Don't get me wrong, strong-willed kids have a million positive attributes! They're incredibly loving, have HUGE hearts and love BIG. They're funny, playful, fun to be around and have BIG personalities. They can be so helpful (When they want to be!).
AND... parenting them is a struggle on a daily basis.
The following is not an all-inclusive list. Results may vary at your house!
IN THIS EPISODE, I SHARE...
Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood I mean? Have too much anxiety...not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. This is survival mode. We're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up, and you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is Failing Motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week, we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom your kids need. They need what you have. You are good enough. And you're not alone. I hope you pop in earbuds, somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend, we're so glad you're here.
Hey, it's Danielle. Thank you so much for being here. Today is March 13. And I'm recording this which means it's my birthday. And I can't lie, I had a bit of a roller coaster of emotions today. It's also riding right on the back of my daughter's 10th birthday, which I will be talking more about on the 100th episode of Failing Motherhood, which I'm going to dedicate to my reflections on 10 years of parenting. But it's a little bit of a mind F. And it's not even about aging necessarily. It's just birthdays in general, are a lot. And I would be lying to say I am really excited about what I'm doing today. It's just, it's just a lot. It's highs and lows and a lot of self-reflection. Probably a little bit too much introspection. But the best thing to get me back on track is to put some lipstick and heels on and record an episode for you which I'm going to dedicate to my favorite number which is 13. So we're going to be talking about the 13 traits in or struggles of parenting a strong-willed child. And this is going to help you feel a little bit less alone a little bit not crazy. And hopefully, you'll find your family here in some of the examples that I share and know that you're in the right place.
But before I do if you are new here, or if you have been following along, we are doing a campaign for 100 ratings and reviews before the 100th episode. And we're up to 95. So thank you so much for everyone that has sent in a review in the last week or two. And I wanted to read one of them.
So this one says it was titled "every mom needs to listen" with five stars:
"I stumbled across Danielle's podcast about a year ago and immediately from the first time I listened I was hooked. I went back and binge from the beginning. She has a way of speaking that makes you feel like she's in your home and really knows your strong-willed kids and you it's almost creepy how spot-on she is with scenarios and the advice. And the mind shifts she gives is unlike anything I've ever heard or read. My family just recently graduated from her 11-week coaching program. And I can't recommend it enough. The confidence you gain as a parent is astounding. My child still has fits of rage (smiley face), but they are so much less (all caps), and I am so much better at dealing with them. I yell a lot less. I feel less guilty. I stress less about going out in public with her. I am a calmer mom and wife thanks to this amazing woman and her incredible insight for creating the most understanding platform for like parents to speak their concerns and really understand each other. The biggest piece was just knowing I'm not alone, and that there are other families that deal with the exact same behaviors. I will forever be grateful to have found this podcast and group. Thank you Danielle, for what you do. You are truly amazing."
So I definitely cried when I read this for the first time as you can imagine, and it's just the hugest compliment to be able to see all of the hard work of families come to fruition when they graduate. So, so so good. Okay. So if you haven't left a rating a review, and you were loving Failing Motherhood, I would so appreciate it if you did that today.
Now, let's dive into the 13 traits and struggles I can't decide. It's it is the struggles. They're also kind of like personality traits, but I also don't want to completely label and put in a box. All kids and overgeneralize. So strong-willed Kids, as you know, have a million positive attributes. Right. So this is a big caveat. Just disclaimer put in front of all these, they can be so loving, have a huge heart, and love big, they are hilarious, playful, have a big personality, usually and a really fun to be around when you're in a good mood. And they are so helpful when they want to be. So this is not a list that is dogging on strong-willed Kids, we are working to get to know them better, so that we can take away all of the added shoulds and meaning and beating ourselves up and beating our kids up for just really what should be accepting who they are and what we are doing, which is parenting a strong-willed child. And the more that you can wrap your minds around that acceptance, the more you can find freedom in the solutions and the strategies that work. So we're going to dive into these 13 struggles, but they are not an all-inclusive list. Right Results may vary all the fine print from a prescription a commercial, but this is just some of the overarching themes that if you experience the majority of these in your house, then you are likely parenting a strong-willed child. And a lot of the traditional approaches aren't going to work, you've likely weren't parented with what does. So you are in the right place to learn more and grow as their parent to become the parent that they need.
