Raising In-Charge Daughters | Learning to Appreciate the Gift | originally published February 2013

Throughout the weeks of February and March, I’m reposting some of the most helpful homeschooling articles from the archives here at the blog. 

For more encourage articles, please check out my Homeschooling Page.  (I’d also love for you to check out my ebook, Homeschooling Day by Day.)

Nine years ago, God blessed my husband and I with our first-born daughter. While I had visions of pink fluff and sweetness, this girl was born telling the world how she felt and what we needed to do about it! As our girl grew, I erroneously believed that all our issues in child training would be solved if I could somehow shape this girl into a passive child... someone akin to her easy-going siblings. What I didn't realize was that I had been given children with very different personalities; all equally valuable, but very, very different. Unfortunately it took me several years to come to the proper conclusion: I was the one who had a problem. | Kristy's Cottage

Nine years ago, God blessed my husband and I with our first-born child: a beautiful, black-haired, blue-eyed daughter. 

While I had visions of pink fluff and sweetness, this girl was born telling the world how she felt and what we needed to do about it!

Come to think of it, she’s just like her mama… but that’s another story!

As she grew older, I decided very quickly that we had a problem While her younger sister and brother were easy going and eager to please, this First Born of mine had a mind of her own that refused to bend.

While Little Sis loved to sit quietly and play dolls, my Wild Child lived up to all the stories I’d ever heard about rambunctious boys.

While Little Brother was eager to give and please, my willful First-Born was selfish and stubborn.

What was the matter with HER?

As our girl grew, I erroneously believed that all our issues in child training would be solved if I could somehow shape this girl into a passive child… someone akin to her easy-going siblings.

What I didn’t realize was that I had been given children with very different personalities; all equally valuable, but very, very different.

Unfortunately it took me several years to come to the proper conclusion: 

I was the one who had a problem. 

Being a Go To Gal myself (and that is another story), it took a few hard knocks for the Lord to penetrate my thick head with the truth:

I had been given an immeasurable gift with this precious girl, and I needed to learn to appreciate her.

I wish I could say that the Lord opened the heavens, gave me a vision, and I was instantaneously changed forever.

Unfortunately, I am a slow learner.  It took several painful years of hard knocks, difficult homeschooling, and many, many desperate prayers before the Lord found me in a place where I would actually listen.

Tomorrow, I’ll share more of my story of raising, nurturing and loving an In-Charge daughter… and next week, we’ll look at homeschooling strong willed kids in general (I am blessed with more than one!).

For now, tell me: are you the mother of a “strong willed” daughter? 

If so, what has been your perspective of your child’s personality? 


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21 thoughts on “Raising In-Charge Daughters {learning to appreciate the gift}

  1. I have 5 children 29 yrs old down to 13 yrs. From the get go number 5 has had a mind all her own. I have stated many times that I was thankful she was number 5 or I wouldn’t have known any better that the momma is supposed to be in charge and not the kiddos. 🙂 I’m a first born, only daughter so I sympathize with her desire to be in charge. God has definitely done a lot of work on me in this department. She is a wonderful blessing to us. She is creative, affectionate and ready to do great things in which ever path God leads her.

    Posted on February 25, 2016 at 8:53 am
    1. I love this, Rhonda! I always wondered why the Lord thought I was brave enough to handle a Go To Gal as my first baby, but He did!

      Motherhood shapes us more than we can imagine… and I’m so thankful!

      Posted on February 25, 2016 at 11:51 am
  2. Just found you from Raising Homemakers…..:-)

    Oh my ~ I could have wrote this entire post about my sweet surprise blessing that God gave me at 42. When my baby was about 1-2 hours old my nurse told my oldest daughter that I was going to have my hands full with her……….I had no idea what that really meant ~ lol Let’s just say that her pediatrican labeled her as super intense. She is so spirited and strong-willed! She will be five in May and I am going to homeschool. I am thrilled to have found you ~ I can’t wait to go through your posts about homeschooling your sweet strong-willed girl. My last daughter before her was so mellow, quiet, and compliant. This sweet girl has thrown me for a loop. I know God sent her to us for a reason and I am learning to embrace her personality and enjoy the adventure…:-)

    Posted on March 11, 2013 at 12:37 am
  3. I have a daughter very much as you described. She’s 9 now and that personality has mellowed into a child with a determined will to accomplish a task, a stubborn desire to find God in everything and a heart that refuses to believe everything won’t work out for good. She teaches me every single day how amazing a strong-will can be and what a tool in the hand of God it really is! Who I see her becoming is soo worth those moments when I’m tempted to throw my hands up in defeat! Great article, Kristy!

    Posted on February 6, 2013 at 7:47 am
    1. Obviously you have been instrumental in shaping that little iron will, Kasey, just as the Lord has used your daughter to shape you! Thank you so much for the encouraging words, my friend!

      Posted on February 6, 2013 at 8:35 am
  4. I am the first born daughter and was the “in charge” one growing up. I still really struggle at times with letting my husband lead completely. Often, I want to get my two cents in even if he doesn’t listen. My oldest and only girl (so far), is a spitting image of me. She stretches me, but I know that God has mighty plans for her. I am also learning that negative character traits are just positive ones misused. Her three younger brothers will listen to her and follow her lead more often than not. I try to encourage her to make godly decisions because of that. A positive- I can trust her with our one year old. She truly takes excellent care of him when she is in charge. I am looking forward to reading what God is teaching you.

