her big button eyes widen as she rushes to give me a hug and the way she shakes her little arms in a dramatic fashion while describing the day’s events to my husband.

strong-willed child

Part of her dramatic way of expressing herself is through tantrums. If you have a toddler, I am sure you can relate. Of course her biggest tantrums occur when we need to leave somewhere fun. For a long time I would just carry her out kicking and screaming. Now, I have gotten more creative with my strong-willed beauty by trying to redirect her attention in order to make leaving a smooth transition. During our library outings I direct her attention to the elevator when it’s time to leave. From her perspective, the elevator is a fun ride she has the ability to control with the push of a button.

Of course, they are many places where an elevator or other shiny distractions are nowhere to be found. In these situations, I grab my phone, pull up a Minnie Mouse video clip, and hand it to her. Before she even realizes it, we have our coats and she is sitting in her carseat. Recently I was talking with a friend about this, telling her that sometimes I feel I am just placating her so we can leave without a scene. She simply said, “You are.” My friend went on to say that sometimes you have to do what you have to do to make it through. I appreciated her honesty. Its always great to have that mommy support, no matter what the reason.

I love my decisive, expressive toddler. Not only does she bring so much joy into our home, she forces me to use my creative problem solving skills. There is nothing negative about that!

Each day that I am blessed with raising this strong, amazing little girl is something to celebrate. Sometimes it’s all about changing our perspective and attitude when we talk and think about our children.

I feel raising a strong-willed child, if we are still using that term, has made me a better mother. My creative juices are constantly flowing. I have the ability to look at a challenging situation and find the positive. Our outlook on parenting has a huge impact on how we embrace our children. While parenting has its challenges for anyone, I prefer to embrace the positive. I don’t need to “manage” or fix my strong-willed child. I need to continue loving and embracing her wonderful qualities.

strong-willed child



Nikki Wildemuth
Nikki is new to the area. She graduated from the Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Campus in 2009 with a Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education. She married her husband the same year. Nikki loved the creativity of teaching and continues to bring that same creativity as a stay at home mom. During the day you can find her chasing after her precocious toddler. By night she is a Pinterest junkie! She enjoys getting out and spending time with her family!


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