6 Tips on How to Handle Power Struggles with your Children
Ways to Handle Power Struggles with Your Kids
All children love to engage parents in power struggles at one time or another, but they commonly end up being no-win situations as the parent and child each vie for power.
During power struggles with their children, parents usually feel angry, drained, and helpless, wondering if they are the only parents who can’t seem to control their child.
Kids usually feel like they’ve succeeded in gaining attention and manipulating the parent; that if they put up a big enough battle, they will wear the parent down. They may also feel like they’ve have won even if they don’t succeed in getting their way.
Parents can avoid power struggles by:
- Not allowing themselves to get into an argument choosing battles carefully (avoid struggles over minor issues).
- Responding calmly, but firmly.
- Being consistent with enforcing rules and consequences.
- Giving themselves time to make decisions (“I will think about this and let you know my decision.”).
- Not being concerned with proving you are right.
- Being firm, but empathetic (“I know you would like to go to the mall with your friends, but your science project has to be completed first.”).
The next time you find yourself in a challenging situation with your child, remember to try and stay calm and do your best to avoid a power struggle.