Written by Jana Angeles
When it comes to power struggles, we often struggle with setting some boundaries when it comes to our little ones. Maybe it’s because they have this ability to have their way whenever they look at us with their cute eyes or maybe it’s the temptation of letting them be happy, giving us peace from all the tantrums that could potentially happen. Our limits are tested and believe it or not, it’s okay to get upset over our child’s actions, especially if they are unaware of their impact. We deal with this constant battle of power struggles but are unsure of our roles in authority. How do we fix this grey area of “rules” and “power”? What can we do to make things fair for our children and for ourselves?
Provide them with options to choose from rather than asking them yes/no questions
Giving them options to choose from can better their decision-making as opposed to answering yes/no questions. This will be a lot easier if you’re in your child’s bedroom, giving them two sets of outfits of clothing to choose from rather than their whole wardrobe. At least you’re giving them options to choose from rather than having it their way when it comes to picking things to their liking.
If you say “no” to them, don’t change your mind but don’t let it be a default answer either.
There comes a point in time where you’ll no longer be the nice parent and that’s when you start saying “no” to things when your child requests something. It’s important we stick to our guns and never lose sight of the things that we believe in. There’s so much temptation that goes on especially when it comes to changing our minds. Our children can be very convincing when they’re not even trying. If you say “no” to something, emphasise why to your child and give them reasons, but also don’t let it become a default answer either. Allow your child to grow and be involved in their self-development by saying “yes” to things too.
Offer up alternatives that is acceptable for the both of you
When you say “no” to something, this may be the be all and end all for your child. There is nothing more heart wrenching than rejection and the last thing you want is for them to throw a hissy fit towards you if they don’t get what they want. Reach to a compromise and offer some alternatives they can take up on when you’re doing things. For example, if your child is inclined on cooking with you, when you’re preparing the ingredients, give some to them so they are able to participate in cooking with you. Not only will they be able to get a sense of your trust, but they will value the thought of compromising with other people and the option of alternatives in the first place.
There are instances as parents where we deal with power struggles from time to time. There comes a point where it’s embarrassing to not be able to set some rules for your child to follow and it also makes room for more tantrums to deal with. It’s okay to feel frustrated and being unsure what to do when it comes to showcasing some authority to your children. You’ve just got to remember that setting some ground rules is important so your child is able to adapt to behaviour that is kind and respectful to themselves and others.
Dealing with power struggles is the norm but you don’t have to go at it alone. Talk to your partner, your family or friends and learn from each other’s ways. Learn to grow and accept the challenges of the near future. Until then, don’t get too comfortable when your child starts having “selective hearing” and is talking back to you. Know where to draw the line and never allow yourself to be in the position where you no longer can control your child. Your actions matter more than you know.