I requested this book so I could understand more about the challenges parents face, and brainstorm solutions with my Gold Care Club members. I was shocked to find out how applicable this book is to my own life, even without children at home. I've come to realize that adults deal with other strong willed adults, from time to time, and the strategies remain the same. I could see much-loved extended family members between the pages of this book, and was able to use the lessons I learned in my day-to-day life.
The best part about You Can't Make Me is that it's written from first-hand experience by a mom with a strong-willed child. Cynthia doesn't promise it will all be roses and smooth sailing; she knows how difficult life can be. At the same time, because she has lived through it herself, she can provide balanced encouragement and options as you struggle with the daily challenges of a child or teenager who is not easily persuaded to do even the simplest things.
My favorite chapter is about turning conflict into cooperation, "How Can I Turn Conflict into Cooperation? Proven Strategies to Help you Both Thrive." You see, with a strong-willed person, you can't issue an order or they will immediately revolt. Cynthia Tobias recommends you ask questions instead, which may guide them to think through the situation or ask for help as they make their own decisions. She talks about choosing your battles, knowing in her own life that even the SMALLEST point can dissolve into the LARGEST argument if you make everything non-negotiable. She explains that parents often give far too many warnings, and instead should avoid threats and limit consequences unless completely sure they can follow through.
Five to Thrive tips for working and living with the strong-willed child.
Don't try to solve everything at once. Some tips will work better than others, but all of them will work to varying degrees depending on the child, the day, the mood, and so on. Remember, hundreds of SWCs (strong-willed children) have endorsed these strategies, and hundreds more are out there just waiting for you to ask them for more ideas. It won't be as hard as you think!
Throughout the entire book, she repeatedly reminds us to make sure the strong willed child always knows that your love is unconditional. No matter how big the challenge, unconditional love is the message they can take into adulthood, the irrevocable gift from a parent to a child. Each chapter begins with scriptural encouragement, a bonus for Christian parents feeling overwhelmed.
If you have a strong willed child of any age, this is a GREAT book. If you have a strong willed adult in your family, I also think you'll enjoy it - and then you'll be prepared if you end up with strong willed grandchildren in the future.