How to Successfully Raise a Strong-Willed Child with Cynthia Tobias

Cynthia Tobias has been on my bucket list since before I started this podcast because of the work she’s done teaching about the strong-willed child. Her book, You Can’t Make Me: But I Can Be Persuaded, was a key influence in helping me raise my strong-willed daughter, Elise. Before I knew how to handle her stubborn temperament, I would frequently end up frustrated and in a puddle of tears. But once I learned some of the tools and tips Cynthia shares, it became easier for me to understand how to get Elise to cooperate more (hint: it doesn’t involve getting angry or raising your voice).

In this episode Cynthia shares, Three Quick Ways to Recognize and deal with Your Strong-Willed Child, Teen or Adult, as well as the magic word you can use that almost always works to get a strong-willed person to cooperate and where you can find immediate free resources like The Strong-Willed Child Emergency Kit. I know you’ll be so encouraged with Cynthia’s solid advice on helping guide your strong-willed child. As she states in this episode,” It’s a compliment that God gave us to have a strong-willed child… When they’re born, they don’t have any idea how to use it. It’s up to us to help guide it, shape it, and form it and let God use it.” You’re going to want to thank Cynthia after hearing this episode.

Quotes and Resources from Cynthia

“You want to make sure that strong will’s not going sideways. There are ways that will make it go sideways more, or ways that will help them from the very beginning of their toddlerhood.”

“God is the perfect Father, but He still has wayward children.”

“Pray, pray, pray and don’t despair. Because we know that the strong will can be broken only by God.”

“The strong-willed women, they’re trail blazers and people who aren’t strong-willed are trail walkers. If everybody was a trail blazer there’d be nothing but empty paths. And if everybody was a trail walker, there’d never be any new paths.” – Cynthia Tobias’ sister

“You may be wishing for a more compliant child, but what if God gave you a trailblazer?”

“Those who anger you, control you.”

Three Quick Ways to Recognize and Deal with a Strong-willed Child, Teen or Adult

  1. Keep your tone of voice firm and calm. Don’t allow them to make you yell, raise your voice or lose it.
  2. Turn commands or orders into questions. Making a question of an order sounds a lot better. It gives them back some control.
  3. Ask yourself two very important questions anytime you’re dealing with a strong-willed child: 1. What’s the point? What am I trying to get them to do? What am I trying to get them to say? 2. How many ways are there to get there?

Cynthia’s newest book, Reclaiming Education: Teach Your Child to be a Confident Learner, will come out in February 2024

For Cynthia’s free resources such as The Strong-Willed Child Emergency Kit, The Ten Ways to Bring out the Best in a Strong-Willed Child and Potty Training the Strong-Willed Child go to

Other ways to connect with Cynthia: YouTube at Cynthia Tobias, Facebook at Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

Find Cynthias book: You Can’t Make Me: But I Can be Persuaded

Listen to How to Successfully Raise a Strong-Willed Child with Cynthia Tobias