From the Publisher
Praise for You Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded)
“I love the practical strategies and valuable insights from the hearts and lives of strong-willed kids—including Cynthia herself! You’ll definitely want to make this book part of your parenting library.”
—Dr. Kevin Leman, New York Times best-selling author of Have a New Kid by Friday
“In You Can’t Make Me, Cynthia Tobias provides help and hope for all of us with a strong-willed child of any age. Her extremely practical and time-tested tips will show you how to provide the strong-willed child love balanced with limits, relationship balanced with rules, coaching balanced with cheerleading, and discipleship balanced with discipline. This book will be worth its weight in gold to you and your strong-willed child.”
—Walt Larimore, MD, best-selling author of God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Teen and Why A.D.H.D. Doesn’t Mean Disaster
“Parenting was never designed to be easy, and parenting a strong-willed child can be daunting. Cynthia Tobias has written a book designed to encourage parents to celebrate their children—yes, even if they are strong willed! I love how she has provided tried and true strategies that will bring out the best in our children. Her inclusion of stories from parents who are ‘in the trenches’ serves to remind us that successful parenting is possible for all of us. I love Cynthia’s wisdom, but her heart for children made me love this book!”
—Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated talk-show host
“At Focus on the Family, we often hear from parents who are frustrated and burned out by their strong-willed kids. Cynthia Tobias’s book is tailor-made for them. It will help moms and dads not only address the challenges but also embrace the blessings of having a strong-willed child.”
—Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family
“You Can’t Make Me is a must-read for every parent of a strong-willed child. Cynthia Tobias is the go-to expert on this subject, and you can’t afford to miss out on her incredibly helpful guidance. This book is insightful, grounded, and immeasurably practical. Read it today and start bringing out the best in your strong-willed child!”
—Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, authors of The Parent You Want to Be
“What a great book! So simple yet so profound. Time and time again I have recommended this book to teachers and parents. Growing up a strong-willed child and having one, I know firsthand how valuable the tools and ideas are in this book. Every parent and teacher should read this!”
—Mary Rice Hopkins, popular family/children’s recording artist
Read an Excerpt
Introduction to the Revised Edition
Here’s How I Know It Works!
My very own strong-willed child, Mike, came bursting through the door with his usual force and energy. He was fresh from yet another week of being a counselor at a summer YMCA camp. I marveled at how quickly the years have passed and here he was—twenty years old and about to enter his junior year in college. Could it possibly be?
“Mom, I have to tell you something.”
I’ve learned to appreciate every opportunity to talk about his life, so I stopped what I was doing and listened.
“The camp kids were driving me crazy. I was so frustrated, I was ready to scream.” He paused and put his finger in the air to make a pronouncement. “So, I decided I’d better read one of your books.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Which book did you read, Mike?” He shrugged and grinned. “You Can’t Make Me.” Before I
could react he rushed on. “And you know what? It works!" I wasn’t prepared for this. Was this my strong-willed child,
who appears in every chapter of the book, telling me he was now using it to understand the kids he was counseling at camp?
For the next twenty minutes Mike regaled me with examples he had read in the book, emphasizing the strategies he had used successfully with his campers. We reminisced over stories from the book that he remembered and laughed about the ones he had forgotten or was too young to recall.
Since the first edition of You Can’t Make Me! (But I Can Be Persuaded) came out in 1999, literally thousands of parents and educators have taken the time to actually write or personally deliver overwhelmingly positive and grateful responses to the powerful and effective strategies in the book. I’ve been humbled and encouraged to see the hope in their eyes and hear the joy in their voices.
But I have to tell you, by far the most meaningful endorsement I could ask for is the one from Mike. After twenty years of living with and loving my strong-willed child, after the prayers and tears, trial and error, perseverance and frustration, failure and success, he is reading and endorsing the book that describes him as the quintessential strong-willed kid.
So as you read this revised and updated version of You Can’t Make Me, believe me when I say I’m still in the trenches with you. I’ve parented a great strong-willed child and his equally wonderful but more compliant twin brother. I will never be able to make the claim I did everything right. Far from it! I am eternally grateful that God has been gracious in supplementing my well-intentioned and often inadequate efforts with His grace, love, and wisdom.
My fervent prayer is that you will benefit from the wisdom and advice of the many strong-willed children and their parents you are about to meet in this book. Most of all, no matter how things turn out, I pray you will be glad you never gave up on the relationship with your strong-willed child. You’ll never be able to truly measure the difference it will make.