The example Dr. Dobson uses to describe the difference between compliant children and strong willed children is phenomenal. Compliant children are like grocery carts with well oiled, straight wheels. Strong willed children are like grocery carts with crooked, bent wheels that refuse to yield.
We might as well face it; some kids have crooked wheels! They do not want to go where they are led, because their own inclinations take them in the other directions. Furthermore, the parent who is pushing the cart must expand seven times more energy to make it move, compared with a parent of a child with straight wheels. (Only mothers and fathers of strong-willed children will fully comprehend the meaning of this illustration.)
Oh how true Dr. Dobson! How INCREDIBLY true!
This is the kicker of chapter one that made me want to KISS Dr. Dobson:
....it is very common for these moms and dads to feel great guilt and self-condemnation. They are trying so hard to be good parents, but the struggle for control that goes on at home day after day leaves them frustrated and fatigues. No one told them that parenthood would be this difficult, and they blame themselves for the tension that arises.
Could not have said it better myself. One more thing really stood out to me in the first chapter:
....I have found that the parents of compliant children don't understand their friends with defiant youngsters. They intensify guilt and embarrassment by implying, "If you would just raise your kids the way I do mine, you wouldn't be having those awful problems." May I say to both groups that willful children can be difficult to manage even when parents handle their responsibilities with great skill and dedication. It may take several years to bring such a youngster to a point of relative obedience and cooperation within the family unit, and indeed a strong-willed child will be a strong-willed individual all her life. While she can and must be taught to respect authority and live harmoniously with her neighbors, she will always have and assertive temperament. That is not a bad thing. It simply "is".
Music to my ears. Really, it is. All those staring people in public don't see the work Charlie and I are putting into our kids. God knows how hard we are working on their little hearts, and that is what matters. This last section makes me feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, but also makes me a little nervous. I know we can never let our guard down. We have to be truly committed to raising Lula Mae (and all of our children for that matter) to have a fire for God. Lula Mae will always be strong-willed. We just have to work on using it to her advantage instead of letting it be a disadvantage.
Did I mention I love this book???