Parenting Styles

Is your child strong-willed or unmotivated?


Children’s personality types can often be divided into two distinct types: the determined, strong-willed child and the more passive, or unmotivated, child. Each personality type has its strengths and challenges. The key to parenting, in both cases, is to understand the role of the will, and the heart.

The will is that place of determination.  The level of one’s determination is affected by such things as personality, character, values, and one’s sense of morality.  Parents and children often experience conflict when their wills determine to go in opposite directions.  A wise parent helps turn potential fights around, and looks for ways to redirect a child’s intensity, and knows when taking a stand against a child’s will is the most loving thing to do.

The heart guides the will. When a child is strong willed and the heart is in the right place, God can do great things.  But when a strong will crosses the line and becomes mean or takes advantage of others, it’s wrong and needs correction.  Similarly, when an unmotivated child’s heart is in the right place, contentment results.  However, when lack of motivation leads to irresponsibility, correction is necessary to bring attitudes and behavior back into line.  Whether your child is strong willed or unmotivated or somewhere in between, what’s important is the heart.

Which type is your child… and how can you help them make the most of the way they’re “wired”?


Dr. Scott Turansky is an author and speaker known for his heartfelt parenting approach. He offers moms practical, real-life advice for many of parenting’s greatest challenges and is the founder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting.



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