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You Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded) {Book Review}

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

My now four-year-old was the most stubborn, difficult toddler I think I could have conjured up in my head.  I can remember so many nights crying and praying to ask why I was sent such a strong-willed little boy to raise.  I struggled to feel like the work I was doing as a parent was effective in any way, and I especially struggled some days to find the joy in parenting.  Although he was probably more trying than other two/three-year-olds his age, I look back and can see now that my misconceptions about him as a toddler made such a difference in my experience.  I had an extremely hard time allowing myself to pick my battles, as I was convinced that allowing him to “get away” with something at the time would inevitably lead to him being a high school dropout selling drugs at 15!

As he’s now grown and developed into just the best kid I could have asked for (not in terms of being the easiest and or the most well-behaved, but certainly the best for our family), I realize that so many of the changes that I made in my interactions with him improved my perspective of motherhood and our relationship overall.  My husband and I have come to accept these specific traits that used to drive us crazy and have tried to figure out the best way to work with them, rather than trying to change my son as we had attempted in the past.

persuaded

“Many parents suspect their strong-willed child is deliberately trying to drive them crazy. Difficult to discipline and seemingly impossible to motivate, these children present unique, exhausting, and often-frustrating challenges to the those who love them.  But strong will is not a negative trait. These same children have firm convictions, high spirits, a sense of adventure—all the makings of a great adult.”

One of the sections from this book that caught my eye was related to this excerpt from the back cover of You Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded).  I was interested to think of all the qualities and traits that I hope my children develop as they grow into teenagers and adults, and they were the same traits that can also make me want to pull out my hair during toddlerhood and preschool years — I want my boys to stand strong for what they know is right, to be independent, and to make their own decisions.  The author of this book explains how parents can better understand how the minds of strong-willed children really work, how to discover positive ways to motivate your strong-willed child, how to share control without compromising parental authority, and how to apply key tactics to survive a meltdown.

I was very impressed by this book, mostly because the author describes many of her own challenges with her son, who was a strong-willed child himself.  Her background in law enforcement, teaching, and being a mother to twin boys (one strong-willed and one not) provides the perfect balance of experiences that she presents objectively to display best practices that empower those who are strong-willed without making them feel defensive or on guard.  She explains events where those with strong will are triggered by certain wording or behaviors that could be easily changed to create an atmosphere of working together to benefit all (hence, But I Can Be Persuaded).

If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, teacher, camp counselor who works with strong-willed children or are feeling discouraged in your interactions with them, I would highly recommend this book to you!

**I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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