    Posted on February 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm
  5. Our youngest child is our strong-willed one. It took a lot of prayers and some advice from a Godly woman of ten to help me realize what needed to be done to shape her into what God is wanting her to be; not change her. I am growing and stretching as she is learning and maturing. It is a process, a journey, in which I am thankful the Lord has seen fit to take me and my hubby on!

    Posted on February 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm
    1. You were a BIG encouragement to me a few years ago when I was desperately struggling through issue, my friend. Thank you!

      Posted on February 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm
  6. Looking forward to reading this series. We have 3 girls (ages 3, 2, and 6 months). The 3 year old definitely likes to be “in charge” – very demanding of having her way and trying to call the shots. I know this can be harnessed as a positive trait, but not sure how to go about that. For now, she just gets instructed constantly that mommy and daddy will decide and/or to ask for things nicely instead of demanding and ordering. I’m afraid I was probably like that as a young child too.

    Posted on February 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm
    1. I was definitely “like that” as a young child. My parents’ example in the way they raised my siblings and me has helped me tremendously, but I’ve still had to find my own way as a mother in raising my own little ones. It’s quite a journey!

      Posted on February 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm
  7. I *am* the “strong-willed daughter.” It is a constant struggle as a Christian woman who believes the Bible, to see how I am intended to fit into the world God placed me in. There is a constant tug-of-war between grasping at biblical concepts for women like “having a gentle and quiet spirit,” and believing that God gave me the personality He did on purpose. The two seem mutually exclusive.

    I wish the Church would do a better job teaching/equipping in this area.

    Posted on February 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm
    1. Rachel, I completely relate with you! I am VERY strong-willed, and always have been. It has been in recent years that I have come to realize that a strong personality is not a bad thing; that it can, in fact, be used for the glory of God and to bless my family, provided I submit to God’s role for me as a woman and embrace the sanctification process He brings into my life. Learning to have a meek and quiet spirit is definitely a daily choice, not an innate characteristic. I’m not sure it comes completely “natural” for any woman.

      Posted on February 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm
  8. I have a daughter like this; actually 2 of them, but the younger one is more of a “little general” than the older one. The 2 girls came first, then 3 boys. My husband is the one that first called the 15-year-old “little general”, and she loves to issue orders and keep everybody in line. (especially the boys!) But, she also is such a servant-hearted young lady, always wanting to do things for others. I really wouldn’t want to change her.

    Posted on February 5, 2013 at 11:40 am
    1. This is beautiful, Shasta! Our children’s birth order is exactly the same as your famil’s: two girls, then three boys (the third boy being due to join our family in 9 weeks). Those little guys sure get lots of “mothering”!
      Our second daughter is quite passive, however. This creates quite a challenge for me as a mama, as I strive to help them appreciate and respect each other’s personalities. They BOTH contribute so much to our family!

      Posted on February 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm
  9. I am so glad you wrote this! I cannot wait to read the rest of what God taught you! I have one of these and I know she is a gift from God, but boy does she challenge me. I know that God made her this way, but also she has to have discipline and direction along with an encounter with God! I know she will be passionate about whatever she pursues and be very successful. I pray often that God would help me to encourage the good, discipline and direct what I need to, and not tear down in the process. I have found I have to create opportunities for her to lead and plan. She’s 6 and boy can she plan?!? LOL I could go on and on, there’s so much I have learned and still need to learn. The Lord is my strength! 🙂

    Posted on February 5, 2013 at 11:23 am
    1. Amanda, you expressed many of my own thoughts! You’re absolutely right: these little Go To Gals do require a firm hand, tempered with much grace, praise, and patience. Thank you for your comment!

      Posted on February 5, 2013 at 11:35 am
  10. One day when she was 3 she said to me, “I’ll be the mother and you be the girl!” uh oh… I could see it coming. Her kindergarten teacher said she was ‘bossy’. I always thought she needed her own kingdom to rule- she is getting married this spring, and so it shall be. One of the pluses for me is I’m sure she will take care of me when I’m old and then won’t let ME eat too much sugar.

    Posted on February 5, 2013 at 11:02 am
  11. Yes I have a very strong willed daughter! I had to remind her often of who was “boss” and never give in to her quests of trying to run me and her own life. She is now such a sweet, well-behaved girl that we are so proud of. I had to learn to channel her strong will toward the right things, and as you said, not try to change her personality.

    Posted on February 5, 2013 at 9:59 am
    1. Thank you for sharing this, Jill! You’re right: there is a fine line between trying to “change” a child into someone they are not, and being firm and refusing to allow bad behavior.

      Posted on February 5, 2013 at 10:07 am
  12. I am the mother of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (we adopted her at 2 years old). So to say she’s “strong willed” is an understatement! I have a hard time with her need for control but I do see where some of her personality will be beneficial when she’s older, if we can just shape it towards God. We say if we can teach her to use her stubbornness for good and not evil, lol

    Posted on February 5, 2013 at 8:45 am
    1. Tracee, it can be really difficult to see the value in the “raw material”! This shaping of our children’s souls can take years of diligent and prayerful effort. I’m with you, Mama. Thank you for the comment.

      Posted on February 5, 2013 at 9:24 am