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128: Strong Willed Kids Need a Different Parenting Approach

By August 18, 2020November 8th, 2023Mastermind Parenting Podcast
128: Strong Willed Kids Need a Different Parenting Approach

In this episode, I focus specifically on strong willed kid behaviors and the obstacles in parenting these kiddos. There are many cultural components, especially when it comes to our own fixed mindset conditioning.

It can feel like a failure as a parent when you have a strong willed kid. Today, I unpack many pieces of this equation in a way that I don’t think I’ve spelled out quite like this before.

The bottom line is that having a challenging or differently wired kid propels us to shift, learn new things and ultimately, grow. If you have a strong willed kid, I hope you’ll do more than just passively listen today.

Get honest and think about whether you’ve taken action to help your kiddo feel better understood and more supported. And if your child’s behavior is consistently difficult, it’s a sure sign that more action needs to happen.

We have an amazing affordable program available to help you re-program that unhelpful auto pilot conditioning. Go to to sign up and take action STAT!

As always, thanks for listening, and be sure and head over to Facebook and you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community, where we post tips and tools and do pop up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!

About Randi Rubenstein

Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.

She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.

At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.

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0 (2s):
My name’s Randi Rubenstein and welcome to the Mastermind. Parenting Podcast where we believe when your thoughts grow the conversation’s in your home flood, you are listening to them.

1 (15s):
Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode one 28. Well, hi guys, how are you doing? How are you doing? We’re getting in to August. It is toasty toastie in Texas, toasting in Texas and August do not visit Texas’ in August, in case she didn’t know, in case you have been living under a rock. Yeah. I have majored geography and the, in the summers in Texas, Texas from the month of October through April is quite lovely, but yeah, it’s especially bad in July and August.

1 (59s):
Okay. I’ll stop talking about the weather because that’s boring. All right. What do I have for you this week? Well, and what I have read this weak is, you know, if you listen to this podcast regularly, I’m, I’m probably guessing that you have a strong willed kid and you’re the kind of parent that actually does something about it. It doesn’t just bitch and moan, but you look for resources, you listen to things, maybe somebody turned you onto this podcast. You appreciate my real talk. I’m in a non-clinical way. And you know, the I’ve lived it to, so I get it.

1 (1m 43s):
So w I want to just kind of have a candid and Frank discussion for all of us who gave birth to at least one strong-willed kid. Okay. And I just kinda want to talk about some things that I know that we always talk about. And I think that many of us, from the beginning, we look for resources, we would look for resources that will help us manage our kid because our kids is not being cooperative or not being compliant. And just has a lot of behaviors that frankly, they’re exhausting. Like everything feels like it’s in negotiation, or if it ends in a power struggle.

1 (2m 26s):
And, and it’s just a tiring day, you know? And it’s just not that fun when you’re in that place. And so what I found from for many of us is like, we intuitively know that the strong-willed part of our kid also represents qualities that will serve them later in life. But we don’t necessarily believe it’s their super power yet, because it’s like such a pain in the ass to deal with. And we’re tired. We’re freaking tired. Right? So it’s like we know intellectually and from a moral standpoint and who we want our kids to grow up to be like one of the, I think the most painful things for many people is like thinking of their kid, being a doormat, like even my son, who’s 22 of my Strong world.

1 (3m 17s):
One of course he has his first puppy Cheryl, and she has a little French bulldog. We got her for him for his birthday. And she’s a anybody who knows French, but we’ve never had a French bulldog before. And anybody who knows French Bulldogs, like, there’s something about them that is like, you become obsessed with them, but there are also like crazy stubborn. So it’s just sort of fitting that. Of course he has this crazy stubborn dog. And, and so like, he was telling me that, and it’s just been fun to kind of, you know, he’s like experiencing Parenthood, like he’s like, she’s been high maintenance, but then he gets up early in the morning with her.

