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Being a parent of a strong-willed child will test you unlike anything else. Just when you think you finally have them figured out, they will turn the tables upside down, and honestly, it’s not for the weak.

However, that isn’t to say that strong-willed (AKA stubborn kids) are bad. Actually, strong-willed kids are pretty amazing in their own right. They are free thinkers, future leaders, and critical thinkers, and they have inner strength. While all of that is good, it still doesn’t take away from the inner turmoil a mother feels when her child continues to test her gangster. The key is, learning how to align yourself as a mother with your highest self so that you can help shape them into the amazing humans they will grow into (and already are.)

Here are 7 qualities a mom needs to parent a strong-willed child.

1. A sense of humor.

Having a stubborn child can be stressful, but with the right approach, it doesn’t have to be. Remember, it’s okay to approach things with a light heart and an open mind. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is laugh it off and keep going.

2. A flexible mindset.

Being flexible means being open to the fact that you can adjust things as needed. Not all parenting styles are going to work for your strong-willed child, and that’s okay. Stay open-minded and flexible.

3. Equal will.

If you are going to parent a stubborn or strong-willed child, remember that you need to match their will. If you don’t, you are going to end up giving in when you shouldn’t, which could turn a stubborn child into a child who is out of control. It’s perfectly okay for them to have a strong will, but do not allow them to run you over.

4. Consistency.

Be consistent with your expectations, as well as with your follow-through. Empty threats do not stop bad behavior. Instead, you need to pick a punishment and stick to it.

5. Self-respect.

Maintain a level of self-respect and also demand that same respect from your kids. You should also respect them because that is how respect is learned – through being modeled. If your children are respected and are expected to respect you-they are also going to respect others.

6. The ability to look at the big picture.

When your child is fighting you at every turn, it can be discouraging. Keep your focus on the big picture, which is that you need to help them to learn self-control now. Being strong-willed is not bad, but you must teach your child how to handle their strong will in a way that can help them, not hinder them.

7. Empathy.

Above all, remember to remain empathetic. Just because your child has a strong will does not mean that they are always being bad. Listen to them when they try to express how they feel or what they need. Stay tuned into what is going on with them. Remember, they are learning how to process things, so help guide them.