Dear Mom of a strong-willed son, I too, have a son that falls into the “strong-willed” category. I have felt a twinge of guilt for looking forward to rest time and bedtime, to be able to get a break. While lying in my bed at night, I have cried out to the Lord for help and reprieve. There was even one day that I called my husband in desperation and told him that wanted to quit motherhood. Being a parent is not for the weak, but being a parent of a strong-willed child will take down even the strongest parents. It can seem like everyday is a battle of the wills and he seems to never run out of energy for fighting for what he deems worth fighting for.
Three years ago I was at my wits’ end. You know, the day I wanted to quit motherhood (not my best day). For me that day was the day that the Lord changed my perspective when interacting with my strong-willed son. After a hard day that included an epic melt down in the grocery store, lots of discipline, and lots of tears, I finally put him in his room for rest time. I had barely walked into my bedroom when I collapsed in tears on my floor in utter exhaustion. After I called my husband and told him I was quitting motherhood, I felt the Lord telling me to go to my son.
Girl.…I did NOT want to go to my son, but I could not shake the overwhelming feeling that I needed to. I reluctantly went into his room. He was playing so nicely with his trains that he didn’t even look up at me. I didn’t say anything but instead sat on his bed watching him. After a few minutes he came over to me wanting me to hold him. I picked him up and cradled him in my arms like a baby. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I rocked him back and forth and prayed over him. He uncharacteristically fell asleep in my arms. My heart started to soften towards him. It was in that moment that the Lord reminded me that my son’s battle is not with me; it’s a battle within himself and his desires. It was time to stop fighting with my son and start fighting for him.
How do you fight FOR your strong-willed son?
- You pray for him every single day.
- Any time he does something well praise him, encourage him!!
- Find out what his interests are and spend quality time with him doing whatever he loves doing (for us that means going on bug hunts).
- It is so easy to look back on a day with your strong-willed child and realize how much of your interaction with him was discipline or telling him no. Measure your words and determine to say yes more than no. Determine to speak more encouraging words than words used for discipline.
- Move toward your son and not away from him. After a long day with this son, I want to retreat any chance I can but when I take the time to instead spend one on one time with him while his brothers are napping I usually see a complete attitude change in him. The Lord doesn’t leave us in our ugliest moments of sin, lets not leave our boys.
Don’t stop believing in them because one day the Lord is going to use their strong-willed personalities to change the world. But for today I am going to be faithful in loving him and encouraging that strong-will for good.