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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for parents
Do you ever wonder if your child is strong-willed or just stubborn and defiant? While defiance can be seen as a heart issue, having a strong will can be quite beneficial in our world, if channeled properly. Being the parent to a strong-willed child is quite the challenge, but it doesn't have to be so frustrating that you want to throw up your hands and quit. Cynthia...
Published 22 months ago by C. Adkisson

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81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Make Me
Overall I really liked this book. However, there is one key element I believe is missing, which I will come back to later.

The purpose for this book is to help parents learn to raise their strong-willed children. One thing I got out of this book, which I had not at all expected, was the understanding and realization that I myself was a "strong-willed child" and...
Published 20 months ago by Sonya Jeffords


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81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Make Me, November 26, 2012
This review is from: You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded), Revised and Updated Edition: Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Child (Paperback)
Overall I really liked this book. However, there is one key element I believe is missing, which I will come back to later.

The purpose for this book is to help parents learn to raise their strong-willed children. One thing I got out of this book, which I had not at all expected, was the understanding and realization that I myself was a "strong-willed child" and am still quite the strong-willed person. I'd never really recognized that about myself, because I've always been a generally compliant and submissive person, especially as a child, but this book showed me that being strong-willed is not necessarily about the outward behavior or a pattern of outward defiance. The more I read this book, the more I realized I was reading about myself.

Another thing I found in this book was that nearly all of the suggested parenting strategies are strategies I've already adopted and strive to keep, simply because I try to treat my children the way I myself would like to be treated. It's when I stray from those ideas (usually after being surrounded by ideas in the opposite direction) that my household becomes the most chaotic. One of the things about a SWC (strong-willed child) is that often, punishment backfires and results in a battle of wills. I know this is true for myself-if you try punishment to motivate me, my automatic response is to prove your punishment is not going to work, and as the author states several times, "There is nothing I have to do, except die, which I'm willing to do." I've found this to also be true for my children. I realized a long time ago that taking a mostly non-punitive stance in parenting tended to result in my daughters being far more compliant. It's not about "giving in" or being "permissive", it's about being more creative than punishment. The less I punish and the more I use other ways of teaching, the more peaceful everything is around here. One of my favorite things to point out is that "discipline" and "punishment" are not synonyms, and either can take place without the other.

Another thing about SWCs, in addition to the fact that punishment quickly results in a wall being built, is that the more external pressure there is on an SWC to change, the less they want to. SWCs thrive on their own internal pressure, and not the external pressure. The key to motivating an SWC is not to apply external pressure on them, but to help them build their own internal pressure toward a decision. Simply put, if the SWC doesn't want to do it, likely they won't. The most classic example of this is that of school. In fact, this book described my high school attitudes about school quite exactly. The more pressure there was on me to get good grades, the more I "proved" that I didn't "need" good grades. But when the pressure was off was when I was most likely to thrive. It was the teachers who never asked me why I didn't do my homework that I most wanted to impress, and my grades were always better in those classes.

The next item I think is important for parents to understand about SWCs is that, as the author states, it isn't authority that the SWC has a problem with, but the way in which authority is communicated. As I mentioned, I have an overall compliant and submissive personality, but my strong-will is triggered particularly when those in authority (or those who think they are in authority) try to communicate with me in the wrong way. Say the right thing in the wrong way, and my automatic response is to try to prove you wrong about it.

