The Key: Consistency
One of the house pops I had the privilege to work with in the residential homes at Sheridan House had a saying that he always used with the kids. It was “hard heads learn the hard way.” This seems to apply to all stubborn children. Some seem to consistently test boundaries to make sure that they are always the same. If we are not consistent with our rules, rewards and consequences it can lead to confusion. Worse then that, it can be very detrimental to the training of our strong willed child. Our no must mean no, every single time. If we are not consistent it can teach them to look for the moments of weakness and exploit them, rather then learn the lesson we are trying to teach. For example, if we have said to our children before entering the grocery store “we will not be buying ______ today,” we need to be prepared for our children to test this. A strong willed child may even attempt a tantrum to see if you will give in. If we do give in to save embarrassment in public then we have taught our child either the no doesn’t mean no when we aren’t at home, I can get what I want by pitching a fit, or both. Consistency is key to training.