Strong willed child being blamed and held responsible more than friends

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    • #10700

      Natalie, one of our members, submitted this question before the zoom call last Thursday. I didn’t get around to answering it before our time ran out answering the questions of those on the call, so I’ll respond in a comment below to answer it here in this:

      A difficult question that I’m not sure how to handle at present!

      What do you do when your very confident, highly-intelligent, strong-willed child seems to regularly be held more responsible / blamed when issues arise with friends who generally appear more mild mannered?
      It seems that because of her resilience and strength, people sometimes forget that each child plays a part in the dynamics and unfolding of challenging situations which is hard!


    • #10701

      Hi Natalie,

      Are these situations with other parents/ teachers / relatives? It is a classic that generally adults expect more of the strong willed child because they tend to come across as older than their age and more resilient. It’s so sad that adults can be so hard on children, when in reality all children deserve to be treated with respect, kindness and patience when they get into difficulties and have challenges. Our general societal approach of blaming and shaming and making children wrong is such a harsh and counterproductive approach. If you’re there, you can mediate the difference between the two (or all) children, which in itself models to the other adult/s that it’s important to give each child empathy, each child the space to express themselves and be heard and to problem solve to support them to either find a solution, or right the wrong. If it’s after the fact, it might require having a diplomatic conversation with the other adult that helps them expand their perspective, helps them see that all or each child in the situation are still learning to better manage these challenges and it’s our job to support each (or all) of them. It’s never easy having those conversations, and they can bring up a LOT of big feelings for us, but if you can do it hopefully it would help. I know that depending on who you’re dealing with, it could go either way.

      I talk about these kind of issues in this zoom call on strong willed children; At around 15 minutes, I talk about how strong willed children are usually very sensitive, but tend to be perceived to be less sensitive because of their strength, and hence treated with less sensitivity as a result. Sensitivity and intensity tend to go together for strong-willed children (and adults of course!). Life can be harder because of the projections from the world. SW kids can be harder to manage and hence easier for adults to box and label. And I think also a good resource would be this audio;

    • #10702

      Thank you. Yes, both our girls are strong-willed and yet highly sensitive and, as you say, they can appear to need LESS support than others but it’s not the case. They perhaps have a tendency to go to frustration /anger (as opposed to crying which attracts more empathy) with other adults/teachers/relatives.

      I did mention to the other adults but it’s hard for them to see and if they are triggered by the kids behaviours, it’s not the most pleasant of conversations. I will keep doing my best to spread the word about these kids.

      thank you

    • #10709
      Jo Bee

      I can totally relate to this too Natalie – it’s such a difficult place to find the balance to offer all the kids support. We haven’t had much luck talking with a couple of adults in our family around this, although we do manage it as best we can by modelling empathy etc. and over the summer holidays whilst we were with these families we just consciously kept an eye out for when my son is interacting near those adults, so I can help him if needed……it’s exhausting though to have to do this. He’s 9 now and we are starting to see he can self-regulate better……and when I keep him hydrated and fed (& sleep is decent – hard on holiday camping!) then that helps too lol 🙂 This trip we also found ourselves taking time away on our own as a family so we could all relax a bit more just us 5 for a day, or even a few hours. Big hugs, you’re not alone x

    • #10710

      Thanks so much, Jo.<3
      I’m definitely taking a bit more time out so my daughter can get more space and she is turning 9 later this year so I know she’s learning so much and can see her getting better at making better choices.

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