My kid is a hard kid. Not the hardest on the planet, I’m sure, but strong-willed as all get-out and a control-freak to boot.

I don’t think being strong-willed is bad at all. In fact, I think there are some really wonderful things about it, and there are lots of wonderful things about my kid that I love and adore, but a strong-willed child can be HARD.

I constantly have to watch what I say and pick my battles. If I say no to something, I absolutely can’t back down. If I say I’m going to do something, I have to do it. Failing to follow-through once means a bigger meltdown next time.

But the hardest thing for me is that so few moms I know really understand what having a strong-willed kid means. I’ve heard moms talk about having strong willed kids because their two year olds will fuss for a few minutes before sitting for a time out. Or because their three year old doesn’t want to eat vegetables. Meanwhile, my kid RAGES because I presented him with an open cup and actually expected him to drink from it. Or runs around the house, stark naked, screaming and flailing because he doesn’t want to wear nice clothes to church, he wants his pajamas.

And when he rages, all you can do is wait it out. No amount of trying to sympathize with him, consequence, or even spanking will work. You  just have to ride it out and wait for him to be done.

He is my child, and I love him. And I love parenting him. I truly do. I was a strong-willed child, so I know he can turn out half-way decently if I stick with it, and I know I’m stubborn and strong-willed enough to do it, but I wish I could take him places and actually have an answer to questions like, “is there anything you can do or say to him to help him when its time to do something else?” No, there really isn’t. If he doesn’t want to do something, he will cry or have a small fit about it. Saying, “that’s not a choice right now,” doesn’t work. Neither does, “you can dome back to that later.”

But he’s a hysterical kid. He loves to be silly and make you laugh. He knows just about everything about machines and plays things like “laying down the pipeline” in his sandbox that crack me up. He is totally and completely honest. In the middle of a tantrum you can ask him if he will obey, and he will answer honestly, or just keep crying, which means he isn’t. He is so sweet to his brother and loves him.

Please don’t think for a second I don’t love him and love being his mom. I do. And I truly do not wish he was any different than how he is. All I really wish is that other parents understood what parenting him is like. It is so different than parenting a compliant or non-strongwilled child that unless you have a child like that, you just don’t get it. Maybe I just wish there were more moms I knew who have strong-willed kids. Parents who I could say, “I had to hold my kid down to dress him today, then strap him in his carseat so he wouldn’t undress himself and take him to school, where he screamed, held onto the door and tantrum while his poor teacher held him. And I felt so bad dropping him off like that, but he had a tantrum about staying home and I couldn’t let him win. And I was embarrassed too, but there’s nothing I can do,” and have them understand.