Thursday, January 5, 2012

Coaching the Strong-Willed Child


"Our children’s wills need training...

We need to provide training opportunities for our children to exercise and strengthen their wills. Give them plenty of supervised practice opportunities so they get in the habit of choosing what is right. Gently but firmly walk through intentional situations that require them to repress their passions or redirect their desires."

When I learned this principle, it changed the way I looked at my child. I had been thinking that my child had a strong will, and it was my job to dig in my heels and butt heads with her to show that my will was stronger. I was my child’s opponent in the battle of the wills.

But once I understood this principle, I suddenly realized that she did not have a strong will—one that had enough power to choose what was right even when she wanted what was wrong. She had a weak will that constantly chose the easy path of “I want.” It was my job to help her strengthen her will to be able to choose what was right, even when she didn’t want what was right. I was not her opponent; I needed to be her coach."

~Sonya Schafer at Simply Charlotte Mason

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2 comments:

  1. "training opportunities for our children to exercise and strengthen their wills. Give them plenty of supervised practice opportunities so they get in the habit of choosing what is right." Could you give some examples of this for us? Sometimes I feel SO clueless!

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  2. Hi New Day, the best place to go for inspiration and examples of this is right to the source, Ms. Schafer's links under the quote, which also lead to her free eBook, The Way of the Will. This and her other habit-related eBooks are EXCELLENT and very helpful for both parents and children to help train their wills. They are some of my favorite parenting resources.

    That said, here is a quick example from our home: My oldest son has a habit of being disagreeable just to continue a conversation. His younger brother of course gives him lots of opportunities to be critical, correcting, and wanting to have the last word. So when I could choose to ignore their conversation in the back seat, if I hear him being fault-finding, I might say, "Honey, I know he's not totally right about that, and you really want to tell him the facts about it, but you're being contrary. Try to wait a minute and think of a kind way to talk. You could say, 'You're right, that is true, but this is also true...'" And I remind him that having the last word is not the goal of a conversation.

    It's hard to give an example without it seeming like any arbitrary correction. That's because the foundation of training a will, as laid out in the eBook mentioned above, is not just reminding and correcting, but having the child stop and CHOOSE. They must take ownership of the moment and make a decision. This is also why a compliant child especially needs this attention. They are people-pleasers and may have a weak will that needs strengthening.

    All that to say, download Ms. Schafer's eBooks and enjoy! They are fabulous resources that I can't come close to explaining properly. I'm so thankful for her wisdom. If you do want to chat more, feel free to email me at valerie(at)quotesforamothersheart.com.

    Thanks for your comment, and blessings on your family!

    Valerie

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