So number one is they are sensitive, they are very sensitive to being overtired. And hangry, or thriving off the vibe of others, and the vibe of kind of the moment. So that manifests itself in the after-school outburst when they are hangry. And they come undone from keeping it together throughout the day. And it all unravels and comes loose. Once they get in the car. Sometimes the second, the door closes. So that is a staple in your routine right now, whether that's preschool pickup or elementary pickup, you are not alone. That is a normal occurrence doesn't mean it's easy to deal with. But it's a normal occurrence of parenting a strong-willed child in the same way that I have rarely met a strong-willed child that's a morning person, because they're just so much more affected by being tired. So that puts them into grumpy, yucky moods. Mondays are hard for all of us, but especially for strong-willed kids. So that's number one, they are sensitive, they have that after-school outburst typically aren't a morning person.
Number two, they are usually great at school, where when you go to their conferences, or you talk to their daycare provider, they are shocked to hear some of the things that you experience at home with this child because they just don't see it when they are at school. So they lose it at home, but do well for other caregivers. And maybe if they undergo change, they can hold out and keep it together and not let their filter off when they maybe have a weekend with grandparents or have a big change and routine. But then the second is supposed to go back to normal. They take it out on you. And they you need like a detox withdrawal or they seem hungover, really having a hard time resetting, whether that's their sleep routine, or just getting back to the normal boundaries afterward. That's number two.
Number three, they have an alter ego anger, or fits of rage, which seem next level, then other kids meltdowns that you've seen where they kind of you know, will do the boneless thing and fall to the ground, maybe some tears, but then you know, they can be redirected, not your child, right. Some of my clients say that they seem possessed, or you can look in their eyes. And it's like they're not there. Like it's no longer your child. And that's why I call it their alter ego, which is really powerful to actually be able to recognize and be aware of, because then you can click into a whole new perspective of what to do in that moment. Because that's kind of your, your indicator. But knowing that that's kind of what you're seeing is hugely powerful because it can be so debilitating when it feels like it's your only child or you created this monster or there's something that has terribly gone wrong. So number three is their Alter Ego anger.
Number four. Because of this alter ego anger, they typically are aggressive longer, as in they hit and kick longer than most kids as into an older age than other kids because their emotions feel so big, it overwhelms their body and the energy has to come out. And it's not that they cognitively don't understand that hitting is wrong, or it hurts others. It's just it seems like it's the only option when these emotions are so big. And a lot of clients will say that it's like the hit the terrible twos. And then they just continue without improvement and age three, and four. And they really start to panic around four and a half because school is coming. And we can't be treating our friends like this anymore, or me, I'm not enjoying it. So if you're seeing some of that, beyond what you feel like is developmentally appropriate, that checks out.
Number five, they can be so expressive with their words, right? Very, very verbal, very, very smart. And yet, when you tell them something to do, or they don't want to hear what you have to say, they like regress, and all of a sudden, they're using noises to communicate rather than words, like growling, hissing, moaning, squawking, or yelling, which was really frustrating as a parent, because you know, that they can use their words, and they seemingly choose not to, and all of a sudden, you're dealing with an animal rather than a child. What is that? So I don't know what the brand or flavor of your child's regressive sounds is. But we always like to compare them in wholeheartedly calm, because it makes us feel so much less alone. And crazy. So those animal sounds are number five.
Number six, is strong-willed kids struggle to apologize or admit when they are wrong. And this is not some huge character flaw we need to beat out of them. It is because vulnerability is painful. And it just feels a lot more visceral, they're much more affected, because they're sensitive to it. And they don't like being put on the spot in positive ways, sometimes and in negative ways. So it's like they wouldn't want to be applauded in the front of the class or like sang Happy Birthday to by 30 people. And they don't want to have to apologize when they know that what they did is wrong, but admitting it and having to verbalize, it just feels too overwhelming. Doesn't mean they can get out of it right or doesn't excuse their behavior. It's just something I've really noticed to be true of most of the kids families that I work with, or families, kids that I work with. So that's number six.
