How do I deal with stubborn children

Autonomous Children: Tips for Raising Strong-willed Children

Children can be very stressful in the defiance phase. They want to permanently get their way and test their limits. Sometimes it can even lead to attacks of anger and rage. This is completely normal at a certain age. However, autonomous children display these behaviors from birth.

In our educational guide we would like to explain to you what autonomous children are and what characteristics they show. We will then show you the everyday problems that can arise with an autonomous child. Finally, you will receive tips on how you can make everyday life easier with strong-willed children.

Table of Contents

1. Autonomous children are strong-willed from birth

Wayward children are more successful

In a study, scientists examined more than 700 children to find out to what extent the respective character traits affect later professional success. They found that children who are stubborn and ignore many rules are later more successful and earn more money.

From a certain age onwards, a child wants to get their own way as often as possible. The so-called begins with a toddler Autonomy phase at an age of around two to four years. Over time, these children learn that they are not always being able to enforce their own will, but also have to orientate themselves towards the needs of other people.

However, the situation is different with autonomous children. The term “autonomous children” was coined by the Danish family therapist Jesper Juul. According to the Dane, these children have a particularly strong urge to be self-sufficient and independent. It is believed that around 15% of children are autonomous from the start.

In the case of autonomous children, it is by no means just a temporary phase of defiance. You want to be independent from birth, so that parents often reach their limits with their upbringing.

2. Recognize strong willed children

Autonomous children know and clearly show what they do not want.

However, many parents are unsure whether their child is actually an autonomous child. There isn't a specific test you can use to find out if your child is autonomous. However, these children show typical behaviors.

These include:

  • Autonomous children know exactly what they want and what always try to enforce their interests.
  • You have a high level of self-esteem and a enormous urge for self-determination.
  • Strong-willed children only consent to a proposal if they do have absolute freedom of choice.
  • They act like mature adults.
  • As soon as parents adopt educational measures, back off from them.
  • Autonomous children avoid physical contactif this does not come from you.
  • They take care that their personal boundaries are respected.
  • Strong-willed children always want to maintain their integrity and dignity.

If a child is strong-willed, this often affects the attachment behavior. A secure, autonomous attachment style develops in adulthood through a secure attachment pattern.

3. The pronounced self-confidence of strong-willed children can lead to problems

Penalties and prohibitions are superfluous with autonomous children.

Are strong-willed children a curse or a blessing? In today's society, independence and willpower are important qualities. Many parents want their children to be self-confident, strong-willed and autonomous. On the other hand, however, it also means that Children have their own mind and don't always follow instructions.

However, the need for self-determination can repeatedly lead to conflicts in everyday life and in upbringing. Parents are often desperate when their daughter or son wants to decide everything on their own and does not accept any compromises.

Even as a baby, autonomous children are often awake and very actively explore their environment. Even if they don't always want to cuddle, they can be very affectionate. So they want to decide for themselves what they want at what time.

Problems can quickly arise when parents begin to encourage them to do something that they themselves do not want. The same applies to applied educational measures. Autonomous children can neither be blackmailed nor manipulated. Therefore should no penalties are used.

As the behavior of these children is very specific, families with autonomous children often have to deal with criticism from outside. If you are close to relatives, friends or acquaintances, you can try to explain the situation.

Danger: Autonomous children are prone to outbursts of anger when external circumstances are not what they expect. Talk to your child openly about how such outbreaks can be prevented.

4. Tips for raising autonomous children

Talk to your child about their needs.

Anyone who has to raise an autonomous child does not always know what is good and right. Therefore we would like to tell you below Provide tips on how to best deal with an autonomous child.

  • Avoid "man statements". To come across as authentic, you should be with your child always use the "I-form".
  • Always offer your child love and affection. However, it is important that you do not impose this on you. The Physical contact should always come from the child.
  • Avoid any power struggle. On the other hand, talk openly about how conflict situations can be avoided.
  • Offer your child as often as possible Choices at.
  • Don't use baby language; treat your child with respect. In many cases, you can already speak to an autonomous child as to an adult.
  • Always ask yourself about your child's needs. However, at this moment, you should also make it clear that other people do not have the same needs.
  • Make it clear what you expect in each situation.
  • Give your child enough Time to think about conversations or conflicts.
  • Answer all of the child's questions honestly and authentically. Autonomous children are extremely sensitive to moods and therefore recognize very quickly when the statement is not true.
  • Accept your child for who they are. If you want to change your child, the situation can get significantly worse.

Jesper Juul has written a book that deals extensively with this topic. In an interview, the Dane answers many questions that many parents have asked. You can see the interview in this video:

5. Books by Jesper Juul

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Autonomous Children: Tips for Raising Strong-willed Children
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Photo credits: STUDIO GRAND WEB / Adobe Stock, velazquez / Adobe Stock, Halfpoint / Adobe Stock, Denis / Adobe Stock (sorted by order in the article)