I swear that my youngest child is going to be the death of me. Can someone please tell me how to handle a pre-teen, know-it-all, strong-willed child? Don’t tell me to read a book either, because I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work. Nothing works. I really believe that her goal in life is to torture me, push every button I have, and fight me over any and everything. I am not sure I am going to make it through her teenage years. I am not even sure I am going to make it through her pre-teen years. I have to say that our relationship has come a long way over the last two years, but the relationship remains the most difficult challenge I have ever been faced with. Nothing I do is ever right or good enough for her. I swear she would argue to her death with me over something as silly as the sky being blue just because I said it was. I feel like no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to win with her. I am really the only one she is combative with, too. It’s like she has this need to make me pay some debt she feels I owe her, or she wants me to feel more miserable than she feels at any given moment. It is so unbelievable to me how both girls came from my body but are so vastly different. I have such a different relationship with the kid that actually is a hormonal teenager than I do with the pre-teen who hasn’t even entered the hormonal phase yet. One actually talks to me and tells me things and listens to me (most of the time), while the other one can barely stand to be in the same room with me. It is so frustrating and heartbreaking at the same time. I wish I knew where I went wrong and the secret for how to fix it. It keeps me up at night, and it consumes my days. It has been this way for as long as I can remember. As I said, it was worse at one time, but things have improved to some extent, which I am grateful for. It is just still so hard sometimes.
I saw a graphic on Pinterest that listed the 10 signs that you have a strong-willed child. I couldn’t find the source of the graphic but thought the list was pretty good. Below are the 10 characteristics of a strong will child according to that graphic I found. I can check off every single one of these as being a characteristic of my daughter. She is definitely a strong-willed child to the 10th degree.
- “They are fiercely stubborn and not afraid to say ‘no’”
- “They are bossy and very demanding.”
- “ They have strong likes and dislikes.”
- “They don’t forget anything and argue like pros.”
- “They are energetic and intense.”
- “They challenge boundaries.”
- “They learn by doing, ask ‘why’ questions.”
- “They are fast paced and impatient and don’t listen.”
- “They have a strong sense of right and wrong.”
- “They are short tempered.”
I know many of my friends would say that one of their kids is certainly more challenging than their other and that one is extremely difficult. We talk about it all the time, and one of us at least is venting about it almost every single day. There is always one kid that pushes us beyond belief. There is always one strong-willed child in the bunch. Why is that? Why does it seem that we all have to be given one child that challenges us beyond what we think we can handle? That is a question I ask in my prayers a lot. There has to be a reason, right? There has to be some lesson in it. Sadly, I don’t think I have learned it yet. I just keep fighting, keep pushing, and praying that one day things will change. We all love our kids beyond measure despite how much suffering they put us through. We want what is best for them and want them to grow up to be strong, independent adults. That is our greatest desire for them and the reason we continue to fight. I know that I am doing my best to not let it break me, but I can assure you that there are those days when I am not so sure I can continue the fight. Those are the days that I pray for strength. I need God’s strength to get me through those difficult days or sometimes weeks, and he comes through every single time. I guess that is the answer to my question at the start of this post. I handle it through prayer. That’s the best defense I’ve got.