To all the parents with strong-willed/spirited children…


We all know my eldest is…strong-willed? spirited? outgoing? Not really sure exactly what to call it but, yes, I wondered how long it would take preschool to figure this out.

Four days.

Last week, on her fourth day of school, I got in the line to pick her up and I saw a lady look at the name on my dashboard to know which child to bring me and then she went back in the building.

I turned my head the other direction and when I turned back to look at the door out came Little Bug…with her teacher.

Remember, I used to be a teacher.

I knew this wasn’t good.

I geared myself up to hear whatever she was going to tell me about my darling child.

She told me briefly what had happened at school that day and then told me to give her a call whenever I got the chance.

I drove to the end of the parking lot, got out and went to the backseat where Little Bug sat in her car seat.

And we talked about the day.

She admitted she had not obeyed Mrs. S the first time, but her focus was on the little dumb-dumb lollipop that she held in her hand.

She wanted to enjoy her treat – now. But I had to tell her she would not be able to eat that special treat because she had not made good choices at school that day and in order to enjoy special treats we must obey our teacher the first time.

And, yes, of course, a bucket full of tears ensued after that.

And the little dumb-dumb now resides in a spot out of reach but in plain sight so that Little Bug can hopefully enjoy that treat after her next day of school and after she chooses to obey her teachers the first time.

I must admit I was just waiting for this moment. I knew it was going to happen.

When my mother picked me up from preschool she would hear things like, “She actually said a word today!!!” and I knew from the start I was going to be the mother that would get “bad” reports on the misconduct of their child that day.

What I am going to say next is for all the Mamas out there with a little firecracker of a kid who is strong-willed and spirited or whatever you want to call it…

When I was pulling out of the school that day I could have allowed myself to be embarrassed that I am “that parent” with the child who misbehaves.

But, no.

Yes, I am the parent of one of “those kids”: the strong-willed firecracker type – but are not ALL kids interesting little creatures that need to taught, molded and trained in the ways of the Lord?

It’s just that these little strong-willed firecracker types stand out among all the rest because they naturally call attention to themselves. They are not wall flowers (like I was as a child) and they need their parents to teach them, mold them and train them in the ways of the Lord.

It’s not easy.

There are times when I think to myself, I do not know how to raise this kid!!

But I refuse to fall prey to the stereotypical views of parents of “these kids”. And neither should you!

Instead, we must seek the LORD for wisdom in raising these children and figure out what behavioral methods work to bring about positive results.

I don’t know what causes her to feel the need to decide that even though ALL the kids in her classroom are happily painting, she doesn’t want to paint, so she is going to take her smock off and declare, “I do not want to paint!”.

I see something special within the heart of my strong-willed firecracker kid! God is going to do something amazing with that strong spirit. She won’t give up easily in life and she will be determined to see things through to the end.

As her parent, it is not my job to feel embarrassed because my child’s 3 year old preschool teacher came out to my car to talk to me on the fourth day of school! It is my job to be informed about what is going on at preschool so I can continue to mold this little girl into the Godly woman God desires her to be.

It’s an exhausting job, but one that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the entire world.

6 thoughts on “To all the parents with strong-willed/spirited children…

  1. Hey there!

    I just had to laugh as I read through your post today. Soooo funny! This relates very well to my day as I am a teacher myself. Today was just a HARD day. Most minutes I had three or four students doing whatever they pleased and disobeying my every word. Especially in a classroom setting it is so hard not to just shout, be angry and yell at them but to remember that it is us who mold them. Not every child who disobeys in school or makes bad choices has a parent at home to reneforce how to act and to mold them to become strong and independent, yet respectful and obeying in the right circumstances. Becaus it is that balance which is so hard to find. Obeying is the first thing to learn before children can be given the freedom to choose what is right for them.

    And as you wrote: I would not trade this job for any other in this world because as exhausting as it may be – it is worth every hard day in the end!

  2. I read somewhere that the children that are “firecrackers,” strong-willed, spirited children are the ones that grow up to be leaders, the trailblazers, the inventors, etc. LB has an awesome mommy to help mold those traits into something really great!

  3. I agree with Katie. You know what we went through with Micah at preschool (and just daily!!) and how strong-willed and flat out stubborn and defiant he can be. I pray those traits are molding him to be one who will not give in to peer pressure. A godly man who will be bold for the Lord. Micah is a challenge sometimes, but I know that God has awesome things in store for him… and LB!!!

  4. OH Elaine…I am the mom of “that kid”. My William is a bright, loving and awesome boy…but his willfulness and high spirit work to drive me insane most days. He is 4 now and I have had my fair share of “talks” with his teachers over the past two years. I worry so much that he will not be ready for kinder (not due to knowledge) due to his impulsiveness and energy level. He just can’t seem to reign it in and we work sooo hard to help him bring down his excitement level to no avail. I was watching 19 kids and counting not too long ago and the mom was talking about how they actually train their young ones to be still….they put them in a chair and then go about their business and just help them build the self control skills to sit and be still for a set amount of time. I am seriously thinking I need to start doing this with William so he learns the skills needed to slow down and regroup. He is soooo physical about everything he does and often is in trouble for hitting or being to physical….so I do feel for you but I also agree that in no way should I be embarrassed that my beautiful boy gets in trouble sometimes. He is super smart and this willfulness and energy will some day serve him well…it is just a challenge in these early years to teach him to harness it and use it for good and not evil (ha ha). I look forward to more updates on LB and preschool.


  5. I could write a novel on this…and probably will. Miller is the exact same way. One day in K-3, they were cleaning up and he just folded his arms and said he wasn’t going to. His teacher (who still loves him to this day) called him strong-willed. You know it’s bad when the teacher says he is strong willed. Then in pre-K, he butted heads with his teacher a lot. After many bad days, her and I had to sit down and come up with a plan. She put him in the car for months (every day) and would tell me how he was. Knowing that he would get in trouble at home too seemed to help his behavior some. Then last year in Kindergarten his teacher had a conference with me where she all but said (b/c she cannot) that she thinks he has ADHD. Perhaps he does but we weren’t ready to go down that road yet. He’s impulsive, stubborn, and has more energy than most kids his age (trust me…all his teachers have said this and we’ve noticed it ourselves). I thought the 3’s were going to kill us all (and it didn’t help that daddy was deployed). But some of the stubborn and strong will has subsided. He is learning (albeit slower than I’d like) what is appropriate when. You just have to be super vigilant as you already are. It’s so tiring to parent a strong willed child but I truly believe there is room for so much growth as they get older. My hubby and I have been talking a lot lately about how his temperament mixed with the fact that he is the most extroverted person I’ve ever met (and I’m an extrovert) mean that he has the potential to make such a huge difference in middle and high school. His teachers last year mentioned how all the other kids are drawn to him and everyone loves him. We are praying now that we can figure out how to harness that for good so that he uses it for God as he gets older. It is a gift, they just need to know how to use it. It’s a daunting task as a parent but I can only imagine how amazing it will be to see when they are older.

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