1 (4m 1s):
And we’ve all been over the summer. We all went on vacation. We kind of like quarantined in a cooler state together. So we all live together, which was always a special treat for me because he doesn’t live with us anymore. And, and like my son who requires a lot of sleep, he’s getting up early. And then he’ll like, and then I get up and he like, leaves her with me. And then he goes back to bed. But like, he gets up early with her and all these other things. But he was telling me that he was really concerned about her because she loves the dog park so much. And so we do at home, he takes her to the dog park and M but she like does not ever, what was the word he used?

1 (4m 44s):
He something like she doesn’t ever correct other dogs. And she’s like a powerful little w we se she’s a thick girl. I could talk, I get to spend the whole time on the podcast talking about dogs. Like I’m a little bit like the credit, you know, how, like, there is a crazy cat ladies. I’m like the crazy dog lady. And especially with, since I’ve been with my family and there’s three dogs and we’ve been quarantined, like, literally, I don’t even know where the days go, but I think I just sit in, play with dogs and watch them and observe them. And then we talk about them. Like, it’s, yeah, I’m a little bit of a nut job when it comes to the dog. So anyway, he was telling me that he was really worried and she has never cracked other dogs. And she loves it so much there. But even when it’s like a ferocious dog and she wants to play with them, like, should we just keep going and going and going and going.

1 (5m 29s):
And when they snarl our snap it, or like, she doesn’t, she doesn’t seem too bothered by it. And so I think he’s worried that like, she’s going to get her ass kicked and that she is going to be a doormat. And I think that many of us as parents worry about that, you know, it’s like, we don’t want our kids to be the bully, but I think maybe even more so deep down, we don’t want our kid to be the one getting bullied or the one getting walked all over. And so I think that’s super painful as a parent to imagine that having your child in that position. Cause if any of us have ever experienced that, feeling other feeling less than feeling powered over at any time in our lives, we know it felt emotionally very painful.

1 (6m 11s):
And so the thought of our kids experiencing that is, is really painful for us and to see, so I think we no on like a soul level, we don’t want it squash our kids’ spirits or send them the message that there’s something wrong with them, but we also just want them to put it on their freaking shoes and stop making everything into a negotiation or a power struggle. Like it gets exhausting. So if we try to squash their spirit, you know, what happens is we’ll shape them to feel not enough unworthy in the insecure. Like there’s something wrong with them and nothing good comes from that type of conditioning.

1 (6m 53s):
But you know, here, this here’s where we’re the problem really lies it’s that many of us were conditioned that way. Okay. So many of us were conditioned with messages of if we didn’t do things just so or cooperate, just so then we were, there was something wrong with us, which ultimately sent it, us the message of feeling not unconditionally loved, left us with the message of feeling not enough a more than, yeah. And, and, and ultimately I think that’s really where insecurity lives is from those that messaging.

1 (7m 34s):
So that is in many of, many of them humans, autopilot programming, I believe. And when we experience stress, guess what happens is that all autopilot conditioning is what comes online. So like, even though we know it would make a lot life, a hell of a lot easier and simpler. If our kids could just, you know, get with them a program, we don’t necessarily know how to help them be more cooperative without resorting to the tactics that were used on us. Because when their being difficult, we go into our triggered state and then are you, our autopilot conditioning comes online.

1 (8m 21s):
Right? And that’s why we resort to, like, if you want to know what messages you were raised with that, leave you in a position of feeling insecure or chronic people pleasing, or constantly second guessing everything or, or, or, or not having the courage to, you know, make that video or put out that post or say the thing that you really want to say deep down, you know, all of that insecurity comes from you receiving messages that you resort to when you’re in that autopilot triggered. And it usually has something to do with comparison. Name-calling blame yelling, all of those ways that that come out for us.

1 (9m 8s):
Why can’t you just enough? I am so sick of you. I can see why does it need to be so difficult? Why I don’t understand. See all of that lends itself to the conditioning of there is something wrong with you. Okay. And then we add yelling to it and yelling. It’s really scary. It’s really scary for a kid. And it’s really confusing because here’s the people who love you the most. You’re supposed to be protecting you. And ultimately you’re feeling scared around them. And that’s why so often when we yell at them before they cry, a lot of times, you know, it becomes a power struggle because they get so scared.

