In Praise of the Strong-Willed Child
Bette Dowdell
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In Praise of the Strong-Willed Child



Bette Dowdell

Cervantes said, “Faint heart ne’er won fair lady.” As a matter of fact, a faint heart never won much of anything. But put a little determination and will into that heart, and it can shoot the moon.

What you hear, though, is that parents should prefer the faint heart, that is, the passive heart. It’s promoted as the answer to their prayers.

Authors make fortunes with books bemoaning the problem of strong-willed children. They preach passive, all day, every day. Parents, they decree, need to break their children’s will–or at least their willfulness.

Are these people kidding? Passive isn’t wonderful. Passive is lumpy, as in “sit there like a lump.” Passive hardly makes a dent