Here is an overview of what a power struggle looks like:
- Child’s basic belief: I am significant only when I am the boss.
- Child’s attitude: “you can’t make me,” “I must have what I want,” “I must be able to do what I want.”
- Child does: stubborn, disobedient, temper tantrum, bossy, argue, uncooperative, has to be first, has to always win, manipulative, do opposite of what they are told.
- Adult feels: very frustrated, mad, angry, embarrassed – more intense feelings
- Child’s response: continue without stopping or gets worse.
- Appropriate Response: AVOID POWER STRUGGLES! You have two choices, you can either ignore it or give the power if it is unimportant. The most important thing is to refrain from getting angry and if you get in a fight take yourself out of it. Use natural consequences as mush as possible; for example, a child refuses to wear a coat when it is cold outside so they get cold. Give children choices.
When giving choices say:
- You may do ________ or ________ you decide
- I’m sorry, that’s not one of the choices
- When you _______ then you may _______
What you can’t say: If you________ then you may ________; Don’t do that or else . . .
Choices have to be stated positively! Child will get angry and then you empathize so the child feels that you care and the power is still in their port and they can make a different choice next time.
Always take each instance for what it is and don’t use past experiences!
Give children appropriate such as jobs, choices, have them be a helper, and say yes
when they want something and it really is okay – is finishing that bowl of cereal
really worth the fight?