Knowing what to expect from your children is the key to success.
Most parents want to raise happy and respectful children who have confidence to speak up. But giving kids too much of a say about rules and boundaries can undermine parenting and a child’s feeling of security. The trend of negotiating with our kids is partly a result of the pressure parents are under to make too many decisions on the fly. Learn to recognize predictable behaviors in your children and apply new skills. Most importantly, talk less! If you can predict where a child is going to have difficulty, then you have many more options and a great deal of power as a parent. If you can predict that your intense child is going to have difficulty in the super-market at six o’clock at night, then you can prevent a tantrum or power struggle by not going at that time. That is power in prevention. If you can’t avoid the trip, you can prepare your child for what the trip is going to look like: “We’ll go in to get it and then we’re going to leave and come home.” Children want predictable structures and routines, and it helps when they understand the way that life will happen. If you can predict, you can make choices to prevent or prepare, and that’s where your power lies.
5 WAYS TO AVOID A POWER STRUGGLE:
- Know your nonnegotiable rules. Set routines and stick to them. Know when bedtime, mealtime, homework, and playtime will occur and show your child what they look like.
- Know when to stop talking. If you’re in a power struggle and you’re talking, your child will think he can talk. If you have a side, they have a side. Stop talking.
- Watch your language. When you do speak, use language that is proactive, not reactive. Reactive language is negative: words like don’t, stop, cut it out, and so on. It’s harsh and it invites more power struggle.
- Ensure your child is living a child-friendly lifestyle. That means paying attention to sleep and nutrition schedules. Children will power-struggle more when they are tired, hungry, and stressed.
- Look at yourself. Are there a lot of power struggles going on in general? Do you have a hard time maintaining your own calm and stress level? If you don’t take care of yourself, protect your own downtime, and make sure that you are well-rested and well-fed, you’re going to be more reactive.
Published in: Family