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You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded): Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Childby Cynthia Ulrich Tobias
Introduction to the Revised Edition
Here’s How I Know It Works!
My very own strong-willed child, Mike, came bursting through the door with his usual force and energy. He was fresh from yet another week of being a counselor at a summer YMCA camp. I marveled at how quickly the years have passed and here he was—twenty years old and about to enter his junior year in college. Could it possibly be?
“Mom, I have to tell you something.”
I’ve learned to appreciate every opportunity to talk about his life, so I stopped what I was doing and listened.
“The camp kids were driving me crazy. I was so frustrated, I was ready to scream.” He paused and put his finger in the air to make a pronouncement. “So, I decided I’d better read one of your books.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Which book did you read, Mike?” He shrugged and grinned. “You Can’t Make Me.” Before I
could react he rushed on. “And you know what? It works!" I wasn’t prepared for this. Was this my strong-willed child,
who appears in every chapter of the book, telling me he was now using it to understand the kids he was counseling at
For the next twenty minutes Mike regaled me with examples he had read in the book, emphasizing the strategies he had used successfully with his campers. We reminisced over stories from the book that he remembered and laughed about the ones he had forgotten or was too young to recall.
Since the first edition of You Can’t Make Me! (But I Can Be Persuaded) came out in 1999, literally thousands of parents and educators have taken the time to actually write or personally deliver overwhelmingly positive and grateful responses to the powerful and effective strategies in the book. I’ve been humbled and encouraged to see the hope in their eyes and hear the joy in their voices.
But I have to tell you, by far the most meaningful endorsement I could ask for is the one from Mike. After twenty years of living with and loving my strong-willed child, after the prayers and tears, trial and error, perseverance and frustration, failure and success, he is reading and endorsing the book that describes him as the quintessential strong-willed kid.
So as you read this revised and updated version of You Can’t Make Me, believe me when I say I’m still in the trenches with you. I’ve parented a great strong-willed child and his equally wonderful but more compliant twin brother. I will never be able to make the claim I did everything right. Far from it! I am eternally grateful that God has been gracious in supplementing my well-intentioned and often inadequate efforts with His grace, love, and wisdom.
My fervent prayer is that you will benefit from the wisdom and advice of the many strong-willed children and their parents you are about to meet in this book. Most of all, no matter how things turn out, I pray you will be glad you never gave up on the relationship with your strong-willed child. You’ll never be able to truly measure the difference it will make.
What Our Readers Are Saying