What does it mean to parent a strong-willed boy?
It means picking your battles, because there are endless battles.
It means when he decides at seven months he’d much rather learn to walk than crawl, you’ll spend what feels like an eternity breaking your back as he your hands to walk, until he takes his first steps 2.5 months later.
It means after taking his first steps, it won’t be long until he is going full speed all the time, yet you certainly won’t regret it like they say because your back needed the break.
It means officially giving up that precious afternoon nap at two years young, after you’ve already spent several months prior taking car rides just for 30 minutes of quiet time.
It means even without naps, bedtime can still be a major struggle, and there will be periods where you’ll have to again use car rides as an effective strategy to get him to sleep at night.
It means you secretly sigh in relief when he wants to watch TV because you might have a break from the busy day he’s laid out.
It means he’ll decide when the time is right for things like giving up the pacifier and becoming potty-trained.
It means he’ll have his own ideas and want to figure things out for himself.
It means basically pushing anything on him before he’s ready is not likely to end well—“in his own time” will become your mantra.
It means he’ll carve his own path, and though it won’t always be the one you had planned and it may be the less desirable route, it just might offer a marvelous view.
It means he’ll want to immediately be an expert on anything he tries, even things not at his skill level at the time.
It means when he can’t master those things right away, he’ll scream and cry out of utter frustration, but he won’t give up.
It means you’ll teeter on the edge of give and take, and the line between off-limits and acceptable will often become so faint you’ll wonder if it even exists.
It means there will be times when you do have to darken that line, and it will provoke an epic meltdown.
It means you’ll learn to think outside the box as much as he does just to keep up with him.
It means he interprets the word “no” as “try it another way”.
It means you’ll have to become a professional negotiator/distractor.
It means he’ll have an answer for everything, like when he wants to take the dog to the zoo and you tell him she would scare the animals with her barking, so he recommends taking bricks to stack in front of the animals so she can’t see them.
It means you’ll try not to overreact when he does something completely off the wall, knowing your reaction will only make him want to do it more.
It means as he gets older, things will get easier in some ways and harder in others.
It means there will be days you try everything from being firm to offering options, yet still, there will be power struggles.
It means your patience will be put to the test daily and though you’ll get quite good at staying calm in the midst of a storm, you, too, will reach your breaking point.
It means you’ll have to remind yourself God made you this boy’s mama for a reason, and you have everything it takes to raise him well.
It means as independent as he is, he will still need you, and the two of you will find a balance in the beautiful chaos that is your life.
It means despite everything, you’ll develop a love of his strong-willed nature, knowing it is exactly what makes him him, and you wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.