Ashley recently asked, What ages of your children did you find the most difficult and why?
I remember a time, when one of my daughters was about 3 years old and I sat in puddle of my own tears feeling guilty for not really liking her. We were in the throws of her strong will, strong opinion, and strong emotional reactions.
I just wanted it to be easy. For one day.
Part of the problem was my parenting. I was being a re-active parent rather than a "pre-active" parent. Reacting to her outbursts, reacting to my frustration, reacting with my own emotion. I had to learn to be the adult and plan for her outbursts. Nothing was being solved when I just reacted. I had to make a plan. I also shared the plan with her (during a calm moment). This let her know what to expect the next time she used her emotion/will/opinion to try to manipulate the situation. Don't let that ruffle your feathers. She wasn't manipulative, but 3 year olds know how to push the right buttons. ;)
The next step was for me to be consistent. Once I had a plan, I had to follow through. If I told her she would have to sit on her bed until she gained control, then that's what had to happen. There were a couple of times she sat there and yelled, cried and screamed for an hour. That's the hardest part of breaking a strong will ... outlasting them.
Once she figured out that she wasn't going to win the battle, the war was over pretty quickly. Needless to say, I really like that kid now. I realized it wasn't that I didn't like her. I didn't like parenting the strong will that was bottled up inside her. She still has strong opinions, and I'm okay with that because one day when she's on a college campus and someone is pressuring her to do something, I want her strong opinion to shine.
I have much more to say on this grand adventure of parenting, but I'll stop here for today.
Need some creative ideas for consequences/incentives? Check out this book. It's the most practical parenting book I've ever read:
My all time favorite "expert" on parenting ins Dr. Bob Barnes. He has written numerous books on marriage and parenting. If you ever get a chance to listen to him in person (or on you-tube) I recommend it. He is funny, practical, and wise. I love this particular book: