I’ve never been a book parent (you know, parents who read books from What to Expect When You’re Expecting right up to Parenting Your Out-of-Control Teenager) but since Rae’s little outbreak, I’ve been doing some research online and man, there is just too much info out there. Not all of it can be trusted but they are still good to know.

I discovered I am a weak-willed parent.

Well, I didn’t need the Internet to tell me that.

And that Rae may be a strong-willed child. No kidding.

I think the parts that make most sense are:

A strong-willed child likes to help make decisions. When possible give your child choices. “Would you like to have a chocolate chip cookie or strawberry ice cream?” Give them projects in which they can take charge, like planning the family vacation. A strong-willed child doesn’t want to control you; he just wants you to allow him some control.

A strong-willed child will only comply with rules or laws when they make sense. Give them a solid reason for a rule.

A strong-willed child wants to feel unique and special. He does not want to be ordinary. He struggles against the confines of traditions and conformity. <== OH YEA!

and most important of all:

Stay on your child’s team, even when it appears to be a losing team. You’ll have the rest of your life to enjoy mutual fellowship if you don’t overreact to frustration now.

Why does a strong-willed child do what he or she does? Robert J Mackenzie had this to say:

It is often because he is trying to test your rules, by ‘doing research’, to see what he can get away with and what works for him.

Dr. MacKenzie teaches that effective discipline starts by giving a ‘clear, firm message’ that focuses on the behavior you are trying to control and not the child, is ‘specfic and direct’, is given in your ‘normal voice’ and includes the ‘consequences for noncompliance.’

The hardest part for me? The calm ‘normal’ voice. I am an emotional person, and can run hot and cold in half a second flat.  

I guess practice makes perfect!

ps. Rae has been really good after the incident. She has said a million I Love Yous and has come to me whenever she faces a conflict with her sister. Just one minute ago, she came to me complaining that Skyler would not share with her. We worked through the problem where she sort of understands that her two-year old sister may not get what sharing means, and that she has to show her.

“Mommy, Mei Mei does NOT understand what sharing means! I’ve showed her and she doesn’t know. This is fuster-rating!”

Believe it or not, that’s progress. At least she’s not ripping the toy off her sister, right?