If you feel that you have let your kids, teens, or tweens have more power than they should in certain areas, you are not alone! The big challenge then becomes how to pull back their power once they “taste” power and they don’t want to give it up!
This could happen with problems such as:
- Getting kids off of screens.
- Allowing them to refuse to do chores.
- Letting them choose when to do homework and finding out they are getting poor grades.
There are also times when kids seem to want you to have power over them as strange as this seems.
This could happen with problems such as:
- Kids saying “I’m bored” as though you’re supposed to tell them what to do.
- Complaining about their sibling as though you can change them.
- Talking to their teacher for them when they are capable to do it themselves.
Success in knowing when and how much power to give them is greatly improved when you have a reliable system. Power over who makes the decisions is the basis of the Three Parenting Roles system.
When you want an issue solved and your children don’t, you usually use Director Role strategies. You state clearly “I am making the decisions.”
When an issue is a joint problem to solve then you use Collaborator Role strategies. You state clearly “We make the decision together.”
When a challenge impacts your child directly and they can solve it with your support, then use the Supporter Role strategy. You state clearly, “You make the decision.”
In the diagram below, you’ll notice that the three roles are represented by a balanced three-legged stool. Each role that you do with specific strategies is equally important no matter how old the child is.
As they mature, you will want to spend more time training them as a Supporter so they can make more decisions on their own. However, it’s important to recognize that as long as they are under your care, under age 18, and living at home, you still need to be a Director at times.
Now let’s go back to the issue of deciding who has power. When you have allowed your kids to determine when they get off devices, then you have abdicated your role as a Director. You have given them the power to decide when to get off the devices. You are acting as a Supporter which is why you are having the problem.
You may be thinking, “I’ve tried getting them off and they get furious and I feel helpless. They yell at me and refuse to do what I say so I just give up.” Devices are particularly difficult because of their addictive nature.
They are not mature enough to make the device time limit decision which is why you need to ultimately put restrictions on devices. As I’ve said before, it’s important to discuss the pros and cons of electronic devices with your children and have a plan for their usage that you enforce.
An important part of your children accepting you as a Director on this issue is that you have also learned how to be a Collaborator and Supporter. They need to clearly understand and experience when they do have power over their life. When you are ready to talk with them about the three roles concept, this diagram can be a helpful tool.
I’d like to take this opportunity to briefly talk about kids saying, “I’m bored.” Ask yourself, whom is this problem directly affecting? The answer is ‘your children’ so this means you play the Supporter Role. You don’t try to solve the problem for them by giving them advice on what to do. They need to experience their own power.
I realize you may need to be a partial Director and set limits of what they can’t do such as taking the car and going for a week-long trip with a friend! You can set the outside parameters and the rest is up to them. They’ll reject your advice anyways because they know inside that this is their area of power. Let them experience it.
There is much more to balancing the Parenting Roles stool. I hope this has given you the encouragement to start thinking clearly about who has the power and to take back the power you have given away.
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