And that is where my problem with this book comes in. I think it is a great book for teaching parents how to communicate with and inspire their SWC to be more obedient, cooperative, and pleasant. As I stated, nearly everything this book suggested were things I already do as a parent, out of the understanding that these strategies are what would have motivated me more when I was a child. But what this book lacks is instructions for teaching the children to mature past their automatic, strong-willed to the point of stubborn, responses to the "wrong" type of communication. As the parent, it is my job to be the "bigger" person and try to communicate with my children in a way that won't trigger their wall of stubbornness and a battle of wills. But as the parent, it is also my job to teach my children to be the "bigger" person when someone else is provoking that response. It is my job to teach my children to recognize when they're having that automatic reaction to something another person said or did, and teach them to be able to step back and analyze whether or not it is the right response in that situation. Sometimes, it's a good response to have. There are things I believe it is good to be closed-minded about. Stubbornness, or a strong will, used correctly, can be a good thing. Other times, the strong-will can get in the way of wisdom, and it is my job as a parent to teach my children the difference. If you tell me a good idea, but you tell me in the wrong way and I react with stubbornness and a will to prove you wrong, that shows a lack of wisdom and maturity on my part, and will ultimately work to my detriment. This book didn't offer much (if anything?) on teaching children to recognize their natural strong-will responses, which I believe is very important. It's not enough that the parents recognize their child's strong-will personality-the child needs to recognize it also. Only then can the child see that "hey, this person is provoking my strong-will response," and take a moment to step back and analyze what the person is saying instead of how they are saying it. If the person is correct about what they are saying, even if abrasive in how they are saying it, the strong-willed individual needs to let go of the strong desire to prove them wrong. This is teaching the child wisdom and discernment, as well as humility.

Anyway, it was a good book, but I think it needed to go a little deeper. I would recommend it to parents who are really struggling with raising their strong-willed children, with the note that in my opinion, this book really just covers the basics. If the basics are what you need, this is an excellent book. If you're looking for more than that, you may want to look elsewhere.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for parents, October 5, 2012
This review is from: You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded), Revised and Updated Edition: Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Child (Paperback)
Do you ever wonder if your child is strong-willed or just stubborn and defiant? While defiance can be seen as a heart issue, having a strong will can be quite beneficial in our world, if channeled properly. Being the parent to a strong-willed child is quite the challenge, but it doesn't have to be so frustrating that you want to throw up your hands and quit. Cynthia Tobias, parent of a strong-willed child herself, offers strategies and and tips to keep you from doing so as well as insight into the benefits of their strong will. As she states, "(your) child may change the world--after all, it's not likely that the world is going to change them"!

I ordered this book because I am the parent of a strong-willed child. I felt like I was reading a book written by some other mom about my child. I never realized that my child might feel as if I were taking all the power away from them or that they may not resent authority but may resent how that authority is communicated. I also felt like it was too late for me. After all, my children are both in their late teens. If you find yourself thinking the same thing, there is hope. Tobias offers strategies which will preserve your relationship with your child while also helping them to use that "gift" God has given them to accomplish great things. Like many parents, perhaps you may disagree with your spouse regarding how to deal with your child. Tobias has advise for these situations as well.

This book can easily be read in half a day making it something you can begin to put into practice immediately whether your child is a toddler, teen, or adult. Even if you feel you have blown it with your child, it isn't too late. To read the first chapter, check out [...]

I did receive this book free from Multnomah Press in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way obligated to leave a positive review.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ONLY parenting book I've read worth keeping and reading again!, October 14, 2012
This review is from: You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded), Revised and Updated Edition: Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Child (Paperback)
I've read a lot of parenting books. A lot. I have donated them ALL because, even though they may have had a couple gems of advice, they were mostly inapplicable. It seems like they fell into the categories of being 1)written by someone who didn't have kids with strong wills or didn't remember what it was like when their strong willed kids were young 2) full of super-specific suggestions that worked for their children, as if my kids are exactly the same 3) encourage either an extremely sympathetic and permissive parenting style or a very rigid and authoritative parenting style and (my personal pet peeve) 4) parenting books which are great at describing the problem/issue/behavior needing correction, but lacking any substantial suggestions for resolution. It makes me think: thanks for getting my interest by perfectly describing the personality/circumstance/situation/behavior I'm dealing with and wasting my time by not having any wisdom to share on the matter! (I often wonder if those authors wrote an entire book just to vent, which would be reasonable given the stresses of parenting, but then, please refrain from marketing the book as a useful resources to others.)

