Before having Miro, I thought “strong-willed child” is a term invented by modern society to justify complaining of modern parents about their children due to lack of discipline.
Oh, boy was I wrong!
As defined by psychologists strong-willed children are people who are not easily swayed away from their viewpoints.
On contrary to Natalia, who was an extremely calm baby, after being fed sleeping for 4-6 hours, her brother had to be fed every 30-45 minutes, constantly carried for the first 6 months and required a lot of attention. And hey ,we are the same parents, one would say with second one it should just get easier due to having experience already, right? Well, not truth in our case;) Do not get me wrong, I love him with all my heart and this is not a post to complain, just to empathise with all my fellow parents of strong-willed children and give a small piece of advice how to survive two first 2 years:)
How to notice if you have a strong-willed child?
From the first day in the hospital – baby will require much more attention than other babies, hysterically crying if separated from a mother just for a short period of time. Needing constant contact, CONSTANT CONTACT.
Any piece of advice to survive first few months?
Get a great baby wrap and baby carrier, it will make your life so much more pleasant for the first 6 months of babies life. When you cook, go shopping, write grant proposals, wherever, whatever you will need a baby carrier with a strong-willed baby.
Give up from the idea of putting a strong-willed baby in a baby bed,,,it will simply waste too much of your energy and it will not work out. Co-sleep with your baby, enjoy the cuddle, time will come for your little one to be ready to separate for the night from you (with Miro I had to wait 19 months:P).
Ask for help. Anyone. A friend, neighbour, family. In order to have a normal shower without a screaming baby, having few minutes of peace, especially during first 3 months you will need help and do not be ashamed of asking for it. There is a reason why we have a phrase: It takes a village to raise up a child.
It will get better. Remember that. Stick it as a magnet on your fridge!
But it does not mean it gets much easier. Each development mile brings new challenges. They are very stubborn. When they want something, you can not simply rationalise it, offer a different choice or any other parenting trick that works with your other child. It just does not work.
For example, Miros favorite outdoor shoes are crocs. And as you can imagine I was not very happy that still in November he was going outside in Crocs. Natural consequences do not really work (hahah ) – even if his feet are frozen he will not admit it! He will want to show you that he is right! So the only way to get rid of crocs before the advent was to hide them in our basement. Sometimes, you just need to be radical:D
Your strong-willed child will test your limits (and nerves) on daily basis. Hang on there, and let them learn from their own experience whenever that is an option.
Encourage independence of your strong-willed child – it will make your life so much easier.
Routines are the key for the dealing with strong-willed children, and this is a tough one for us due to our passion for travelling. But we try to stick to the routine as much as possible, and we are aware of tantrums to appear when we break the routine too much.
What are your challenges with your strong-willed child?