Read an Excerpt
Excerpt from the Introduction: Born to be Wild!
Looking for adventure ... or whatever comes their way
Stubborn, pigheaded, defiant, oppositional, free-ranging, having a mind of their own, iron-willed, forceful, deter mined, hardheaded, free-spirited, or just plain difficult-call them what you will, there are some kids who are incredibly difficult to raise well.
Compliant, agreeable, sweet children are easy. Parenting them just seems to happen. It evolves. You can see how the wind shifts and set your course accordingly.
Not so with bright kids. Successfully parenting them takes a degree of strategic planning equivalent to sailing around the world. You need to know in advance when to batten down the hatches, when to bail out, and when to sail straight into the eye of the storm.
Having a compliant child is a lesson that there is love in the world. Having a forceful child teaches you that there is still a dark side to be overcome.
Some of the common things parents say that indicate they have a bright child include:
"It doesn't matter what I say ..."
"She just gets something into her mind and won't give it up."
"Some days I could just scream at them ..."
"He has always got to have the last word."
"She's fine when she gets her own way."
"He can argue for hours."
"She just won't take no for an answer."
Do any of these comments sound familiar? If so, congratulations, it's likely you have a bright child. Not always the easiest to parent, in fact downright difficult at times. But don't worry too much: these children grow up to change the world. They often have leadership qualities in bucket-loads. The big trick is to use their strength of character for good, not evil!
Some news you may not want to hear ...
Bright children don't just grow out of their willful personalities, they either learn to adapt and change, or they torment their families for years. Children's characters are relatively stable-it's how you manage their personal style that makes a difference.
Bright kids are the movers and shakers of the future. They know their own mind and have the energy and determination to achieve what they set out to do. These kids do not lack persistence. They are not wishy-washy. They might be wild, difficult, and stressful, but parenting them will teach you a lot about life and about yourself.
Most of the great achievers, politicians, and national figures that are remembered throughout history were forceful children. Sadly, history does not record the thoughts of the parents of Joan of Arc or Alexander the Great as these young adults left home. Did they shed a tear as their children departed, saying, "Hurry home, dear"? Or did they heave a great sigh of relief and think to themselves, "Phew, thank goodness that's over, now they can go and conquer the rest of the world and give us a bit of a break!"? While we might suspect the latter, parenting bright kids can be entertaining.
If you have one of these kids, this book is for you.
About this book
For over 25 years I have been counseling children, young people, and their families. One day-and I'll be the first to admit I was a bit slow on the uptake-I finally realized I was seeing the same kids over and over again. Sure, they had different faces and their own idiosyncrasies and styles, but there were some common themes.
Discussing this further with hundreds of thousands of parents and teachers in seminars has helped me to refine these ideas into a series of recognizable patterns of behavior.
A considerable amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth went into the creation of this book-thankfully, most of it wasn't mine. It was done by the parents and teachers who talked with me about these children, and it is to them that the credit for many of the ideas in this book should go.