February 13, 2009

Journey of a Strong-Willed Child

Lately I've been reading a lot of informational type books and loved it. I'm not in school anymore so I feel like I'm learning again. This week I read about raising strong willed children, next week about teaching, and the week after about different mindsets. I'm learning a ton and feel great again.

Journey of a Strong-Willed Child was one of those books that I started reading with one mindset and ended reading with a completely different one. The first mindset was that this is a lot of kids out there. The second mindset was that oh wow, this is actually talking about me. The book goes through the life of a child and methods to helping a strong-willed child become a responsible adult through discipline, teaching, and a lot of love.

When I first started reading A Journey of a Strong-Willed Child all I could think about was, wow this reminds me of my brother. Everything in the book reminated with me as things that made complete sense. A child that would rather deal with the punishment than do what they are supposed to. Or a child that manipulates and takes control of authority figures around them if they allow it. The book goes through the best ways to deal with these strong-willed children and all of the methods made perfect sense. For instance, rather than threatening your child with some outrageous punishment like I'll ground you for life, threaten with a punishment that you can actually made good on (you can't go out this weekend).

And then came the epiphany. I called my mom and was telling her about this book I was reading, and she told me, "You were the first kid I had to buy the strong-willed child books for." Oops. Apparently the reason all of these things and ideas made sense to me were because they were me. Reading the remainder of the book the case studies and quotes were no longer about my brother or any other kids out there, they were about remembering how my parents got me from a strong-willed child to a responsible adult.

And a lot of the ways my parents did it were listed in the book. Two of the main things I got out of Smiley's book were first that no matter what you do, you always need to make sure your child knows that you love them. And second, teach them to God's way and be an example of obedience and living your life with right choices. If you set a good example, they are more likely to follow. They may not always, but if not you've done the best you can do.

I loved the format the book was written in. It was kind of like an informal classroom discussion. Kendra Smiley wrote about her experiences with her strong-willed child Aaron and her advice for dealing with certain circumstances. After Kendra, Aaron and John (the resident dad) give their own take on the scenarios, and it's interesting to see from the different points of view. Also intermingled with Kendra's explanations, there are quotes from parents that have strong-willed children themselves. They made me laugh and cringe at the ways these children sometimes get the best of their parents.

Overall this was a good read, and I learned a lot about a subject I thought I knew little. I would recommend this book to anyone that is dealing with what you believe to be a strong-willed child or even a child that is maybe a little difficult to manage. Kendra Smiley gives some great advice and tactics that I may take to heart when I raise children of my own.

For more information you can visit Kendra's
website or other reviews of this book.


  1. It's always interesting when you get unexpected revelation about yourself when you read a book!

  2. My grandson would fall into this category. He suffers from some sensory issues because he was a preemie. It can be very trying at times and even frightening.


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