Saturday, October 11, 2014


I have 3 messy, active, amazing boys. They are each wonderful and unique and I adore the differences between the three of them. They keep me guessing and keep me on my toes. It is a privilege to parent them, and they make me into a better person just for knowing them.
Lately certain people in his life have been using the words active, stubborn, difficult, strong willed, immature, and challenging (among others) to describe the youngest.

While most these words do ring true in his personality, I have to say that I don't think they have been used lovingly. In fact, they have been used to indicate that there may be something about his nature (or perhaps my parenting) that needs to change.
I'd like to take a moment and say a few words in defense of the "difficult" child, mine and the others I know are out there. I believe there are so many things to love about a strong-willed child. Things that we need to celebrate. Things that do not necessarily need to be broken.
My strong-willed child feels life with intensity. He delights in the smallest of pleasures, his smile and his laugh are contagious. He helps me to see the joy in life, too. I love sharing his happiness with him.
However, he also feels his negative emotions with equal intensity. This means that he cries. A lot. He screams. He pouts. A lot. He has the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. And he takes the whole room with him wherever he goes.
 My "challenging" little boy has a strong sense of his identity and what he wants out of life. He doesn't like to conform to anyone else's ideas of what he should be doing. This is a fantastic characteristic that will serve him so well when he is faced with peer pressure as a teenager. I am so excited for what the future holds for this little man.
However, his strong opinions make it hard for him to transition when he needs to transition. They make it hard for him to sit still when he doesn't want to. They make it hard for him to obey. And remember how strongly he feels? Yeah, when he is disappointed that he has to conform, he feels it with intensity.
When he sets his mind to something, he will get it done no matter the consequences. He is resolute in his decisions. Again, I do not believe this is a bad personality trait. It does get a bit complicated, however, when what he has decided on is precisely the opposite of what an authority figure would like to see. And those emotions? He feels them.
My "difficult" kid is wiggly and creative. He prefers to see the world upside down, literally and figuratively, spending most of his time either standing on his head or creating works of art.

Those things which make him a challenge for people to deal with are the same characteristics that could very well shape culture as he grows up.
Let's stop condemning these children and labeling them "challenging" or "difficult." Instead, let's choose to look at their spirit, tenacity, creativity, determination, individuality, and spunk as positive character traits.

All children need to feel loved. They all want to be accepted for who they are. Even the difficult ones.

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