How I Turned My Strong-Willed Child Into a Monster (And How You Can Too!)

How I Turned My Strong-Willed Child Into a Monster (And How You Can Too!)

I taught middle school for eight years before I had my own children. I knew there were those kids in class whom I adored; there were those who blended into the crowd; and there were those monster-kids whose parents I pitied when their kid returned home from school. I decided before I got pregnant that I was not going to raise one of THOSE kids. Mine would be just like the ones I adored. Seemed simple enough—decide what your kids will be like before you even have them. Done.


So, I clearly didn’t set out to create a monster.   Yet once I was given the raw materials on July 24th, 1996 as a unique gift from God, I unknowingly couldn’t help but start my monster creation. You see, not everyone can create a monster like I did. First you must test to see if your child has been given special monster-potential features.


As an infant, these potential monsters might cry for long periods inconsolably. Many can be labeled colicky. This makes sense because even as an infant, Michael was not accepting of our comfort because he KNEW he was crabby or that he was in pain and neither mom’s sUnknown-2waying to the Eagles’ Last Resort nor Dad’s midnight hall-walks were going to change his mind. Not all colicky babies can become a monster, but many monsters were fussy as infants.


As toddlers you might see extra energy that other kids don’t have. Future monsters use that energy in a variety of ways so it is almost always present from the beginning. Michael would run in circles, push, throw, and swat at things. He would also wander away from me. He had people and places that he needed to see, and plans that he needed to complete.   Once verbal, a potential-monster will have strong ideas. Opinions. Preferences. A sense of order. A sense of justice. A sense of right and wrong. (They are always right—others are always wrong)They like their socks not twisted in their shoes and their tags cut out of their shirts. They would like the blue cup and the Winnie the Pooh Bowl and the Honey-Nut Cheerios, never regular Cheerios. They have an innate aversion to the word “no” and they have the ability to have a better idea than yours every time.


By age two or two and a half it should be completely clear whether you have been given what you need to create a monster. If you are still unsure at age three that you have what it takes, then you probably don’t. It is almost impossible to create a high quality monster if you were given a low-energy, complacent, go-with-the-flow child. Sorry to disappoint. Some kids are just much easier to parent than others, and if you were given one of these children who was born to follow rules and please you, then my tips will be of no help to you.

But I had the raw materials. Now I just needed to shape him. Since Michael was my first born (which is often the case with potential-monsters), I thought is was so precious when he would point his finger at my husband and me animagesd say, “YOU stop talking!” Wow, our precious infant is big enough to talk to us and he wants us to stop talking so he can talk! Is that so sweet? What a genius! I could listen to him all day long.


When I got out the red cup and he wanted blue, I switched cups. How sweet, he knows which cup he wants.  When he was upset why we were out of Honey-Nut Cheerios, I took plenty of time to answer all his questions. I even promised to make a special trip out to the store as soon as I could. If I had planned out my day, but he had a better idea, I changed our plans. What an amazing kid who thinks of good ideas! What harm is there in doing the park first and Target second?   He was a picky eater who knew exactly what he wanted for dinner. No big deal. I can make a couple things for dinner.

But I began to grow weary of being at his beck and call. I became weary of LONG discussions and high-impact tantrums when his ideas conflicted with the rest of the family. Soon he and I were at war and I anticipated his next campaign and I started expecting him to be difficult. I started to label him as TROUBLE in my mind and then in my words. Labeling a potential-monster a MONSTER will help insure that you fully develop your own monster. It worked for me!

Day by day and week after week, month after month, I was spoiling my childUnknown-1 (Spoil: to diminish or destroy the quality of). Food spoils if it is left in the wrong environment for too long. I had been gifted the raw materials for a confident, strong leader with a strong will, but I was forming him into the kid who made my life miserable. I was not in charge; I handed control over to a preschooler. He had my number, pushed my buttons, and took over as the authority in the house. When he couldn’t be in control, he made us lose control.

By the time Michael was eight years old, my husband and I decided we were DONE being parents to a monster. (Reforming the Monster is next week)



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