Every parent that I’ve ever met who is going through the terrible twos with their child thinks that their child is strong willed. I hate to break it to all those moms that think they have their hands full, but being stubborn when you don’t get your way at the age of two is NOT an automatic sign of a strong willed child. Being stubborn when you don’t get your way is normal at the age of two. Throwing a temper tantrum is normal at that age as well. Continuing to do so past the ‘terrible two’ stage is not a sure sign of being strong willed either but more likely a sign of being spoiled. However, there are signs that truly strong willed children display, and they do start in the ‘terrible two’ era. Having many of these signs is a likely indicator that your child has an iron will that will carry him/her into adulthood.
Highly Creative and Intelligent
I know. I know. All parents love to think their little dears are creative and intelligent. Without getting into a lengthy discussion on intelligence, I will tell you that for the most part that’s true. All kids have gifts and talents that show themselves pretty early in life.
But a strong willed toddler tends to look at the world differently. Problem solving is not frustrating, but rather a challenge. Trees can be purple and don’t you dare say otherwise.
I mentioned in my first blog that for Meghan, she thinks so far outside the box, I’m not sure a box exists in her world. When she was two, she couldn’t quite communicate that, but an obstacle. . .well, was no obstacle.
The Need to Be Understood
Often times a toddler will get frustrated because he can’t make you understand him. But for the strong willed child the frustration at being misunderstood is monumental. Why? Because they are so sure that if you’d only understand, they’d have the problem fixed and life could go on.
I remember Meghan at the age of two, needed for us to repeat to her what she was saying. Then, and only then, could we say ‘no’. Simply saying ‘no’ without communicating to her that we understood (and at two, she was not that easy to understand) was almost like begging her to throw a temper tantrum.
The challenge of raising a strong willed toddler is to help channel that energy into something positive. Look later for a few more characteristics of strong willed toddlers and then we’ll finish the series with some creative discipline tips on how to deal with this stage!
Have you read the other blogs in this series?