My Strong Willed Daughter: You are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)." I have been sitting on this scripture for some time now as I constantly remind myself daily of who I am and who my children are. That not only are WE as mothers "fearfully and wonderfully made" but so are our children. That not only did God write out all of the pages of our story before we were made, but the same for our children.
As the mother of a very strong willed child, I have often caught myself saying things like "Why are you like this?" as I call out in desperation from the antics this child pulls. I just call out to myself and wonder why does this sweet baby girl of mine do things that her older sister never did? Why does she continually test me and defy me, despite parenting my children the same? Why is she like this and did I do something to make her like this?
I'm sure many of us mothers to strong willed daughters have wondered where on earth did our child get this will from. I know that she didn't get it from me. So often we ask why are they like this and why do they do these things? But rarely do we sit and appreciate that this is just who they are.
Now obviously there is a line between just plain ole' defiance and poor behavior choices, and strong willed. Some children have a personality that blooms and illuminates light from every corner. Some children have a strong willed personality that often makes you want to cringe. And then of course there are children who are everything in between these two. My three year old is a little bundle of it all, with a whole lot of sweet but a TON of spice.
Her spice knocks me off my feet sometimes. Her will to just do it her way stuns me. Her headstrong ways make me feel like I'm failing. But never once have I actually just sat and realized that this just may be who she truly is. She'll likely grow up and know who she is, speak her truth and strut her stuff with confidence. She'll be independent and strong and she likely won't take crap from anyone if I can imagine. And she may even throw out a few knuckle sandwiches in the process (gosh I hope not).
There are obviously rules that have to be followed and parenting that has to happen to help teach our children respect, obedience and compassion (no matter how strong willed they are). Having a strong personality isn't an excuse to just always get your way or be disrespectful to others. But what if these little humans just grow up knowing their truth? They'll know who they want to be, how they'll get there and where they'll go.
Perhaps they are "fearfully and wonderfully made" because God has grander plans for them than we can ever envision. Perhaps they will lead a fortune 500 company. Perhaps they will actually be the first female president. Perhaps they will be one of those teachers that goes down in history as one of the best. Perhaps they will walk a righteous path speaking God's truth to all. Because let's face it, they know how to make people listen. They'll demand it.
Perhaps this trait that is often so incredibly frustrating is actually a gift.
So mamas, when you're frustrated and you feel defeated from dealing with your strong willed daughter, remember that maybe you're not doing it wrong. Maybe there's nothing wrong with your child, she's just learning how to handle the strengths that God wrote in her heart. After all, he knew all of our days before we were even born and he wrote our truths from the get go. He helped make us who we are.
Parent her the best you can but find the moments to give her the grace and honor to be who she is. Give her the ability to have choices on things, let her get her words out and help her handle her strong emotions. It's hard, oh my gosh is it ever. It's frustrating to the max and it takes a lot of prayers for patience and wisdom on handling her at times. No one said you had to do it perfectly and no one said there was a right or a wrong way. You figure it out as you go with lots of Jesus, a good bit of wine and a few cry fests here and there. And a ton of kisses and cuddles.
But remind yourself that she is "fearfully and wonderfully made." God wouldn't give you anything you couldn't handle. He just gave you a wildflower in a field of roses. Don't pick the wildflower down, just show her how to handle the wind from the storms. Let her bloom, let her grow and let her colors shine.