Saturday, October 29, 2011

Parenting The Strong-Willed Child

Child 1Image by Tony Trần via Flickr
I have a comic strip on my door at work that has a little boy telling his Dad, "You'll never be as smart as me dad.  Back when God built your brain...he was using older technology."  Pretty clever, huh?  Probably hits home for many parents like me who rely on younger children to tweak their websites, blog posts and download all kinds of materials that seem beyond  our older antiquated computer competencies.  Recently, I was trying to insert a picture into a profile  and guess what happened?  The picture on my desktop became so enlarged that I could literally count the hairs on my head.  Gives a new meaning to the term, 'Big hair" doesn't it?  My daughter was amazed at what I had done...not pleasantly impressed but amazed none the less.

There's another aspect of this cartoon that I like to focus on:  How is this kid wired?  What is his personality style?  Not hard to guess if you are familiar with the  DISC profile.  Sounds like a 'D' profile to me.  Often represented as a lion or an eagle, here are some words to describe them: determined, decisive, demanding, takes charge, bold, self-reliant, independent, confident, direct, competitive, challenges the status quo.  In a word, strong-willed.  Sound like anyone in your house?  If so, I bet you are wondering how you can create a climate that promotes peace in your household while still ensuring success for the 'D' wired child?  Here's a few recommendations: First of all, celebrate their unique qualities!  The same characteristics that make them a challenge to parent, can also be traits that put them in charge of their own corporation or  make them the next president of the country.  Find ways to channel that talent into productive pursuits.  What can they be in charge of at home?  In the community?  At church?  If you can pique their interest and develop in them a passion for excellence in a productive arena, you will make your job as a parent much easier.  Provide them with a challenge as well as some control and choices in order to get their best cooperation.  Give them room to not only grow but fail when necessary.  'D' wired children especially need to learn that there are consequences to their behavior.   Crystal clear boundaries, preferably written down, so they know your expectations will be essential.  The more you can encourage ownership of the situation, the better will be their cooperation and participation.  'D' wired children are often not naturally sensitive to the feelings of others, so it may be your job to help them recognize how their behavior and words affect others.  Help them learn compassion and develop a servant's heart while accomplishing their goals. 

 Your own personality profile often determines the type of struggles you may have with the 'D' wired child.  If you happen to be a 'D' wired parent, there is the possibility of power struggles and as you both vie for control.  Be firm but consistent, avoiding threats and ultimatums.  ' I' wired parents may need to focus on establishing rules and clear expectations, while following through with consequences and discipline.  If your own wiring is the 'S' personality profile, you will need to visit the 'D' traits in order to maintain control and teach her to recognize and respect authority other than her own.  Be firm and force yourself to take a stand.  Finally, 'C' wired parents may need to give their 'D' wired child some responsibility while refraining from stepping in when their own perfectionist goals aren't met.  Keep in mind that while 'D' wired children are similarly task oriented their pace is faster and less exacting than the reserved 'C' wired individual.   

This is the first of a four part series on parenting through speaking your child's personality language.  Next post will discuss parenting the Inspiring or 'I' type child.  If you would like to read more on parenting and personality styles, I suggest Personality Insights for Moms! by Susan Crook with Robert A Rohm Ph.D.  or Different Children, Different Needs, by Dr. Charles F. Boyd with Robert Rohm.  Ph.D. You can purchase either book at a 10% discount by visiting my website,    Click on the link to the Personality Insights store on the left and you will receive a 10% discount on all purchases.  Or you can buy them on Amazon:


  1. real good advice i like the way you a present it. thank you and god bless

  2. I have lived with a D-wired stepson for seven years. Wish we'd had this advice long ago!

    We've tried everything we knew how to do but, as you'll see in my blog on Monday, we have not been able to convince him that education is important.

    It's so sad . . .

    Blessings, Lynne, and thanks for a marvelous post!

  3. Great post. I look forward to reading more in this series. I like when you wrote:

    "The same characteristics that make them a challenge to parent, can also be traits that put them in charge of their own corporation or make them the next president of the country. "

    So true! Often it's the traits that tend to make them hard to manage when their children that propel them into leadership roles in the future. It's all about channeling their energy and passions..creating outlets for them.

    Thanks for the great read :)

  4. Thanks for the comments. I too have been challenged by a 'D' wired child. Learning about personality styles has helped me greatly with understanding.