Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review: Journey of a Strong-Willed Child

Journey of a Strong-Willed Child

Journey of a Strong-Willed Child is the second book by Kendra Smiley that I had the opportunity to review.  Written with the same encouraging and positive tone as the other book Be The Parent: Seven Choices You Can Make to Raise Great Kids, Kendra Smiley gives you an insightful look into the mind of a strong-willed child. 

Written with her son (now an adult) Aaron and her husband John, Smiley discusses the process of raising a strong-willed child from birth to college.  John adds so much wisdom to each point.  Aaron adds insight into the mind of a strong-willed person.  This book explains the challenges at various points of the childhood experience.

"Strong-willed" has become the "it" word in parenting.  Unfortunately it is used for those children who lack strong boundaries provided by the adults in their life.  Smiley explains that strong-willed children are not simply stubborn.  Strong-willed child choose "fighting and punishment over acquiescence...[and will] resolutely defend his position and question any and all authority over him to determine his or her "right" to retain command."

Momma C's Thoughts:
As a recovering strong-willed child myself and as a mother of more than one strong-willed child, this book was extremely helpful to me.  While it received a lot of "amens" from this reader, I also found myself looking into the air and pondering what I read.  I gained several "ah-ha" moments.

Kendra has such an easy way of writing.  I felt like I was sitting down on her living room sofa, with a hot drink, talking about the joys and challenges of raising a strong-willed child.  I would love to meet John (the father) because it was obvious this man is filled with godly wisdom and patience. 

There were two points that I came away with after reading. 
  1. A strong-willed child is persistent and is even willing to take punishment to win.
  2. A strong-willed child does not necessarily want to control every one else; he simply does not want to be controlled.
There are times when I take my child's disobedience personally.  Kind of like he/she "did" such-and-such just to get back at me.  In reality the child simply wanted what he/she wanted.  Period. 

Here are a few more points that I feel are important:
  • Disciplining a strong-willed child can be frustrating.  This often leads to the incorrect conclusion that a discipline doesn't work.  A parent intermittently reinforces a child's noncompliance by switching strategies.  [Don't bounce from idea to idea.  Pick one and stick with it.]
  • Being clear about your instructions is as important as being clear about your consequences.
  • Everyday you have to decide where you'll draw the line - what behavior is permissible and what will not be tolerated.  You'll have to be ready for battle every day until your child makes his own decision to stop battling.
  • Keep things in perspective.  Always look at the big picture.
  • Don't change the rules.  Think before you make them.  [This is extremely important for a strong-willed child.  They see things black and white.]
  • A strong-willed child is a child who desires control of his world while desiring to be lovingly controlled. 
These points represent a small percentage of the points that I underlined while going through this book.

As a strong-willed person my self, I found this book very enlightened.  I found myself finding answers to why I do some things!  I feel this book would be extremely helpful for those parents who are not strong-willed themselves yet find themselves trying to raise a strong-willed child.  This is not a step-by-step discipline book.  While a few specifics are giving, I wish the authors would have gotten deeper into the nitty-gritty because she obvious had the wisdom to.

I received this book free from Moody Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.