Power struggles are a hot topic for many parents. It seems every parent struggles with this at some time or another. I’ve yet to see an argumentative child that didn’t have at least one argumentative parent. The good news is that in theory, there is such an easy fix for this yet such a hard one to pull off!
Try these tips for helping your family break a futile cycle.
1. You have the power!
The solution to ending battles lies within you. Yes, you! The power is yours. Stop it. Bow out. Disengage. Do not argue. As long as our kids have someone to argue with, they will continue. If you stop, they have no one to go back and forth with. Say “I will not argue with you about this.”
2. Give choices.
We all want to have some control in our lives. Choices are the perfect way to give kids some power. It’s a win-win because you give them two options, both of which are acceptable to you.
3. Pick your battles.
We’ve all heard this and know it’s probably true, but again, hard for some parents to do. We should not make every little thing a battle. For example, why argue with them over wearing a coat? If you suggest it and they rebuff it, let go. Trust that when they get cold enough, they will get bundled up.
4. The relationship suffers.
Know that power struggles disconnect us from our children. When they feel disconnected, the more need they will have to be combative. Stop and ask yourself, each time they try to engage you in conflict, if the parent-child relationship is on track.
5. Expect them and be prepared.
Power struggles are going to happen. Simply knowing that won’t throw you into a tailspin when they do occur. Be prepared by having a plan that you are not giving your child the power to take you down a road that leads to nowhere.