What the Bible Says About Raising Strong-Willed Children
Raising children is not easy. You love your child unconditionally, but it takes a lot of patience to handle him -- especially if he is strong-willed. Strong-willed children want their way and will let you know in no uncertain terms what their desires are and how you should fulfill them. They also have a hard time knowing when to stop arguing, because they want to win. The Bible might help you get through to your strong-willed child ... and it could save your sanity in the process.
Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." This means that parents have a responsibility to teach their children morals and proper behavior. This verse promises that when a child gets older, he will remember these teachings. Of course, this doesn't help you when you're in a store with your child who has been screaming for 30 minutes so you will buy him a toy. This verse can give you assurance that your child does listen to the advice and admonitions you give him and hopefully will reflect and act on them as he grows up.
A strong-willed child often has trouble obeying authority. You should continue to emphasize to your child that respect and obedience will be necessary at home and school and other places where adults are in charge. Teach them Colossians 3:20: "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."
Three- to 5-year-olds are very capable of memorizing this short verse. It might help you to remember 1 Thessalonians 5:17: "Pray without ceasing!"
Proverbs 13:24 tells us, "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." Strong-willed children might be unaffected by a spanking. In fact, it could make them even more determined to get their way. Your approach to discipline may have to be tempered with gentleness as referred to in Galatians 5:22-23, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
Ephesians 6:4 says, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." This means that parents can make their children become angry and bitter adults if they always deal severely with them or withhold affection. Even a strong-willed child needs to know that his parents love him. You should communicate this often. 1 Peter 4:8 is a wonderful reminder of this: "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." This might help you keep your patience and sanity in the years to come.
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