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PREVIEW: Why Your Child Rebels by Lion Goodman & Carista Luminare

Children can be stubborn, willful, and infuriating.
But maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

Whose needs are more important? Yours or your child’s?

Have you ever been dominated and controlled by another person? How did it make you feel? Did you want to push away from them or run away to escape their control?

This is a common feeling that many children have every day — because their parents are insensitive to their needs for independent self-expression.

Children are complete human beings, with a full spectrum of human needs: safety and security, love and connection, boundaries and independence.

Every child has their own unique temperament and personality, shaping their response to parents, family members, and their environment. All children share the need to express their own will. Will is the faculty that enables an individual to make their own decisions and act in accordance with their internal needs and desires. Parents can either suppress their child’s natural will — or empower it.

During most of our western culture’s history, willfulness in children has been associated with obstinacy — a refusal to bend and comply with the wishes of a superior. We assume that our children should obey our commands, demands and instructions — maintaining a positive and cheery cooperation all the while.

Some children do have a compliant temperament and will happily cooperate with requests and commands. This is a successful strategy for getting along in the world, so these children often grow up to be productive workers and rule-followers. The downside of this strategy is that they could grow up to be sheep-like and uncreative, requiring instructions from others to function, rather than feeling free to think for themselves.

Other children are naturally independent, with a strong need to express their own will. They test any boundaries set for them, including those set by their parents. These children can grow up to be rule-breakers, creative thinkers and innovators. If their strong will is suppressed, they could push against that suppression and become rebels, even outlaws. If their will is crushed by suppressive parents, they could end up depressed, anxious or ineffective in their life. A thwarted free will can significantly impact the child’s self-worth.

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