The Strong Willed Child and God

The Strong Willed Child and God - Parenting Like Hannah
You Can’t Make Me by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

Parents often say they have a strong willed child. Some children are a little wiser, shall we say, about heeding correction than others. Strong willed children can cause early gray hairs in some parents and moments of counting the days until they leave home for others. Forget trying to dedicate him to God, you are trying to merely survive his childhood!

I believe every child has the potential to be self-willed at any given moment. Remarkably, the behaviors of the self-willed child resemble those of the strong willed child. As parents, we want the “magic” secret for handling those moments when our child has drawn a line in the sand and dares us to cross it. How do we teach them obedience and avoid World War III in the process?

Enter Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. I first because acquainted with her because of her wonderful book on learning styles. Recently, I was sent a copy of her latest book, You Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded). If I were to ever write a parenting book, this would be it. Her advice is practical, concrete and easily arranged for quick referencing in a parenting crisis. My main criticism is that I believe she undersells her book! I didn’t see a strategy there that wouldn’t work on almost any child. In fact, I would recommend this as an excellent general parenting book. She gives plenty of great advice on establishing healthy parent/child relationships and effective correction for a recalcitrant child (polite word for “try and make me”!).  I would characterize her methods as loving, but firm. Children in her world don’t get a free pass to misbehave, but are treated with respect and as if they may have something to offer.

Take my advice and skip the quiz in the first chapter. It is a little confusing and trust me, every child needs to be parented with her techniques. Some of her “tricks” just won’t be needed as often with some children as with others. My only other suggestion (for her to change in her next edition) would be to encourage parents to use the word “please” instead of “okay” when asking a child to do something. I believe it conveys the same respect, with a little less wiggle room for the child. Of course, I think I passed her quiz in the first chapter, so maybe that’s just my strong willed response to her coaching!

Click here to read the first chapter. Take the quiz if you would like, but get the book and try her suggestions on your child. Let me know what you think. I believe you will find they work almost like “magic”! Remember God will be able to use a child who has been taught to be obedient more than He can use one who is constantly defiant.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I am painfully honest though, and would tell you if I didn’t like it. I am keeping it on my reference shelf of parenting books in my library!

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking. Their daughter Katrina, who has been an integral part of their service adventures, attends Pepperdine University.

2 thoughts on “The Strong Willed Child and God”

  1. Thanks! I loved her book The Way They Learn, too. It really helped us when we learned that somehow two visual parents had given birth to an auditory/kinesthetic learner! Made teaching her a lot easier, because otherwise I probably would have assumed she was a visual learner too.

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