Parenting a Strong Willed Child

I’m sitting at the Apple store waiting to check in a mini iPad. Why? Because it has a cracked screen. How did that happen? Lily bit it. No joke. She got frustrated playing the  “Minions” racing game and last week she bit her iPad. She bit it so hard that it shattered the screen. I’m not sure whether to be mortified or to laugh a little. Don’t misunderstand me. I think the behavior and lack of self control is NOT okay. But the fact that she unleashed her wrath on the object of her frustration by biting an electronic device. That one’s gonna make me chuckle for awhile.

I started this post almost a year ago. I’ve come back to it several times with every intention of finishing it and somehow I always get distracted and pulled away into something more important. But today is the first official day of summer break and that reminded me of this post sitting here all alone, just waiting to be finished.

If I’m being perfectly honest, another reason I haven’t finished it is because I’m embarrassed that my kid bit her iPad. And yes she does have her own iPad. Go ahead and judge me. The fact that in a fit of rage she bit the iPad still makes me laugh, but it horrifies me a little too. Almost ten months later I can say with conviction that she now does a much better job of controlling her frustration. She uses words and controls her desire to lash out physically when things don’t go her way. We haven’t had a public meltdown in a long, long time. But the private ones still happen. They come fewer and further between. But they happen.

This past Sunday she had her most recent meltdown. It had been brewing all morning and a lost headband as we were headed out the door for church blew the top right off. But this time instead of reacting with physical hysterics it was tears that shook her down. Poor thing became a puddle in my lap, jabbering incoherently about the lost headband, the lack of perfection in the artwork she’d made that morning and her dissatisfaction with the outfit I had chosen for her. In the end we missed church entirely as we sat and comforted her. In the end we found the headband, we discussed at length that art should be fun and relaxing and never perfect and she chose an outfit she liked better.

So we’re not biting iPads around here anymore. She’s still strong willed and I’m resolved that it won’t ever change. And that’s okay. Someday her strong will and true grit is going to come in handy. She’s going to need it and she’s going to use it. For now, I’ll just be happy to not show up at the Apple store with a story to top all others.

Do you parent a strong willed child? I’d love to hear your suggestions and success stories in the comments below. Not quite succeeding yet? That’s okay. I’m right there with you.

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