1 (9m 51s):
They go into a state of fight or flight they’ll run away or There will yell back. And then ultimately when the tears come, it’s because we have overpowered them enough that they are in such a state of deep fright. And all of that are ways that we become conditioned with that, not enough for, or an unworthiness conditioning. So, so what are the most parents do to change this dynamic? Right? We’re not really thinking about it on a conscious level. We just know that we’ve got the strong-willed kids and they’re being difficult and they are being a pain in the ass and it’s driving us nuts. Like, you know, we just want them to comply because we’re so kind of stuck in the exhaustion and the day to day to day today.

1 (10m 33s):
Right? So when we hit rock bottom, what do I, you know, what do I see most people doing, most people start and including me, we start to send our kids to outside resources to help them become more cooperative. Like there is some, like, we like, we’re like, I don’t know what to do. I got to find the experts. So we find the experts we ask around, we do some research and we find them and we look for specialists and, and we look for different types of therapists talk, play occupational speech. We look for books that are written by therapists. We read them. And that’s not to say that any of these resources are bad.

1 (11m 16s):
Okay. However, are usually are the first Avenue we go down to help us help our kids is we look outside ourselves. We look to the experts to become an expert on our child, but the truth is we’re the true experts on our children. We just don’t realize it most likely because we received these messages of second guessing ourselves, not feeling enough, not feeling worthy, not having the confidence feeling insecure. So we’re looking to all of these experts to be the experts on our own kids. So what’s, what do we really need to do? Need to arm ourselves with the right tools and the info to help us learn how to help our own children.

1 (12m 0s):
Right. And its not to say that a good therapist can’t help to write. I really, I mean, I, I, in fact, I’m training occupational therapists right now in Mastermind Parenting to be Mastermind Parenting coaches. I love good therapists and I think they can be an amazing additional resource. I just don’t think they are the first go-to resource. I mean, if you think about it, like a kid spends an hour a week with a good therapist and that that can enhance your child’s life. But only if you’re doing it in conjunction with changing how you’re doing things at home. And I’ve talked to many therapists about this many therapists that actually take my program.

1 (12m 45s):
I have many therapists that, or my colleagues that are my personal friends and what they’ve shared with me kind of behind the scenes is that they don’t have the time to do the parent education piece. Like being a therapist is exhausting. You guys, it’s a deep, deep work and people go into therapy to the same. It’s kinda similar. Like people that have become teachers or people that become therapists, they understand the importance of being mentally healthy. They understand the importance of prioritizing this work. It is their life work, but it is deep work. And there is just not enough hours in the day for them to create content and train parents.

1 (13m 29s):
And, and to teach you what to do at home. When you have kids that are struggling and the therapist have also told me that they only get one hour with these kids. They fall in love with these kids. They fall in love with your kids, but they only get one hour and, and compared to living with them, they’re like, you know, parents live with them. So a parent that is practicing the tools of communicating with empathy, seeing your child’s perspective, getting on the same page, getting on the same team, connecting before you correct. And learning how to do it differently. Right?

1 (14m 9s):
You have, they in therapists know this, you have the ability to change your child’s life, but they don’t know how there’s like this gap. They don’t know how to get that information to you guys so that you can be on the same page with them. And then your child can truly, you know, develop the skills that they’re lacking and feel understood and, and start doing better. So the parent education piece, I kind of feel like it’s more of a cultural problem than anything because really, you know, we’ve all heard the saying, kids don’t come with a manual.

1 (14m 49s):
Right? Like we’ve heard that. But I believe that Parenting right. Like it’s not, nobody is saying Parenting, doesn’t come with a manual. It’s sort of like will Parenting is just like, we think of it. Like it’s an innate, you’re just supposed to know. You just have to know. And, and it’s I, and I almost feel like there’s this elephant in the room of like, yeah, anyone with half a brain should know how to raise amazing kids. And so, and I think there’s an, a high level of parent shaming when it comes to having a difficult or strong-willed or non-compliant or non-traditional child, Parenting a kid wired with a strong will is more difficult.

