Do you ever feel tempted to label your child a “bad kid?” Are you exhausted managing tough traits? You’re not alone. One of my mom friends and I are raising strong-willed toddlers. Hers is a girl, mine a boy. They’re like tornadoes spinning through the living room when they play together. It doesn’t take much to call up strong reactions in them. When they are frustrated, they scream and hit. Getting out the door means temper tantrums. Putting clothes on almost always leads to a fight (“No, you can’t wear short sleeves when it’s 20 degrees outside!”). My friend and I jokingly remind each other, “It’s hard now, but they’re going to rule the world someday!”
Future leadership status aside, challenging traits in childhood can mature into valuable characteristics in adulthood. If you still need some help seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, here is hope in the form of 5 bad kid behaviors that later will become assets.
Stubbornness will become persistence.
Right now, he likes to push the envelope and to push your buttons. You may be pulling your hair out from his commitment to raiding the cookie jar no matter how high it’s hidden. Battles of the will are exhausting, but with a formed character, stubbornness translates to persistence in virtue, persistence in providing for his family, and persistence in difficulties. He’ll be dependable and trustworthy for the people who rely on him. He’ll prove to himself that he can overcome every obstacle.
Resisting authority will become leadership.
Do you often question if you missed the announcement for Opposite Day based on her adverse reactions to your requests? Hang in there, mama, because she can become an amazing leader. She’s already thinking for herself. Good leaders are unafraid to forge a new path. They can stand up for themselves, take charge, and don’t compare themselves to others.
Intense emotions will become passion.
The fits and tantrums are agonizing (believe me, I know!), but your little one is living wholeheartedly. Maturity will temper and channel passion into new skills, creativity, originality, and a zest for life. He’ll continue to embrace adventures. He’ll never be bored or boring. Passion is an extremely attractive quality. It inspires others, changes hearts and minds, and effects transformation. Whatever he’s selling, people are buying.
Pickiness will become ambition.
My little guy already has personal dress standards. He wants these shoes, not those ones. Those pants won’t do. It has to be this shirt today. While getting dressed now feels like an ordeal, I have to remind myself that my son will never settle, and that’s a good thing. Kids like him have an ideal in their minds and they’re going to go after it. I won’t have to kick him off my basement couch at age 30 or beg him to look for a job. He will have high personal standards, accountability, a strong work ethic, and self-starting initiative.
Recklessness will become courage.
Just as she is unafraid to turn the playground into a parkour course, she also won’t be afraid to blaze a trail in the future. Because she has a strong inner compass and drive, she’s proving to herself from her earliest days that she’s capable of difficult things. She’s used to pushing her own limits to achieve and she won’t be afraid to continue doing that. So what if a knee gets scraped? Better to have jumped and fallen than never to have jumped at all.
Which of these bad kid behaviors turned positive qualities do you foresee your child having?