266: Parenting Strong-Willed Kids // Wendy Snyder


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Awww, the unique challenge and blessing of having a strong-willed child. If you have one, or several, you know what I’m talking about, and in today’s episode I am interviewing an expert who is going to help us!

 Wendy Snyder is a Positive Parenting educator and family life coach & advocate who first got started in the world of positive parenting when her own beautiful, strong-willed daughter Stella gave her so many challenges. She dove into the research and received certifications in Redirecting Children’s Behavior & The Joy of Parenting Program, which eventually lead her to launching her own online business, Fresh Start Family, where she spreads the message of positive parenting that rescued her as she struggled through her journey of new motherhood with a strong-willed child.

If you are listening to this episode right when it airs, this week might be the beginning of your kids’ holiday break from school, which is such a fun time but can also be a really overstimulating time for cactus kids, with lots of opportunities for power struggles. So consider this episode my holiday gift to you. I hope the takeaways Wendy shared will make the next week or two with your family a bit more peaceful.





  1. Be aware of the way you are thinking about your strong-willed child, and practice thinking about them differently. Are you subconsciously casting them as your enemy or someone to be controlled or subdued, even if it’s just in your mind? When you catch yourself thinking of them as Demanding, Defiant, and Difficult, take a deep breath and try on some different words: Determined, Bold, Non-Conforming, and a Leader. This small shift in the way you think about your child-and talk to others about them-will impact the way that you interact with your child.  
  2. On a day-to-day basis, have a goal to give your cactus kid opportunities for power and leadership as often as possible. This might look like putting them in charge of projects or duties, such as president of the family holiday decoration committee or captain of the car. Remember, the responsibilities have to be something that interests them, especially as they get older, that they can feel a sense of ownership over.  
  3. Dissolve power struggles instead of engaging in them. One way to dissolve a power struggle is to give a child some choices or to use phrases like, “I can see that you don’t want to do this AND we still need to get this done, so how are we going to get this done as a team?” You might also try to do something unexpected or playful to diffuse the tension and reassure your child that you’re not trying to control them.


>>>Are these trips from Wendy Snyder about parenting strong-willed kids helpful? What would you add to the takeaways? Tell us in the comments below.





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