One thing about kids with strong will is they’re not going to be fake. They don’t value people who say one thing but mean another. They feel disrespected when people do that to them.
This means that they also won’t do that to others. This is why, when a child like this is obviously upset in competition, they may not return high fives offered by teammates or coaches. High five-ing when they don’t mean it goes against their very nature and core values.
They actually have a level of integrity that does not make it easy for them to do or say things they don’t actually mean. It’s very common for strong willed kids to be very straight forward, and not so great with sugar coating. This can mean no high-fives or fist bumps when they’re not feeling it.
One thing that can help is giving these players a chance to express to everyone what would be most helpful to them when they’re obviously flustered or upset.
If we can acknowledge that we know they aren’t always into the “rainbows and butterflies” thing, and then we take the time to ask, “How CAN we help pick you up when we see that you need it?” it can make such a big difference and go a long way.
We can also ask if they are willing to agree to accept, and receive, our less than perfect attempts to help them in those moments (including high fives when they’re not really wanting them).
When they feel like they have a say and feel heard vs just being forced into doing what everything else thinks and wants them to, it can help them be much more open to receive help and be much more cooperative.
The one thing a strong willed child WILL react strongly to is other people pushing them to be different than they are (even when they’re wrong) because along with their strong will comes an incredibly strong NEED to be accepted and loved AS IS.
Kids who need love most will ask for it in the most unloving ways.
When they feel like they aren’t accepted as they are, and others want to change them, they feel violated in a very deep way, right down to their core. They feel rejected and less than. This makes their NEED for love and acceptance BIGGER, not smaller, and that them causes them to ask to be seen and accepted, no matter what, in even stronger ways. The cycle of their “bad behavior” continues and, often, escalates.
When both sides can admit that they are less than perfect, and can admit that they don’t know exactly what to do in every situation, but can also acknowledge that we are going to do our best together, lots of frustration and upset and animosity can be avoided between coach/player or between player/teammates.
When we can do this, and get to the heart of the matter, we can inspire lasting positive change within our children.
Through our example, they can learn to resolve conflict, and handle negative emotions, peacefully ❤️
And when I say “our children,” I mean all of OUR children, all of them, collectively 🙂
I care about yours deeply too. I want to see them succeed. I want to see them shine. I want to see them rock this life in every way possible!
Want more ideas for working with your child through the tough stuff in sports and life? Join us in the ToughTeam Community where you will get simple, actionable ideas you and your child can use starting today. And look, if your child isn’t into it, don’t worry. You go in and do it and I promise you, it will automatically impact your child too. We’ve seen it happen time and time again. Get in there, do the 5-day challenge, interact in the group, learn, and apply, invite your child along, but don’t get caught up if they’re not ready yet. You learning and growing WILL ultimately help them too <3