Everything that drives me crazy about having a strong-willed daughter also makes me equally happy. I know it may sound crazy when I say this challenging behavior makes me happy because in the heat of the moment I honestly just want to rip out my hair! However, when I reflect on the things that challenge me about parenting a daughter with such a strong, outspoken, stubborn, care-free personality, I’m reminded that many of these qualities make her a natural leader, and we need more leaders!
We need people to be persistent in the pursuit of what they want in life.
We need people to live in a more care-free state of being.
We need people to be more outspoken, especially about issues that matter.
In fact, we need people to stand their ground, and if that means being a bit stubborn, then so be it.
We need more strong-willed children and although the strong-willed children of the world may be seen as a threat, a challenge, or bad, perhaps we only feel this sense of threat because these are in fact qualities we are lacking within.
We all want to be a version of our most authentic selves and it starts with courage, letting go of what others think, and becoming exactly who we were meant to be. None of us want to play small. We all have a voice that matters, and that should be heard!
So today, as I reflect on a challenging day with my daughter, I’m reminded that the things we like and dislike about another person’s personality are also a direct reflection of the things we like and dislike about ourselves.
My strong-willed daughter teaches me to be who I am, say how I feel, go after what I want, and to stand my ground. This may not always be an easy lesson, but they’re teachable moments for sure.
Furthermore, she teaches me patience. She teaches me to live in the moment. And most importantly she teaches me things I would never have learned on my own. She has made me realize things about myself I was completely unaware of, like the fact that I tend to blurt out exactly how I`m feeling without thinking or the fact that I’m probably more stubborn than she is. In addition, I’ve overcome a lot of self-doubts that now I tend to live more carefree. I do care less about what other people think, but in all honesty, not all the time. When my daughter is standing up for her sister or being outspoken about the way she feels, sometimes I feel embarrassed. But then I think, my goodness that’s courageous. Sometimes I wish I had the courage to be as honest, to speak up, to feel more confident in certain situations and less small.
In other words, raising my strong-willed daughter often times feels like I’m looking at a mirror. She is me and I am her. Different, yet so much the same. Both of us teaching one another how to live and be our most authentic selves.
Consequently, when I was being raised, I was told I was “too bossy”. I also had a bad temper, similar to my daughters and when I had an outburst I was screamed at, and called, “bad”. This type of behavior wasn’t nurtured. These qualities weren’t seen as something that would make me a natural leader in the future. Rather, these qualities and behavior were shamed. And I understand this wasn’t my parent’s fault. They just didn’t think of these qualities in a positive perspective and I understand why. I know first-hand as a parent that it’s so damn tough!
However, this the exact thing I don’t want my strong-willed daughter to have to go through. Perhaps this is why I have the empathy to shift my perspective and view her challenging behavior in a positive light? I was her. I was the exact same way!
For this reason, when I’m frustrated with my strong-willed daughter, I’m kind of secretly cheering her on at the same time. I try my best to remember that later in life these qualities will help her thrive, but only if her number one supporters and role models try their best not to belittle, and diminish her courageous, carefree and wild spirit.
We could all really learn a thing or two from strong-willed children as long as we’re willing to see their qualities as a gift to this world.
*This post was inspired by a quick Instagram post I wrote when I was having a difficult day with my daughter.