Strong-Willed Tweens

by Mariellyn Hilgeman

My 9-year-old daughter was always convinced that she knew best. Reasoning with her changed nothing, and our discussions often ended with me ordering her obedience.

I finally decided that my daughter sometimes needed an extra measure of freedom to try things her way, whatever the outcome. So while working with her on a new gymnastics maneuver, I gave her time to attempt the move her own way until she recognized that I, as her coach, might have a more effective approach. Another time, I agreed to let my strong-willed little girl wear one of my dresses to school. We somehow managed to make it wearable for the day, but I packed a change of clothing for her, just in case. She went to school satisfied, never using the extra clothes. She also never asked to wear that dress again.

Acknowledging my daughter's growing maturity has been a big step forward for us. Although we still bump heads occasionally, we're starting to move beyond the battle of wills to a relationship based on receptivity and respect.


Copyright © 2010 Mariellyn Hilgeman. Used by permission.

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