You Can't Make Me [But I Can Be Persuaded] by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias is not like any other parenting book I've ever read. I think the main difference is that the author isn't writing based only on personal experience and/or a college education or counseling career. Tobias has literally spoken to thousands of strong willed children (hereafter referred to as SWC) of varying ages and backgrounds. In essence, this book is like a compilation of the useful tips you can find scattered throughout many other bestselling parenting books.

I absolutely love that the tone of this book is positive and encouraging rather than critical. Woven throughout the book are reminders that a strong will in and of itself is not a negative trait and encouragement for parents to develop a loving relationship that their child will value. This book can equip a parent to start wherever they are now to build a positive future for their SWC in terms of relationship, responsibility, and sharing their talents with the world.

Tobias makes an effort to truly help you to understand how the mind of a SWC works so that you can not only resolve behavior issues, but restore relationship. (Let's face it, we can definitely harbor bitterness toward a child that outwardly seems to be defiant and rebellious.) She shares tips and insights for practical application for children from their toddler years all the way through adulthood. While some are age specific (preschool, elementary, teen, adult), most of the techniques apply across the board, so I would recommend this book to parents with SWC of any age.

On page 31, Tobias writes the following about dealing with the argumentative and almost impossible to motivate SWC, "Here's where it's especially important to remember a critical question: What's the point? Instead of going into endless detail, just cut to the chase-give your child the bottom line. Remember, you want bottom-line accountability, and that means your SWC doesn't call the shots on the end result; the compromise can come by allowing some flexibility in the method, not the outcome."

Throughout the book are many entertaining anecdotes that help you to understand which tactic can be useful at what time. If you're like me, these will make you both laugh (at some of the things kid's say and do...) and let out a sigh of relief (that your child isn't the only one who has acted/spoken this way)! I started trying the techniques for communication with my 5 year old son before even finishing the book & they really do work and deescalate the tense atmosphere that rears its ugly head far too often around here.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purpose of review. I didn't have to write a positive review, these opinions are mine.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glimpse into the mind of a strong willed child, November 30, 2012
This review is from: You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded), Revised and Updated Edition: Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Child (Paperback)
I was drawn to this book because I myself was a strong willed child and am now raising three strong willed children of my own. I appreciated and related to much of Tobias' advice. I enjoyed the book, but I also felt that I was on familiar ground as I read it.

In some ways the book reminded me of the Parenting With Love and Logic series. Choosing your battles, allowing choices, enforcing logical consequences, and explaining reasons for rules are all fairly standard parenting advice. I think the strongest parts of this book are where Tobias explains how she and other strong-willed children think. That glimpse into the mind of a strong-willed child is the part of the book I think may be most beneficial to parents.

One of the other things I appreciated about this book was the stress on maintaining the relationship with your child. At the end of the day, that's what matters. Your child needs to know you love them. If you've gotten that down, that's half the battle.

Overall, it's a good book. I'd recommend it to parents who want to learn more about how to motivate their strong willed child.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a quality review. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own. I did not guarantee a positive review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Tips for All Families, October 4, 2012
This review is from: You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded), Revised and Updated Edition: Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Child (Paperback)
This book will be so helpful in my family. I don't think there are any personalities in our home that are not strong willed - except me of course. Seriously! My kids are very strong willed and Cynthia lays out many steps and tips to help through many challenges in a family when dealing with a strong willed child. First and foremost is communication - you must have strong communication and appropriate communication to help a strong willed child. I really enjoyed the section in the book where some battles are discussed and Cynthia strongly urges the reader to choose their battles. One story in particular is about a child who likes to dress herself but cannot seem to wear anything that matches. I have to say I gave up that battle three kids ago! My youngest two - as long as the appropriate coverage is there - it is not worth the battle. You should see how uniquely my youngest dresses! But, the clothing is totally indicative of her personality and if the only battle I fight is a "coverage" battle - then we have so many fewer issues. I would sum up this book as communication strategies and guidance strategies. It is a rather quick read, easy to follow and incorporate into daily living. I do think there are many other similar types of books but are they all as easy to read, non medical and totally realistic? Maybe not. This is a great book to develop a strong base.

