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When In A Power Struggle, Ask This Question

My son Tyler was 3. I had put him in the shopping cart hoping to contain him because I needed to rush in and rush out of the grocery store. (Bad idea. Rushing always creates tension that often leads to power struggles. ) I had put a few items in my cart when I noticed that he took a can of soup and dropped outside of the cart. I very sweetly asked him to stop. But he did it again. This time I was much firmer with him when I asked him to stop. Next he dropped the entire contents of my purse outside the cart! By now I was furious and wanted to grab his little arms. Luckily, I had made a commitment to myself never to do that!

The normal question we ask ourselves when we are in a power struggles is “What can I do to MAKE him stop!” Instead, shift the question to, “What can I do to help him feel more powerful in a more appropriate?” So I started including him on my decisions. “Do you think Dad would like peas or broccoli tonight? Do you think Snoopy would like salmon or chicken dog food?”

When I started doing that, it was like someone came and took my rebellious child and replaced him with a cooperative one. It was that easy!

Parenting Practice:

When you find yourself in a power struggle, ask yourself, "How can I help my child feel more power in a more appropriate way?'

For more tips like this, go to this link to find a Certified Parenting Educator who teaches "Redirecting Children's Behavior" parenting course near you.



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