Number seven, they're overly dramatic, everything is a big deal. And they expect you to react accordingly validating that you see just how big of a big deal this is, no matter how irrational no matter how silly. And as they get older, that can become even more verbal where at an older age, once the aggression finally subsides, most for the most part, then it turns into this door hates me, or this is the worst day of my life. Or trying to you know, draw something and being crumpling it up this picture is terrible. And it's very, very dramatic. Which also can you know, with that last example be looked like perfectionism as well. But they are very mad when you don't see it as just as big of a big deal. Like this is the worst thing that's ever happened in their whole life because that's what it truly feels like to them. And how do you constantly jump and ride this roller coaster motions with them when 30 seconds ago, they were so excited to get the snack you just gave them right? So you're just like, I can't keep up with all this emotion. number that was number seven being dramatic.
Number eight, is they can appear ungrateful and egocentric. They are obsessed with fairness, especially with friends or with siblings. And this can manifest in things like really struggling when it's a siblings birthday, because they're not getting the same things. They want the same prizes, or they're vying for the attention or at school when or with friends at playdates when they wish to become overly bossy and want everything to go their way. And, you know, if a president wasn't exactly what they asked for, they're not going to hide maybe their feelings about it. And there is no filter especially at home. So that makes you feel like you're failing as a parent by not teaching them to be grateful. And you know, you become flooded with all of this emotion as a parent around what this means what their behavior means. And that creates really hard scenarios to parent through. because you care, right? And you want to raise good kids that are good humans. So if you don't feel like they're being a good human, it's going to sound the alarms, right? So that's understandable. So it's number eight, they appear ungrateful.
Number nine, they also at times can appear to regress into more toddler-esqe behavior or appear clingy and want help with things that are care routines that, you know, they can easily do themselves, like getting dressed, when it's like, oh, I feign helplessness. I don't know what to wear, I can't do it, you do it for me. But then, you know, two seconds later, they'll be like, No, I'll do it myself with you know, breakfast or something. So you never know, when they want help. And when they don't, and you're just waiting for them to call you out and you do it wrong. But at the same time, you want to enforce independence. And so you're feeling like I need to have you get yourself dressed. And they're wanting it to be like this connecting moment, and then it's just blowing up on both sides. So that seeming to regress or like go back to toddler behavior is super duper common.
Number 10. You can't seem to get ahead of the next meltdown. And it feels like you're walking on eggshells, because they have all these ideas in their head, about expectations of the next activity you're doing, or how the day is going to go or how they want life to be. And they're constantly having to deal with the gap between their expectations and the reality. And that constantly comes crashing down on them. And they're blindsided and just shocked and are dealing with this back lash every single time this happens. And that's why it feels like you didn't even know, that was what they thought was gonna happen or that they were gonna be mad that these people were there and you didn't know to warn them about that. And it seems like you just can't get ahead of the next meltdown, because you never know what's gonna set them off. super common.
Number 11. They question everything, just anything. That's the way things have always gone, they're gonna question it, because they're not going to just do anything, quote, just because, like a simple example of that is wearing pajamas at our house. No, there's not enough reasoning that I can share or logic or explanation that's going to make her feel compelled that though that needs to happen. And sometimes it was apparent when you find yourself in these moments you and you're trying to explain, and you feel like you're failing. And you should have studied debates longer in high school or gone into school to be a lawyer because you just can't negotiate and you're constantly losing these, quote unquote, battles, because you don't have a good argument, because it's just like, why are you questioning this? This is not up for debate. So I don't understand. And there's just no sense of just Oh, yep. Okay, that's a good enough explanation for me, they have their own ideas in their head of what is necessary or justified and they're gonna go with that can't really give them a lot of external reinforcement to change their mind. So it's number 11, questioning everything.
Number 12. They are on their own time frame. They live life on their own clock, which can manifest itself in taking forever to get their car seat buckles on when you pick them up from school, or telling them to hurry up in the morning when you're trying to leave the house. And it means nothing, it does not change their behavior. And maybe they even take longer. Or you're trying to get through the monotonous bedtime routine you've done for like 900 nights in a row by now. And it still feels painstaking to transition from thing to thing, because they're just on their own clock. So yep, yep, that's at your house, you're not alone, super common.