1 (15m 34s):
It causes us to have to learn new things. They are now, these kids are not having it. They are not going to be controlled or told us exactly how to think are how to behave or what to do. They ha there is a different way to help these kids become the best versions of themselves. And they do not wait for teenage had to rebel. They start very early and they propel us to have to learn new, better tools and methods. Okay. And so the problem is, since most of us were conditioned with messages involving the unworthiness, unless we prove our worth.

1 (16m 15s):
Okay. And we, most of us were, were raised with that fixed mindset messaging. You have to prove your worth to all of the authority figures in your life. Teachers, parents, coaches, like by some external measurement. Right. And, and that was really, I mean, from just the messages, you know, from report cards, to paying kids for grades two admonishing kids from getting the wrong grades, without getting to the bottom of why they got the wrong grades to Kids that that are put on such a pedestal for having, you know, for being gifted athletically to comparing your kid’s one to the other, the kid, who’s the good kid, the kid that’s a bad kid.

1 (17m 1s):
So, so most of us are in our society. Our culture really does focus a lot on external measurement. And what kids take in from that is I am worthy if I am externally achieving, if I’m not externally achieving. And if I am a strong-willed one and I do the opposite of what the authority figures want me to do, that I receive a message that I’m not unconditionally loved and that is ingrained in our culture. So, so, so there’s, you know, that’s where the that’s the rub really is that if we want to do it differently, right.

1 (17m 45s):
If we want to do it differently, we have to undo that conditioning and retrain ourselves to do it differently. Okay. And if we don’t like who’s going to suffer. Ultimately our kids, our kids are gonna suffer, especially our strong Willed ones. ’cause if we were conditioned with these external measurements, and this is something that most parents never look at, or God forbid, we should admit. If we haven’t retrain our brains and adopted a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset, then we see our kids as evidence of our success or failures as parents.

1 (18m 33s):
And when we have these strong willed ones that are digging their heels in, and we haven’t learned new tools or retrain our brains to communicate with them in a way they can actually hear, then we see their behavior as evidence of our own failure. Nothing good comes from this. You guys, nothing, nothing good. We have to change this. We have to change this because the truth is yes, we want our kids to be easier. I mean, that’s the damn truth. Like just put on it, just go to bed, right? We want them to be easier. We’re tired, but what we really want, what we really, really want, if you, we got to go and sleep in a hotel for like two nights straight and then come back, refresh what we, and we could say with clarity, what we really want is for them to be happy and healthy and to possibly live a life that’s even better than the one we’ve lived so far.

1 (19m 31s):
Like that’s the primal in a part of being a parent, that part wanting even better for our kids. We may not know how to provide that. And there should be no parents shaming. It actually, it would be the opposite of shaming. Every parent that listens to a parenting podcast that picks up a book that attempts to do things differently. Like that’s where the courage is. That’s getting out into the arena as Teddy Roosevelt or Brenae Brown who like loves to quote him, says, that’s, that’s where the real bravery comes from. And so, you know, but, but if we’re talking primal, if we’re talking in a way, it’s just that we want more for them.

1 (20m 17s):
Right. We just want more. So my husband says that quite often, you know, he’s like, yeah, well I love my kids. He’s like, and yes, I turned out just fine, but I want more for them. I want them to be even more than fine. Right? Like we want more for our kids. And I think that it’s been a thing, you know, it’s like a lot of times I’ve heard our, I’ve seen movies or read books about immigrant parents who pushed their kids to do really well in school and become doctors and lawyers and live the American dream and not have to struggle the way they’ve struggled. But a lot of times it’s, you know, I, I think wanting more for our kids is put in financial terms or external measurement terms of having the status and being a professional.

