The Taming of the Shrew Strong-Willed Toddler

I hereby announce that I have the sure-fire method for dealing with a strong-willed toddler!

NOT! But I will share what’s working at this point and time. Any day now, Little Pea may decide she’s on to me, and change tactics altogether. I’ve read a few snippets of the book, “Parenting with Love and Logic,” and everything I’ve read seems brilliant! You have to use your intuition with each child to see which methods are most effective.

Little Pea is two, and in that “I do it!” stage. She wants to do what she wants to do, and nothing else. I’ve found a way to make her do what I want her to do, while making her think she has a choice.

For example, we are in a store, and she doesn’t want to leave with me. She stands there and exclaims, “NO!” In the past, I’ve resorted to spanking threats, and even carrying her out the door screaming. However, this question has been working like magic lately:

“Would you like to come yourself, or should I come and get you?” Like clockwork, she’ll say, “my. self.” and… get this… she actually comes with me! Some other great questions are:

“Will you put your shoes on yourself, or should I come over and do it?”
“Can you sit at the dinner table, or do you need to go to bed?”
“Would you like the red shirt, or the pink one?”

You get the point. Anyway, try it… see if it works for you.

Two wonderful books I’ve read are “The Strong-Willed Child” by James Dobson, and “Parenting with Love and Logic” by Foster Cline and Jim Fay

So what works for you?

More Works For Me Wednesday:
Getting Kids to Sort Laundry
Save at Least Half on Groceries
The Nightly Routine

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About Sarah Pinnix

I'm a mom, blogger, vlogger, libertarian. I love Jesus, and my husband, too. Social Media Strategist for a Non-Profit (All statements here are solely my own)


  1. ~Mary~ 4boys4me says:

    great idea; now to remember it when that stressful situation arises!


  2. Mommy Cracked says:

    I’ve heard terrific things about this book. Thanks for the tip…will have to try this with my three year old.


  3. My little guy is almost 1. But know when he is a little older he will have to test his will. I will try to file this in my mommy brain. Thanks!


  4. I’ll have to check out that book. I just took “The Spirited Child” out of the library, and it has had some good tips too. My daughter is strong willed and wants to do everything herself too. Good luck! 🙂


  5. SAHMmy Says says:

    Great advice! I’ve also heard this tactic called GOYB Parenting. It’s hard to remember that little ones don’t always respond to verbal instructions. If I just tell my son to get dressed, come here, etc. it’s not as effective as offering a physical alternative–can you put on your shoes or would you like some help? Can you climb up in your carseat or can I put you in?


  6. Thanks for the suggestion on the books and this great tip. My child is so strong-willed, head-strong, stubborn, etc. You name it, he does it. And he’s disciplined, too! Gah!

    I guess the secret you’ve really shared is in how things are phrased! I’ll be trying out this tip soon… like tonight when i get home from work!


  7. Well, we have a strong willed one at our place too : P And I agree… this works wonders!


  8. Thanks so much! I have a very strong-will little girl who will be 2 on the 19th, and I’ve been going crazy trying to figure out what to do! I immediately reserved this book at my library when I read your post!


  9. If Borders was still open, I would be driving there right now. My 20 month old has been a bit…lets just call it difficult.

    We have already determined that she just won’t listen, so now I have come to terms with the fact that I have to change how I say things.

    Argh. Funny, I don’t think our parents had these problems.


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