And number 13. They can really get stuck in a gear. And what this looks like is maybe asking the same question over and over and over when they get hyper-fixated on something like wanting to go to the arcade or my clients recently had a child that was just like obsessed, because they said yeah, we'll go soon or something like that. And she was just like, can we go today? Can we go tonight? Can we go tomorrow? When can you go there arcade and just would not stop asking. Another client was having a birthday party in a couple days. And so she wanted to blow up the balloons. Can we blow up the balloons now? I want to play with the balloons. Now. Can we play the balloons now? And just wanting an answer and getting super hyper-fixated on it. And in the same way they get really stuck in a gear when you said that they might get to do something but we ran out of time. So we can't, and they just will not come to terms with and accept the fact that it's not happening. But you said and I wanted to, and it's not fair. And they just can't get over it. They cannot. And they just keep asking you or keep beating that tree. I don't know what that analogy is, but you just like move on, and they will not. So if that happens, your house, yes, very common. So that's, that's the 13th.
The bonus round is things that I wouldn't say is every child, but comes up enough, that is an honorable mention.
And these three things are number one noise sensitivity, having a hard time with big, scary sounds like thunder, or a lot of talking in unison, like crowds and loud music or just getting woke up by sound. Sound sensitivity is a big one, then the second runner up is that they hate brushing their hair, that it feels extra painful, and you have a lot of battles around brushing hair, and you have like 10 hair brushes at your house that you've tried to buy off of infomercials hoping that will be the magic trick to make this better. And number three is when you're potty training that you're going number two becomes an ongoing battle because of it being more of a behavior and control control thinking power struggle rather than biological need. And that continues longer than you would like it to. So those three are the honorable mentions. Not everyone, but worth mentioning.
And then now, I would encourage you to go back to the beginning of this episode and listen to it all the way through again, and see if it applies to either you or your partner or their other parent, figuring out which one of you is the strong-willed parent, because usually there is one and you'll hit a lot of the same boxes as well. And that can be enlightening, convicting, and give you a little bit more empathy and compassion for where your child is coming from because they probably got it from somewhere, right.
So it one of the group calls we had a week or two ago, one of my clients said that she came into Wholeheartedly CALM thinking, I have not found anyone in my real life that can relate to this, specifically, as in parenting, a strong-willed child where all of these things are a common daily occurrence. I don't have any friends that are saying these things or that are having the same struggles on the level that I am, where it's not isolating and defeating. I want to like my kid more, I don't want them to be afraid of me. But I need someone to hold my hand because tips and tricks are just not enough for what I'm dealing with and where I want to be. So she joined Wholeheartedly CALM and is thriving.
I actually just got a message from a client that was in the group a whole year ago, a little less than a year ago now. And I had sent her a message on Instagram because she's posting lots of like, parenting content now it kind of is like a content creator. And I'm just like super proud of her and having the confidence to do that now. And she said thank you so much. We are traveling right now and child number two had such a meltdown after a long flight at passport control. But he felt so confident and calm. He eventually calmed down. I am so different compared to last year. We traveled last year also in child number one had a big tantrum in the airport. And at that time, I nearly had a tantrum myself. I didn't know what to do. And I was paralyzed by her tantrum. Amazing change in me in one year. And it all started with Wholeheartedly CALM.
So that's the difference. That's the difference. None of these struggles that I mentioned are really going to, quote go away or be fixed or cured, but you learn to work with them and equip yourself to be able to know exactly how to manage them and help your child thrive with this type of wiring. And for you as a parent to fully embody the identity of a parent who unapologetically parents this child without added shame and guilt and fear and self-doubt.
So if you are feeling super seen by this episode, you know what to do the links of how to connect with me over Instagram and say hi or or find the masterclass and get that free training under your belt. Or if you're ready to meet me and talk more about how to work together, find a link to schedule an initial consultation in the show notes of this episode.
But hopefully, you are you know, at the end of this episode, you are not alone. And there is hope and you're in the right place my friend.
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms note they are not alone if they feel like they're Failing Motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong-willed child and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.
Confidently parent your strong-willed child without caving in or dimming their spark so you can finally break free of power struggles, guilt + self-doubt!