1 (21m 8s):
But like, what if we put in emotional terms, what if we want our kids to feel whole, even more emotionally hold than we do? What if we want them to feel worthy and unconditionally loved and enough, and, and exactly meant to be who they were born to be like, they are enough just because they were born and they are human. Like what if that was the message? What if that is wanting more for your kids? So thank you for listening to this podcast. Especially if you have a strong willed kid I’m, I’ve created Mastermind Parenting because of you because every family that has a strong willed kid, I believe that we have to learn new tools to help them become the truly best versions of themselves that they were meant to be.

1 (22m 0s):
And I actually do believe their strong will is their super power. And I think they propel all of us to learn things that will make all of us better versions of ourselves. So keep practicing the things that you’ve learned here, and you have something exciting. If you’d like more training and accountability, we do have an exciting announcement. We have created a crash course. Mastermind Parenting Crash Course to take your family from surviving to thriving in 30 days. And, and this is a great place to get started, especially if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, but you haven’t been taking consistent action.

1 (22m 40s):
Or if you’ve been thinking about joining the mastermind, but maybe you don’t have the budget for it. This is a great, great beginning step. And we made it 30 days for a reason because it takes 30 days of consistent action to create a new habit, to create a new pattern in your life. And we send you bite-size trainings directly to your phone. We make it super simple, super easy. It’s a way to get on the same page as your co-parent. And, and I really teach you all of the foundational pieces of Mastermind Parenting in it. And these are private training’s that are not available anywhere else outside of my private membership community.

1 (23m 22s):
So I would love to offer that to you. And, and also I want you to hear from Marcy, I’m going to, I’m about to, I’m going to play something from Marcy who is a recent student of our parenting program. She has just been in for maybe like two or three months and she left me the most beautiful random message. And so I asked her if I could include It on the pack Podcast and she found me actually through the podcast and listened, I think for like a year before she came and joined the Mastermind. And so she left me this sweet message. So, so I’ll let you hear from Marcy. And, and if you’d like to learn more about the crash course, just go to Mastermind Parenting dot com forward slash 30 that’s Mastermind Parenting dot com forward slash 30, and now let Marcy take it away.

2 (24m 10s):
Hi, Randi this is Marcy cherish, or didn’t want to bother you, but just wanting to say real quickly, how grateful I am for you and Lindsay and this program. And I’m so thankful that a bit the bullet and did it, and I know that my life is gonna change and get better than it already is. And things are improving with my kids, even though we’re still having struggles and we’re still working through this and I still have to master my mind and get packed leadership skills and worked through so many of these things, but I really believe I’m in the right place. And I’m just so grateful for you guys and just wanted you to know how much I appreciate you and how much you’re doing and all of the content that you put out, all of your podcasts, everything. Just thank you from the bottom of my heart.

2 (24m 51s):
I really appreciate you have a happy Wednesday

0 (24m 55s):
Are you guys have created It. My team has created in the actually, if you are ready to take your family from surviving to thriving, we’ve got something for ya. We’ve created this amazing 30 day, very affordable Mastermind Parenting Crash worst. So if you are ready to learn how to solve any problem, big or small with your strong willed child, and frankly, anyone is ready to go and learn how to master the PRODUCTIVE the combo that you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you have your reading, the resources that we’ve put out, that you could have found yourself and not necessarily taking action. It’s okay.

0 (25m 34s):
Normal. You just need 30 days of consistent action. And that’s why we created the Crash for us. So we’re going to switch you from old school discipline and all that conditioning that bring to the table during triggered moments, because you are human and we’re going to start. The training process is they say it takes 30 days, create a new habit that the 30 Day Crash Course is super affordable. I would love to see you on the inside. When we send you bite-size trainings every day, we don’t have log-ins and all kinds of nonsense involved. We have hired tech engineers.

0 (26m 15s):
We send the training directly to your cell phone. It’s a no brainer, and it’s one of the price per family. So it’s a great way to get on the same page with your co-parent. It’s a great way to start taking your family in a whole new direction, like the time is now. So if you wanna learn more, if you wanna join the mastermind period to crash course, go to Mastermind Parenting dot com forward slash 30 that’s Mastermind forward slash Free. Can’t wait to continue to be.

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