AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR) — Power struggles with our kids are part of them reaching for independence. That’s a good thing. The bad part is that power struggles can cause distance and hostility between parent and child.
Parenting Contributor Belinda Palacios has ways to avoid power struggles.
Ways to Avoid becoming entangled in power struggles with kids:
- Decide what you will do when this occurs, have a game plan.
- Follow through on what you have decided. The key to this, however, is doing so with kindness and firmness.
- Create a nurturing (not punitive) time out area for a younger child.
- Get kids involved in the creation of routines/ responsibilities.
- Ask what and how questions when they begin to create a power struggle with a request (ex: what was our agreement?, what ideas do you have to solve this problem?)
- Let kids become part of the solution and brainstorm ways to resolve the issue.
- Encourage cooperation by explaining how you need their help with the issue.
- Use reflective listening. Stop trying to reason with them and begin to listen. Try to understand their point of view even though it could be totally irrational/wrong.
- Give them choices (do homework before or after dinner, set table for dinner or clean up afterwards).
- Do things with them. This not only helps alleviate the power struggle but also provides teaching moments for your kids.
- Use a sense of humor. It’s hard to stay angry/frustrated when you begin to laugh.
Challenge: When kids begin to go there with power struggles, stop and take a breath rather than diving in with dialogue that will eventually turn in to an argument.