My son was an absolute breeze to handle from the time he was born. Even as a toddler, he could clearly assert his needs and understand if something was explained to him logically. I had my first encounter with a strong willed child only post the birth of my daughter. Even as a new born she was difficult to comfort, wanted to do everything her way and simply refused to cooperate when I needed her to understand. Here are some tips learned over the last few years that have helped make life more pleasant.

1. No means no 
When you set the rules, make eye contact and use a firm tone for him to understand you mean business. Also ensure that you and your partner are on the same page before you enforce the same so that one parent isn’t taken for granted. Consistency is the key.
2. Give them choices
Allow your children independence and the freedom to make choices. It may be something as simple as picking what clothes they would like to wear or what food they would like to eat at a restaurant. Even a child as young as 2 years has his own likes and dislikes. By listening to what they have to say and being polite in your demands, the child learns that he needs to reciprocate that as well.
3. Understand their point of view 
Kids have thoughts and feelings too. Many a time, they act out when they are tired, hungry or sleepy. Understand this and avoid putting them in a situation. Sometimes it upsets them when they are unable to assert their needs. Make an effort to understand what they are trying to communicate.
4. Encourage their efforts

Be your child's cheerleader! Let him know that you believe in his abilities. When you communicate negative emotions, they are likely to be met with resistance but being supportive and encouraging can pay off in the long run.
5. Stay calm time out 
When they do misbehave, don’t go overboard with your reaction. Instead stay calm and frame your thoughts before you discipline them. Both of you could take a "time out” to give yourselves time to cool off and sort the situation.
6. Redirect energy

Children have boundless energy and taking up extra curricular activities is a good way to channelise this. Even as toddlers, when children throw tantrums, the best way to get them to stop is to divert their attention.


7. Routines 

Try and set routines for your child and ensure they are followed. Going to bed at a particular time every night, eating meals at fixed times and specified time for play. This will make it easy for them to adapt to everyday expectations and reduce power struggles.


8. Pick your battles

There will be days when you will need to relax the rules a need to prioritize on what is important to you as a parent. Suppose your 5-year-old daughter is headed for a picnic with her friends and insists on wearing her party shoes rather than the obvious comfortable sneakers. If she is still stubborn after you explain the logic behind your suggestion, let it go and carry the pair of sneakers in your bag. When she realizes that her party shoes actually aren’t that comfortable she will want to automatically change her shoes. Instead if you are firm with her, and tell her off, she will probably wear the sneakers but sulk and spoil the picnic for the both of you.


Look at your child's intensity and energy as a gift and not a weakness. Strong willed children are generally more intelligent and creative. It’s not easy to implement all this and get your relationship back on track. However, it’s worth it in the long run for the both of you.