Sitting around the supper table recently, my family was discussing some memorable “misbehavior moments” from when our girls were younger. It took me back to those early days of training and correction when it sometimes felt like nothing was working!
We often hear the term “strong-willed child.” I would certainly say we have one that fits into that category! I like this definition from Aha! Parenting.com.
“What exactly is a strong-willed child? Some parents call them “difficult” or “stubborn,” but we could also see strong-willed kids as people of integrity who aren’t easily swayed from their own viewpoints. Strong-willed kids are spirited and courageous. They want to learn things for themselves rather than accepting what others say, so they test the limits over and over.
They want desperately to be “in charge” of themselves, and will sometimes put their desire to “be right” above everything else. When their heart is set on something, their brains seem to have a hard time switching gears. Strong-willed kids have big, passionate feelings and live at full throttle.”
While we need to consistently pray for all of our children, sometimes those we would classify as strong-willed drive us to our knees more often than the others. Below, I’ve listed eight ways we can pray for those children in particular, as well as ways we can pray for ourselves as we guide them. (I’m using the female tense here since I have daughters, but feel free to substitute “he/him” if your strong-willed child happens to be a boy!)
1. Give me wisdom to parent this child. James 1:5 promises that God will answer this prayer! I certainly need wisdom to know how to handle the daily struggles that come when she continually wants her own way, right then, no matter what.
2. Draw her to Yourself in salvation early in life. Our ultimate desire in training our children is to have them be willing to submit their will to God’s. As they yield their hearts to Jesus Christ in salvation, His Holy Spirit will begin to work in their lives.
3. Help me to be firm in setting boundaries. We get tired, and it’s so easy to cave in and just let her do what she wants. If you’re like me, you just want peace in your family! Every issue doesn’t need to turn into a power struggle (which is why I need wisdom), but when I take a stand, I need to see it through.
4. Channel her strong will into courage to stand up for what’s right. Help me see the positive potential in her determined nature. Use her to be a voice for those who are weaker, and to do great things for the cause of Christ.
5. On those days when I’m exhausted from the constant power struggles, remind me to find my strength in You. Psalm 22:19 says, “But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.” God can give us the help and strength we need for each day.
6. Grow her desire to obey. So often that’s what it’s all about – obedience. Recognize and praise those times when she actually does do what she’s asked without a fight! As we teach her to obey authority she can see and hear, that will hopefully lead to her obeying God and His Word.
7. As I parent her, show me how often I put my wishes and desires above Yours, so that I may repent. I’ve learned more about myself through parenting my children than I ever dreamed I would!! I’m not nearly as patient and easygoing as I might have thought I was before. Often, God uses situations with my children to show me my own lack of self-control and sinfulness.
8. Even when it’s hard and I’m frustrated beyond belief, let me demonstrate Your love toward her. Romans 5:8 tells me that even when I was steeped in my sin, Christ loved me enough to die for me. No matter how unlovely she is in her moments of rebellion, I can allow the fruit of the Spirit to show love through me to her.
God has placed into our homes exactly the children He wants us to parent. May we seek His help through prayer every day to train those children in a way that brings Him glory
*This was originally published in February 2017. I’m happy to report that my strong-willed child has grown into a delightful young woman.
You can also check out My Family Prayer Journal which is a printable PDF to help guide you as you pray for your children.
- A Prayer for Wisdom in Parenting My Children
- 7 Bible Verses to Remember When You Feel Discouraged as a Parent
- 4 Things to Do When You’ve Blown It with Your Kids
God works in wonderful ways! I found your blog when I was looking for help with my oldest daughter and subscribed. Then this morning my two youngest strong willed children were again fighting in the car on the way to school and I lost it. They cause me so much anxiety! However, I was a strong willed child myself and I believe I turned out pretty great so this was a great reminder to focus on the positives! Thanks for all you do!
Thank you so much for your kind words! There really are many positives about strong-willed children, but I know from experience how easy it is to lose sight of that in the dailiness of dealing with them. May God continue to give you wisdom and patience as a mom – and it’s great to hear about another strong-willed child who turned out well! 🙂
Ruth Dahlstrom says
Thank you for these reminders.
And thank you for reading! 🙂