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded) from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. All opinions, good or bad are my own.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Simple,Its Brilliant!, November 13, 2012
This review is from: You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded), Revised and Updated Edition: Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Child (Paperback)
I have often seen parents with children that were in the middle of a melt down and thought to myself. "Why cant that parent keep their child in line?" That was until my little girl became the same strong-willed child.

It feels like I have tried everything and nothing seems to work. My husband would always say she is acting that way on purpose and I just blew him off thinking, its just the age and she will grow out of it.

A few weeks ago I had a new baby and the behavior intensified, leading me to search for any source that could help me keep my sanity. That is when I came across the book You Can't Make Me[But I can Be Persuaded]. It helped to know that the Author Cynthia Ulrich Tobias had experience with the same situations as I have. And unlike some parenting books I never felt Judged but comforted in the knowledge that I am not the only one, and I am not a bad parent.

This book honestly opened my eyes to the fact that I too had been a strong-willed child. And remembering those behaviors in myself while putting the useful suggestions into practice really helped. The ideas seem so common sense now but it took reading this book and seeing the examples that fit my life to really open my eyes to how I was approaching my daughter in the wrong ways and how simple changes in my tone and questions I ask her can really make a big difference in how she responds, after all she really never HAS to do what I tell her. She has to chose too. Honestly, Read Chapter One

and you will be hooked.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy, Simple Strategies for managing your strong willed child, December 27, 2013
By 
Amazon Customer (Summerville, SC United States) - See all my reviews
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As I read this book, I began to wonder who was spying on my household. I have three Strong Willed Child (SWC) - my two children and my husband. I finally understand the issues we've been struggling with - and had to laugh out loud when I read the part about the author's son "firing" his twin brother, as my eldest is famous for firing his sister.

This book is filled with fabulous foundation information to help you understand what makes your child react to life in his/her unique way, helps you take a breath and realize it's not your fault and that you are doing the best you can, and provides sound strategies to help you mitigate the arguments, debates and negotiations that are part of your daily life with a SWC.

I read the book in two nights. The next day, I told my 7 year old I was going to start asking lots of questions. Intrigued, he asked for an example. So I said, I know you don't like brushing your teeth - but before we go to bed tonight I'd like you to brush them. Do you want to brush them now or wait until later? After saying he wanted to get it over with, he stated that these are his favorite kind if questions. I asked why. He said because he likes to have choices and not be forced to do things. Bingo. Exactly what the book explained.

The next night, we were wrapping Christmas presents together. My 7 year old was struggling and I offered to help. His response was "I want to do it my way." I immediately wanted to explain that I had lots of experience and tricks to show him ... but after reading the book I bit my tongue. I now realize how important it is to let them work out tasks "their way."

After reading the book and having two affirmations immediately afterwards, I feel optimistic about my ability to better manage my SWC and reduce the meltdowns and tempers that flare daily in our house. I am eternally grateful for the lessons learned and the strategies outlined.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource for Dealing with a Strong-Willed Child, October 31, 2013
This review is from: You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded), Revised and Updated Edition: Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Child (Paperback)
The reality of the difficulty of parenting is something for which I am increasingly becoming aware. With that said, it is the most satisfying duty I have ever had. An important element of being a parent is that of knowing how to properly approach your child's behavior which includes understanding their personality and what the Proverbs call their bent. Those with children who have what could be labeled as an overly expressive demeanor are rightly called strong willed children. Cynthia Tobias, in her book You Can't Make Me: Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Child, uses years of professional and personal experience to assist the reader in betting understanding what a strong-willed child is, how to approach that type of personality, and skills to successfully direct that level of emotion in the proper direction.

