Hands up of you have a strong willed child.
I have three.
Three out of four of my kids are the type of people who are stubborn, determined, and quite willing to win a battle at any cost.
They get it from their mother.
The other one, Taylah, is not. She is compliant, and a people pleaser. She hates to make people unintentionally happy. Often her actions (like manipulation) are because she hasn’t considered the effect they may have on another. She doesn’t like to upset the apple cart.
Bridie, on the other hand does.
She loves to jump on the apple cart, scream on the apple cart, and basically make sure that the whole world knows she is not happy.
Bailey is not much of a screamer, but he is a bulker. By that I mean, he will dig his heels in and refuse to do something if he doesn’t want to. And being a big boy for his age, it’s often hard to make him.
Ava, is a thrower and screamer. She will scream and throw and hit anything in her way. With her around, there are no more apples in the apple cart, but instead all over the pavement.
Somedays, it drives me mad. Some days I am so tired and fed up with fighting with my mega macro, battle willing offspring.
Some days, I just adore Taylah for being easy and compliant and doing what she is asked with hardly a word about it.
On a day to day basis, the three youngest, are the three hardest. Easily. No questions asked.
But when I think about heart training, it is that beautiful, compliant daughter of mine, that scares me.
When it comes to heart training, she is the hardest. Easily. No questions asked.
You see, when Bridie has a problem with me or something I have said, she will scream at me. Then she will be sent to her room where she will continue to scream at me and tell me she doesn’t like me and she won’t do it.
I will let her sit and calm down, and then I will go and talk to her. We will talk through the problem, and she will come to the realization that she was wrong, and she needs to make things right and do what she was asked.
When Bailey has a problem, he will just refuse to do it. Then he also will be sent to his room where he will cry for all of 15 seconds before coming out, saying sorry and doing what is asked.
When Ava has a problem, she says ‘no. Don’t want to.’ And I say, ‘you need to say yes mummy.’ And if she still says no, she is sent to her cot, and she will cry for half a minute before calling out ‘sorry mummy,’ and then doing what she is told.
A time consuming process yes, when you times it by three, but the end result is the same. Three children who have changed their heart, and made a decision to do the right thing, for the right reason.
Now, with very young children, a lot of this is difficult to apply, but I know, with Bridie, that if she doesn’t think something is right, she won’t do it. I have to convince her it is a good choice.
Does this put her in control?
No. Not at all. Because she doesn’t get away with not doing it until she changes her mind. She is 5, so I have the greatest influence and control. I need to be teaching her and guiding her heart and morals, so that when she is older, this will not be a fight; making good choices will be something that comes naturally.
With kids, their actions form their values.
This is the crux of heart training.
So when my stubborn children make a good choice, I know I have reached their heart and taught them something. I know they are choosing well because they believe it is well.
Not so with Taylah. Because she does everything when asked, I am never sure of her attitude.
Some may think this is not a bad thing; after all she is doing what she is told.
But my goal is to train my kids hearts. I’m not interested in robots who obey orders; I want to raise responsible, moral human beings who know right from wrong, and who make wise decisions themselves.
So on the days when life is a fight, and a battle, and I am so tired, I stop and thank God. I thank Him that one of my kids is doing what she is asked, as I work with her to guide her heart. And I thank him that three of my kids are stubborn little mules like their mothers. Because I know exactly where they are at.
Which do you prefer?