We can’t always avoid or defuse power struggles. As human beings, it’s completely natural for us all to succumb to that need to feel powerful from time to time.
Some deal with it better than others.
It’s important when struggling with issues like this, to first look at your own need for power, dominance and control.
Can you allow you child power?
Here are some ideas for reducing the conflict and even learning how to work together in harmony.
Work Towards Being Proactive Rather Than Reactive
Keep in mind the behavior or goal you are trying to teach your child. Ask yourself…
Will your actions achieve the desired result? If not, change your behavior, instead of doing more of the same.
> Stop! Before acting, doing or saying anything, take steps to manage your own anger first.
During a power struggle, it’s important to work toward changing your perception from “he/she’s trying to get me” to “what is my child feeling and thinking and what goal is s/he trying to meet?”
Think, “How can I help them meet their needs with positive behavior while having my needs be met at the same time?”
Work towards compromise, not dominance.
Go beyond your own needs and try to discover a win/win solution to the power struggle.
Acknowledging your child’s feelings of frustration, anger, powerlessness, etc., creates connection and gives a sense of relief for the child, thus reducing a potential conflict.
Building empathy and connection with your child is the most effective way to influence their behavior.
Children don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. (Michael Popkin, Ph.D., Active Parenting Today), so practice becoming an emotional coach rather than an intimidator…
Develop strategies that lead your child in a positive direction, rather than trying to control or please them to get positive behavior.
Providing your child with opportunities to gain power with positive behavior such as choices, problem solving or challenges and successes, will lead toward a more desired outcome, and away from continued power struggles.
When your child does use rebellion as a means to gain power, don’t engage. Sometimes silence with or without action can be the best strategy.
Fighting and giving in are ways to “pay off” a power struggle. No one wins.
Practice some of these strategies and let me know if you feel the tension levels drop, and the power struggles start to feel more like discussions.
I’m excited to hear from you!