Archive for Strong Willed

Are you in the race for the most spoiled and indulged? The true brat of all spoiled brats? In this obvious satirical article, I thought it might be helpful to provide some coaching for those parents who are in the race for the most spoiled and entitled child on the block.

During the school year, there are practical limits to how much one can pamper a child.However, the summer opens the door to new levels of indulgence. By the end of the summer, we would set some high goals. For example, you must raisefirst graders who expect to play while others read, 2nd graders who show up 90” late each day while carrying a supersized iced coffee to class and by 5th grade, a true superstar brat will demand to carry their cell phones to class and text their mom about how mean the teachers are being.

Three Key Lessons to Raise the Most Entitled, Spoiled Child

Here are my top three mistakes, oh… I mean lessons… that will help your child to master the art of entitlement.

Lesson #1: Allow your child toknow more than you do about parenting.

The truly spoiled are raised in a home where the child is viewed as the ultimate authority. Lessons you may have learned from your parents, books you may have read, advice from psychologists, as well as your “common sense” must be thrown out the window when faced with a child who is objecting to your wisdom, your consequences, or your limit setting.

Remember: Assume they know more. When it comes to what’s healthy, of course…they should choose fast food. When it comes to mature video games, like Call of Duty, of course they should own it. When it comes to bedtime, unquestionably your kids know better what is good for them.

This is a great start…but really, it’s only the beginning…

Lesson #2: Work harder at your children’s happiness; work harder at your children’s success and work harder at your children’s lives than they do.

This lesson is one of those “insider secrets” that must be considered carefully when in the race for the GOLD. If your child is given homework, made sure that you prod, push, negotiate… and ultimately work harder at solving their homework problems than they do. For any serious projects, you must stay up late while they go to bed. If your child is unhappy, negative, and asking you to ‘fix-it’ so they can be happy, then you must go ahead and fix-it. Do this repeatedly!

Work harder at solving their problems. Work harder at everything in their life.

Brat building lesson #3: Never set limits, and teach them that reality will always conform to their whining, demanding and complaining.

This is really an ultimate brat building secret…a true foundation of the spoiled and entitled. In the real world, effort is related to results. This is reality.

However, the truly entitled child must be protected from these rules of reality. If exposed, they might begin to realize that effort is required, and that consequences come with choices. At all costs, if we want a child who is fully indoctrinated in the ways of entitlement, we must give them what they want when they whine or complain. Please, never insist on real effort or contribution!

The best of the entitled are raised to presume that the limits that apply to others do not apply to them. They shouldn’t have to follow the rules, and if they break the rules, mom and dad MUST rescue them from the consequences.

They shouldn’t have to work when something is difficult. They should have no chores. They should get paid for taking their plate to the dishwasher, or picking up their room. And when disrespectful, just surrender and given them what they want.

Those are my three key lessons to raising the spoiled and super indulged. However, if brat building does not appeal to you, then simply do the opposite! And smile…as you do so!

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In Part 1, we discussed three of the key lessons to master with the strong-willed or defiant child. These first three lessons covered were:

* Lesson 1: Your Words Are ALMOST Worthless With The Defiant Child… So Stop Using Them Right Now.

* Lesson 2: You Can’t Control Un-Controllable Kids… So Stop Trying!

* Lesson 3: Tantrums, Whining, Drama, Screaming, Arguing, and Resistance Are NOT WORTHY Of Your Attention!

Each of these three lessons are fundamentally about what you must stop doing or saying. It’s about surrendering the constant battles (you lose anyway), and pulling back.

In doing so, we establish a new baseline or foundation from which to begin the steps we review today. Warning: You can’t skip the lessons above, and get success with these more rule-based components of the program.

Lesson 4: The Defiant Child Needs a Few Essential Rules

While lots of rules may seem like what is needed when dealing with such defiance and negative attitudes, it is not. The more rules you have in your home, the more violations of the rules that will occur – ESPECIALLY with the more defiant child. The more violations, the more frequently you have to end up managing your children’s behavior.

This equals constant conflict with the defiant child, and quite literally, it’s TOO MUCH WORK! Rule overload leads to constant intervention, and decisions-making about consequences. With the strong willed child, this will mean you are frequently adding consequence upon consequence, and the environment begins to feel very punitive and negative.

Rather than dozens of rules, focus on the critical rules that will maintain structure and routine. In fact, these are your most important rules to maintain.

Thus, it is easier to manage your home, and to maintain order and sanity with just a few decisive rules—that both you and the children can follow.

Lesson 5: Rules Are Wishes, Unless Consequences Are Attached

While this lesson is true for all children, it is extremely important for the more defiant child. We can create a nice chart, with very well written rules…and those will be of virtually no value UNLESS a clear consequence is attached.

So leave the word of pretend, and make sure you create a consequence that is consistent and reasonable—that goes with breaking any of the rules. In that way, the rules will have meaning.

It is essential to pair any meaningful rule, with a clear consequence. This includes the formal or more informal rules, which we create.

These consequences need to be stated, and made clear. But not every day. State it once, and perhaps write it down.

Then, let the consequences do the teaching.


Because threatening consequences is how we end up using WAY too many words (Remember Lesson 1). Likewise, negotiating or arguing over the rule or the consequences leads to a very negative outcome, especially with the more defiant or strong-willed child.

This leads to the real power of the consequence!

Lesson 6: Use Consequences Instead of Words to Teach Limits.

The reason for the rules is to establish limits in your home. With the more defiant child, these limits are essential! And if you use your voice to set limits… you will end up in constant battles and struggles to get things done, or to get cooperation. Over time, it gets very ugly.

