For some reason we think that being strong-willed is a bad thing. This is not the case, we would often say that a strong-willed child is controlling or is barking orders at the rest of the household, but this is just a stereotype.
Many people would associate strong-willed people to being like characters such as Monica in the TV show ‘Friends’, however, there is a difference between having strong will and being controlling.
If your teen is strong-willed, they will be less likely to be peer-pressured by other teens, which is a massive bonus as they will be more ‘rock-solid’ against many of the things that lead to upset in teen years.
However, they will also be a bit more difficult for you to deal with, especially in trying times and when you need to discipline them. (See Also: Did I Say That?!’ – How To Apologize To Your Teenager When You’ve Said Something Hurtful)
So, how do you parent a teenager with strong willpower?
Well first off, don’t try to squash them down, accept that being strong-willed is not a bad thing, and think of how you can use their strong will to help them grow, and build themselves.
Strong-willed people make for great leadership types, and can often lead to powerful and successful careers. As you parent your strong-willed teen, think of how you can apply this to their learning opportunities.
Defining A ‘Strong-Willed’ Teenager
Typically, there are two types of temperaments you will find in a strong-willed teenager.
One type will be very independent, very determined, will have plenty of their own ideas, have loads of energy, will be willing to charge ahead, take charge and will likely resist demands.
Another type will be a perfectionist but will also be disciplined, they will have solid ideas on how things should be, they will fear change and be inflexible, will be hypersensitive to hypocrisy, and can stand alone.
They will also resist demands.
A teenager that is strong-willed will want to see their ideas through, will want to have opportunities to be in charge, and they will want to know why, and most of all they want to be respected.
In some ways, dealing with a strong-willed teenager is closer to dealing with an adult.
You can’t walk all over them, and they will not be passive, if they do not want to do something, they won’t.
While this might seem bad now, it is very useful in adult life, as they will have a stronger sense of self-worth.
They also want to be respected, so you can’t make demands, but instead you can ask for help, or offer them options.
A strong-willed teenager is more independent and will want to be treated as an adult.
You need to figure out how to give them the opportunities to learn as a teenager while treating them like an adult.
How To Tell If Your Teen Is Strong-Willed
So, how do you know if your teen is strong-willed? Well, they may bring you to the point of exhaustion.
However, they can be very thrilling.
Once your child has become a teenager, and they are strong-willed, the tantrums will likely stop as they feel more respected as they grow up.
For the most part it is respect that they want.
If they were a strong-willed child, you probably felt exhausted a lot, and you never know when a tantrum would hit or how to react. As a teen, it will be easier.
Disciplining A Strong-Willed Teen
When you have a teen with strong willpower, disciplining them will be hard, you need to find a middle ground, where you are not disrespecting them (this will create an argument/ tantrum), but you are still disciplining them.
This means being an adult about things. Here are some ideas.
Set Clear Boundaries And Rules
The first thing to do is very mature. Simply set clear boundaries and rules in the house.
If they are not allowed to do something in the house, tell them.
However, when you set boundaries, make sure that you adhere to them as well, your child will probably start asking you about them, and wanting to know why they are in place, and if you do not adhere to them… why should they?
Any house rules are worth writing down, maybe even get a poster board made or a plaque that states the house rules.
It will make it clear and obvious and will prevent issues.
Know if you do not stick to the rules, you will get called out.
Don’t Get Into A Power Struggle
Know this if you get pulled into an argument, you will lose. A strong-willed teen will be passionate, and their reasons are absolutely solid.
So avoid arguing with them, if they have been disobedient, done something dangerous or need punishment, just enforce the consequences of their actions and leave.
Focus on the rules, and the goals, so you don’t get pulled into an aimless power struggle.
If your teen thinks you are demanding things from them, they won’t let it slide.
So, don’t say “get your homework done now” instead say “When will you do your homework?
We are thinking of going to the movies to watch that new movie and wanted you to come with us”.
Give Options/ Choices
The best thing to do with a strong-willed teen is to treat them like you would an adult when you talk to them, so give them options and choices instead of demands. Let them choose.
If you need help cleaning, ask them how they think it should be done, ask if they would rather carry boxes, or do the organizing.
Give them options, and they will be more compliant, and make sure it doesn’t sound like demand.
Remember, that with any person, demands are usually seen as rude, no one likes being demanded to do something, it makes us feel undervalued and disrespected, your strong-willed teen understands this, so the main thing you need to do is treat them more grown up and communicate clearly with them.