Parenting a Strong-Willed Child With Love and Grace

by Lucille Williams October 5, 2021
“Let’s not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary.” Galatians 6:9 (NASB)
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One day when I was picking up my daughter, Monica, from elementary school, she realized she had forgotten something and had to go back to her classroom. I told her to hurry because we had an appointment.

When I saw her walking back slowly, I motioned for her to move quicker, and to my frustration, she went even slower. When she got to the car, I asked her why she didn’t obey, and she defiantly replied, “I didn’t want to!” Of course, I let her know that there would be a consequence for her disobedience.

During that season of parenting, even the simplest of tasks, like teeth brushing, took so much effort. I’d ask if she had brushed her teeth, and she would adamantly say “yes,” but when I checked, it was obvious she hadn’t. Would I then make her brush her teeth or deal with the lying? Addressing both was exhausting.

We kept trying new parenting approaches, hoping something would work. At times I didn’t feel like a grown-up human but a scared little girl trying to play house with a kid who was pushing me around.

At that time, I looked to God’s Word for encouragement. A favorite verse was Galatians 6:9, which says, “Let’s not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary.” While this verse was not written specifically for the context of parenting, it applies to all of the Christian life, and it encourages us that there is a harvest or reward for those who persevere in the trials before them.

As parents, we can easily assume: “As long as I do everything right, then my kids will turn out OK.” However, this idea leaves out free choice … the same free choice God gives each of us. We do not have control over our children’s choices. You can do everything just right, and still your child can choose to walk away from God or make what you deem poor life choices. Thinking you somehow have control over your child’s destiny is crazy-making and puts undue pressure on you. I know; I’ve been a part of this crazy-making.

Consider this: What if struggle is exactly what our children need in order to soar?

If you have a child with a very strong spirit, don’t be alarmed. Embrace it and be thankful, for it is that same strong nature that will enable him or her to stand up against peer pressure. It is that same strong temperament that will enable them to make wise decisions and make good choices. It is that same strong personality that will lead others and conquer obstacles that others only dream of conquering.

But maybe you have grown-up kids, and you see them using their strong spirits to wreak destruction on their lives (and maybe yours, too). Let me encourage you in this: Even if your kids are not walking with the Lord, there is always hope that they will turn and seek Him. Each new day is an opportunity God is offering them to come to Him. No one is too far gone for God to reach. Keep praying for your children, no matter their ages, and pray that God would give you a heart of compassion toward them.

For years, I sought the Lord as I parented Monica, but much more than that — I prayed fervently for her heart. The Lord was faithful to work in us both, and I’m grateful to say that now my daughter and I have a beautiful relationship.

Mom, when you feel like you’re not getting through to your child, you are. When you feel like she isn’t seeing all you do, she is. When you feel like he isn’t paying attention to what you’re doing, he is. What you do is not in vain. Your child is taking it all in. A harvest is on the other side if you remain faithful, and it’s worth it.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness and instruction. Help me not to become discouraged in doing good and to continue to be faithful. Help me to seek Your Truth in all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Do you have an “impossible” kid? Would you like to embrace and enjoy your parenting journey as you guide your child to love Jesus? The Impossible Kid: Parenting a Strong-Willed Child with Love and Grace by Lucille Williams can help. Pick up a copy HERE.


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Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will advise you with My eye upon you.” (NASB)

Are you struggling through a hard parenting or family relationship of some kind right now? In what ways can you intentionally give yourself some grace and give your heartaches to God?

© 2021 by Lucille Williams. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Barbour Publishing for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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