Thus, we must turn to using consequences to set limits, and trust that those consequences will teach what needs to be taught. We know your words will not teach those limits. We know begging and pleading will not work. We know that constant threats will not work. We know that fighting and arguing will not work.

So here, we abandon all that. We are choosing a few select rules, and making sure those become meaningful to the defiant child through the use of a consistent consequence.

For example, one simple rule might be this: when it’s time for dinner, you will stop playing, cut off the TV or video, and come to dinner. If you don’t come, I will come to you, turn off the TV/video/take the toy, and you will lose it for 48 hours.

With such a simple rule, and clear consequence attached, you will find the defiant child will test you. They will not come because you threaten this.

You will actually have to remove the toy, cut off the game/Ipad/video, and then lock it down for 48 hours. You might have to do these three or four times, but soon… you will see much more cooperation when dinner is ready.

Simple? Yes!

Instantly effective? No

Predictably effective over a few weeks? YES!

Critical Point: Such consequences will only work IF you have honored the first three lessons for several weeks! Otherwise, you will just make a more hostile defiant child.

However, if you have stopped using your words, and ended your battles with the defiance, the tantrums and the negativity, you can then focus on setting up a few, important rules. If you then enforce these consistently with consequences, things will get ugly.

Did I say ugly? YES! Initially, things will get very ugly. This is not a sign of being on the wrong track. This is a sign that you are on the right path!

Because if you keep honoring the system, the defiance will fade and cooperation will improve. That’s my promise to you. It’s not easy, but the system will work with your defiant child.

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First, let’s be clear that we are talking about a particular child temperament child; the defiant, challenging, difficult, strong-willed child.

This is not your neighbor’s child (usually). It’s not the child most books are written about. This particular child is not an easy child, and is the focus of this article.

The Defiant Child: Essentials For Finding Sanity!

Lesson 1: Words Are Almost Useless With The Defiant Child

So what does this mean? In part, you already know what this means… your words don’t work well to manage their behavior. If your words did work, you wouldn’t likely need to read this article. Am I right?

So, then we must start with accepting reality. We must start by eliminating WHAT IS NOT WORKING—YOUR WORDS!

Stop talking so much. Stop negotiating so much. Stop re-directing so much. Stop trying to prepare them for every little change. Stop talking to neighbors, friends and relatives about their behavior.

More words will not be the answer. Stop now.

Lesson 2: Stop Trying To Control The Un-Controllable Child.

Why? It doesn’t work!

Now, let’s be clear. It sounds like I may have given up on your defiant or difficult child. This is not true.

It’s just that I am a big believer in reality. And…reality says… the defiant, oppositional, strong-willed child is simply not controlled easily. If they were (once again) you would not be reading this. You would be somewhere else, enjoying your life rather than worried about your son or daughter.

Instead, they control themselves. They do what they want to do. This is reality and the STARTING POINT where we begin our change. (It’s not where we end up!)

Our way of thinking must therefore change. Rather than being focused on control, we must begin to think about how to teach…rather than control.

Remember this: If we can’t control them, we must focus on teaching them instead!

YES, WE CAN TEACH YOUR DEFIANT CHILD to listen when you ask. We can TEACH them to accept change and transition. We can TEACH them to honor limits we set. We can TEACH them to cooperate and honor our requests. This is all real.

We can do that ONLY IF we stop trying to control them. They are simply not controllable.

They are teachable. So let’s teach…

Lesson 3: Stop Feeding The Defiance, The Resistance The Negativity With All That Energy!

How do you feed this? With your attention! With your energy! With your arguments and fighting! With the countless battles that NO ONE would believe, unless they live in your home.

So it is essential that we stop feeding these moments with your attention!

Okay, now we are starting to get very real. Very fast.

Notice how things have worked so far. When your defiant child resists, you react. You argue. You insist. You yell if necessary…to TRY to GET THEM TO

LISTEN, or to stop, or to calm down.

What has this accomplished? Well, mainly…your defiant, difficult child has LEARNED that these negative behaviors will CERTAINLY get Mom’s or Dad’s attention. And the more they resist, the more attention they get! The more they argue, the more mom argues! The more they fight, the more mom fights back! The more they tantrum, the harder you work to get rid of the tantrum!

So, here’s what has really happened. They have NOT learned to listen. Instead, they have LEARNED that when they resist… you will engage them with your attention. Repeatedly… Over and over… Again and again…Often until you lose it due to your frustration!

In the next article, I will expand upon what to do next, to get your strong-willed child to listen. These are the essential starting lessons however, to bring sanity into your home.

I hope, that there is nothing here to suggest that this is easy.

It is not.

This is quite challenging. Why? Because you have a very challenging child that you are struggling with…and this will not be an easy process.

But we can make progress! HUGE PROGRESS… if you stay on track. More to come…

Part 2 of Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Role of Rules and Structure

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About Dr Cale

During the past 23 years, in working with hundreds of families, I began to realize that many parents, just like you, were showing up in my office well-educated—but getting poor results. They had been to therapy, they had read the books and even attended other training programs—yet their children were still not listening, not doing homework and not cooperating.

I discovered that many of these parents were parenting with false ideas about how to predictable and reliably shape and change their children’s behavior. As a result, I began to develop ideas about the core behavior change principles…and how to turn each of these into specific parenting solutions. As long as I was able to stay true to these principles, the most challenging problems quickly faded away.

My purpose with this program is to give you access to the strategies that come from these core principles. By practicing and following through with the techniques in this program, you will be able to transform any set of negative behavior patterns in your home. Your kids will be happier and more responsible. They will quickly learn to be respectful, cooperative and helpful around the house. Tantrums, whining, complaining and negativity will be a thing of the past.