Before reading this book, I had an idea of what a strong-willed child was all about as after all, isn't having a strong will equivalent to having a rebellious spirit? After reading this book, my perception of what a strong-willed child is all about has dramatically changed as Tobias clearly outlines what it means to be strong willed and why such a personality is not always a negative trait provided the right parental guidance is given in the formative years of childhood.

Tobias discussed the need to pick your battles with the strong-willed child. While I am not entirely sure my own child is what could be labeled as strong-willed, at least when it comes to day to day actions, there are times when she does express a strong set of emotional and physical responses to certain issues. This has resulted in the need for my wife and I to decide which battles are important to fight and which issues are secondary elements of life. For instance, Tobias rightly comments "If you make a big deal out of everything, pretty soon everything will be a big deal, and you may get to the point where you'll hear some absolutely ridiculous arguments designed purely to get a reaction out of you." From my own personal experience, when that happens, the discussion and learning opportunity has been lost, at least for the time being.

Some may say that as parents, they are the boss and the child should obey. That is certainly true and Tobias certainly does not deny that important reality of parental authority. The issue she addresses is the need to at times lighten up without letting loose of the parental reins of authority and oversight. This is truly a delicate balance. Tobias states that when giving rules and boundaries to a strong-willed child, it is imperative to "be clear with your reasons for rules and regulations." Essentially, have a conversation with your strong-willed child as to why rules are important. Such an approach sets the important groundwork for later in life when they will be tempted to buck against authority.

I also appreciated the author's insight into dealing with the issue of homework with a strong-willed child. The topic of homework has been an issue at times with our own child. The capacity to do homework is there, however, the desire and focus to do homework at times was not which resulted in strong-willed emotional responses when as parents, we required that level of focus on homework to exhibit itself. Tobias aptly comments on this issue, stating sometimes homework "can be boring, repetitious busywork. But the reality is that - right or wrong - often the homework assignments are counted as part of the student's final grade. Help your SWC (strong-willed child) figure out what needs to be done in order to accomplish the goal he sets." This has been the approach we have taken with our daughter and I will start unequivocally that it has worked wonders.

Having a strong-willed child can be a challenge, but it is not something that is beyond the parent's ability to deal with provided they have the right tools at their disposal and provided they have the proper approach to the child's actions, attitudes, and responses. Cynthia Tobias provides a number of valuable principles and examples parents can use to train up their strong-willed child in the fear and admonition of the Lord in a manner that gives them the necessary space while also providing the parent the means to be that needed authority in the life of their child.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Press for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great resource!, August 28, 2013
This review is from: You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded), Revised and Updated Edition: Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Child (Paperback)
Do you want to bring peace to your family
and help stressed relationships?
Do you need insight into the mind of
your strong-willed child?
(yes, you will know without doubt or question if you have in fact
been gifted a strong-willed person in your life.☺)
here are a few hint you will find in his book...
relationships will always matter more than rules.
(this is true for every child...rules or correction without
a relationship cause damage.)
home should always be a "safe place" to come to...
need to know that they will always be loved
and you will be there for them no matter what.
Choose the battles. Don't sweat the small stuff.

This book will help anybody live out 1 Thessalonians 5
13-15 Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part.
Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on.
Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet.
Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs.
And be careful that when you get on each other's nerves you don't snap at each other.
Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What goes around (comes around), June 1, 2013
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I bought this book for my daughter, who was a Strong Willed Child, to help her to raise her daughter, who is a Strong Willed Child. In fact, I bought a copy for her and downloaded a copy for myself. I wish I'd had this book to help me understand my daughter 25 years ago. First, do you have a strong willed child? Read the book, if you do have a SWC, you'll recognize your own situations that you struggle with. This book will help you to understand the reasons for your child's behaviors and to redirect your responses to what you had always thought was 'bad behavior'.
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