Everyone has a need or goal that helps them feel powerful in their lives, especially children.
As parents, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to show children how to gain the goal of power positively or negatively.
The other four primary goals are:
- And also Challenge (for teenagers and older)
Being the Detective
Your goal is trying to figure out what goal your child is trying to meet and then deciding the best path as to how to direct them to the positive approach to reach their goal.
Think of yourself as a detective!
Digging into the “how’s” and “why’s” of their behaviors and decisions…
SIgns that your child is seeking power: often, they become like an immovable object (and you feel angry).
They can seem “stubborn” and rebellious. The child can think that the only way to gain power is to try to control others and show others that they can’t be controlled.
Parents often hear a resounding “No” when a power struggle is in full force.
If we express our feelings of anger and join in the power struggle, the misbehavior usually intensifies.
I have never heard a parent say that pushing harder felt good or even worked for that matter.
If a child does back down, they will probably fight again later in some other way. They become even more defiant.
The Power Struggle
There are two ways to lose a power struggle; by fighting and by giving in.
When we get angry and engage in a verbal fight we are in effect saying to the child, “Look how powerful you are. You have made me angry and pulled me down to your level.”
When we give in to a rebelling child’s unreasonable demands, we give the message, “look how powerful your rebellion is, it has gotten you your way.
What does your power struggle look like? Is it hard to keep the limit with your rebellious child?
Cynthia Klein has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with dads, moms and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between parents and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking, webinars, and private parent coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and is the Middle School Mom columnist for Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. Contact Cynthia at bridges 2 understanding, bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com or call 650. 341.0779.