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WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RAISING A STRONG-WILLED TEENAGER

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strong willed teenager

Raising teenagers can be overall challenging, but oh-so rewarding at the same time. But raising a strong-willed teenager requires a certain level of emotional and mental preparedness!


These spirited souls are capable of pushing buttons you didn't know you had.


I have one and I cannot tell you how many times, he has left me, not only speechless but wanting to pull my hair out. He is strong-willed, which translates into stubborn, determined, and fiercely independent, may pretend to listen to advice intently but will most likely do the opposite. He is headstrong and has his own way of doing things and will not compromise on it. He is also dangerously honestFearless and loves to test all boundaries just to see what happens. He will stand firm for what he believes and will debate it, even if it takes forever. Has a tendency to question everything I or anybody else says and will oftentimes leave me questioning my own perspective and explanations!


And the list can go on, but I won't.


Regardless of his strong-willed personality and all that goes with it, he is truly a compassionate, loving and sweet, sweet boy. He still kisses me goodbye every time he goes out or before I go to bed. We still have deep meaningful conversations, even though sometimes it ends in a fiery debate. When this happens I'm either on the verge of tears out of frustration or I just excuse myself.


Personally, I wouldn't want to change his strong will because I view it as his superpower and it will serve him well as he ventures into the larger and larger world, but as a parent to a strong-willed teenager, I am always wary and always on high alert. Constantly monitoring and checking up on him but mindful of being respectful of his space and privacy at the same time.


With that said, from fiery debates to heartwarming moments, here I share 13 tips for raising a strong-willed teenager.





01. Embrace their strength as a strong-willed teenager

Try and embrace them being strong-willed as a positive force rather than them being 'difficult'. Having a strong-willed teenager can be challenging, but see it as their gift. Their determination and passion will serve them well and take them far.



02. Understand your teenager's temperament

The first step to raising a strong-willed teenager is to understand their temperament. Strong-willed teenagers are often born with a certain level of determination and stubbornness. This doesn't mean that they are bad kids, it just means that they are wired differently.


It is important to understand your teenager's temperament so that you can adjust your parenting style accordingly. For example, if your teenager is naturally stubborn, you may need to be more patient and understanding. You may also need to set clear boundaries and expectations.



03. Set clear rules and expectations

Strong-willed teenagers need clear rules and expectations. They need to know what is expected of them in order to feel safe and secure. When setting rules, it is important to be fair and consistent. You should also explain the reasons behind the rules so that your teenager can understand them.


Strong-willed teenagers also need to be allowed to be involved in the rule-setting process, expectations, and consequences. They need experience in negotiating rules and suitable consequences should rules be broken. This allows them to practice responsibility and accountability on their part.





04. Practice active listening

Strong-willed teenagers need to feel heard and understood. It is important to take the time to listen to them and their concerns. Even if you don't agree with them, it is important to let them know that you are listening.


Engage in open, non-judgmental conversations where they feel heard and valued. Whether it's a debate over curfew or a discussion about their dreams, listen actively and respond with respect.



05. Patience will be YOUR superpower

Raising a strong-willed teenager requires you to dig deep for the level of patience that's required. They'll push buttons that you didn't know you had and test limits, but remember, this is how they learn and grow. Don't take their behavior personally.


Put yourself in their shoes, remembering what it was like to be a teenager with strong opinions and a thirst for freedom. This understanding will deepen your connection and help you navigate their emotional highs and lows.


06. Choose your battles wisely

In the world of raising teens, not everything needs to be a full-blown battle. Decide what truly matters, and be ready to compromise on the rest. This approach shows your strong-willed teen that you respect their opinions and value their input.






07. Be respectful

Respect is a two-way street. If you want your teenager to respect you, you need to respect them too. This means treating them with dignity and courtesy, even when they are being difficult.



08. Embrace flexibility

Life is unpredictable, and flexibility is your strongest ally. Be prepared for changing plans, spontaneous ideas, and unexpected challenges. Embrace the chaos, and show your teen that you're adaptable and willing to go with the flow.



09. Give them choices

Strong-willed teenagers like to feel like they have control over their lives. One way to give them a sense of control is to give them choices. This could be something as simple as choosing what to wear for dinner or what activity to do on the weekend.



10. Don't dictate, instead, collaborate

Instead of dictating solutions, collaborate on problem-solving. When faced with challenges, ask for their input and ideas. This not only empowers them but also strengthens your parent-child bond as you work together to find solutions.


In the book, The Explosive Child, the author, Dr Greene explains why traditional parenting doesn't work for these children. His collaborative problem-solving method helps you find ways to collaboratively solve the problems that cause outbursts and also helps parents teach their children skills they may lack.





11. The dance of independence

As your strong-willed teen spreads their wings, you'll find yourself in a dance of independence. They crave autonomy, and it's essential to let them explore their interests and make decisions. Be their guiding partner, offering advice and support, while giving them the space to soar.


12. Celebrate their triumphs

Every milestone, no matter how small, is a reason to celebrate. Acknowledge their achievements, from acing a test to handling a tough situation with grace. Celebrate their successes to boost their confidence and show them that you're their biggest cheerleader.


13. Be there for them

Strong-willed teenagers need to know that you are there for them, no matter what. They need to feel loved and supported. Be there to listen to them when they are upset, and help them to navigate the challenges of adolescence.




Final Thoughts

As you go through raising your strong-willed teenager, remember that they are a force to be reckoned with, and you have front-row seats in witnessing firsthand their growth and transformation.

Through the highs and lows, the debates and heart-to-heart conversations, you're not just raising a strong-willed teenager – you're nurturing a future leader, an independent thinker, and a resilient individual who's bound for greatness. Embrace the challenges, continue to dance to the rhythm of their independence, celebrate the victories, and always keep the lines of communication open.


Cherish the moments of connection with them and embrace the joy of witnessing them blossom into the amazing people that they are meant to be.

Here's to you, to your strong-willed teen, and to the incredible journey with them – may it be filled with laughter, growth, and an abundance of unforgettable moments.



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