Every kid has the potential to be a bit of a monster at times, but some kids test our patience more than others. We can see these children as 'trouble makers' or 'the bad kid,' but we should really be looking at all the amazing qualities they are practicing on us. So the next time you feel a headache coming around this type of child, try to view the situation through this lens:
1. Creative problem solving
The next time your child is sneaking out of the house, think about all the obstacles of planning they have to overcome in order to get out of the house. One of the cleverest women I know once told me about how she would have to plan days in advance in order to have everything line up to not get caught. Although infuriating, we need to acknowledge the planning and problem solving that goes into a mission like this. These kids are smart so give them something to problem solve that is productive like fixing something mechanical.
We all know that stubborn kid who will not give up on their personal goal. As parents we would like the personal goal to be getting good grades, but they may be focused on hanging out with friends or being on social media. Their personal goal may even be to try and make your life miserable. Instead of trying to battle each other with stubbornness, use their drive toward personal goals to achieve your parental goals. For instance, if they would like to hang out with friends, have the rule that all of their homework needs to be done before that can happen.
3. Not scared of a challenge
These kids can be fearless, which is wonderful. Unless someone suggests building a ramp of some kind to go off of, and you end up in the emergency room. Take this fearlessness and get them involved in sports, physical fitness or adventurous activities. By challenging this fearlessness, you are pushing them to achieve goals they may not have thought possible. This will build self-esteem, and if you are with them during the challenge, it will develop bonding.
4. Original thinker
I know that having an original thinker can be irritating at times, like watching them tie their shoes in new innovative ways. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And with being a creative thinker, a lot of their hard work will not be successful. But for every time their experiment does not work, they have learned yet another way why it didn't. These kids will grow up to be the ones creating new ways of doing things that are more productive and make life easier. So try to stay calm as they learn and make many, many mistakes.
Finally, we can thank them for our own personal growth as people. If life was easy we would never adapt and ponder on how to make our situation better. So if they are throwing their fifth tantrum of the day, think of all the patience you get to practice. Plus, when there is a day with only three tantrums, you will feel like that day was a cake-walk.
Remember that as kids they are practicing the skills they are going to use as adults. We want them to keep all of these amazing skills and learn to use them appropriately within our societal context. As parents, we need to cultivate their stubborn creative quarks so they can be the successful, determined and innovative adults we know they are capable of becoming.