Power Struggle with Children

I don’t have much of a power struggle with Aidan (maybe it’s coz he’s still young?) but I do have power struggles with Ashley on a daily basis and I am thinking….where did I go wrong??? It’s downright frustrating for me and I bet it’s equally frustrating for Ashley too. But how do I not get into that situation without winning or giving in?

Everyday, Ashley has a bone to pick with me. Her schedule has been drawn out and pinned onto her notice board. We have gone through it together and she understands it.

Each day, when she comes back from school, the routine is that she would take her shower, have lunch and then it’s homework time. After homework time, she is free to do whatever she wants (play/TV) until dinner time. When  I pick her up from school everyday, I’d remind her on the way back on what she needs to do before she gets to play. But when it comes to homework time, she’d try to push her luck and request to watch TV before starting on her homework. When I remind her about her routine, she’d sulk, throw her tantrums and pull a LONG, BLACK face on me. Believe you me, it’s long. It’s black.

Common! It’s not as if she doesn’t know that she had to complete her homework before she gets to watch TV or play right? So what’s wrong here?

Or how about the other time when Aidan and her got into the car and then she made such a big fuss and threw a tantrum from not wanting to sit on her booster seat because the seat belt was twisted abit and there was nothng I could do about it?

Or how about the time when she wanted the fish allocated for Siti and she insisted she wanted it, irregardless of my explanation as to why she can’t have it? She’d say things like “I DON’T CARE! I WANT IT!”

I feel disappointed. I feel as though we, as parents, have failed. And if I feel this way when she is 6 years old..how about when she turns 16?

I’m out of ideas and honestly, I am out of patience. Someone, give me a pill for patience puh-leaseeee!

So I turned to Google and found this

Here are some excerpts from that site….

“It takes 2 to create a power struggle.” – ARGH! *CRINGE*

“I have never seen a power drunk child without a power drunk adult real close by.” – Cringe again!

The key is to create a WIN-WIN environment and here are 18 ways to avoid power struggles, according to Jane Nelsen from Positive Discipline.

  1. Decide what you will do. I will read a story after teeth are brushed. I will cook only in a clean kitchen. I will drive only when seat belts are buckled. (I will pull over to the side of the road when children are fighting.)
  2. Follow Through The key to this one and all of the following is KINDNESS AND FIRMNESS AT THE SAME TIME. (Pull over to the side of the road without saying a word. Children learn more from kind and firm actions than from words.)
  3. Positive Time Out. Create a “nurturing” (not punitive) time out area with your child.
  4. Distraction for Young Children and lots of supervision. Punishment decreases brain development. Children are often punished for doing what they are developmentally programmed to do — explore. (Please read “Positive Discipline for Preschoolers.)
  5. Get children involved in the creation of routines (morning, chores, bedtime). Then the routine chart becomes the boss.
  6. Ask what and how questions: How will we eat if you don’t set the table? What is next on our routine chart? What was our agreement about what happens to toys that aren’t picked up? What happened? How do you feel about what happened? What ideas do you have to solve the problem? (This does not work at the time of conflict, nor does it work unless you are truly curious about what you child has to say.)
  7. Put the problem on the family meeting agenda and let the kids brainstorm for a solution. (Chore story, safe deposit box.)
  8. Use ten words or less. One is best: Toys. Towels (that may have been left on the bathroom floor). Homework. (Sometimes these words need to be repeated several times.)
  9. Get children involved in cooperation. Say, “I can’t make you, but I really need your help.” (10 words)
  10. No words: Use pantomime, charades, or notes. Try a hug to create closeness and trust — then do something else.
  11. Non-verbal signals. These should be planned in advance with the child. An empty plate turned over at the dinner table as a reminder of chores that need to be completed before dinner; a sheet over the television as a reminder that homework needs to be done first or that things need to be picked up in the common areas of the house.
  12. Use reflective listening. Stop talking and listen. Try to understand not only what your child is saying, but what she means.
  13. Limited choices: Do you want to do your homework before dinner or after dinner. Do you want to set the table or clean up after dinner?
  14. Make a “Wheel of Choice” together. Draw a big circle and divide into wedges. Brainstorm lots of solutions to problems. Draw illustrations for each solution. During a conflict, invite child to pick something from the wheel.
  15. Create a game: Beat the clock or sing songs while getting chores done.
  16. Do it WITH them. You may even want to go to the positive time out area with them.
  17. Use your sense of humor: Here comes the tickle monster to get little children who don’t pick up their toys. This creates closeness and trust and can be followed by one of the above.
  18. BONUS: HUGS! HUGS! HUGS! A hug is often enough to change the behavior — theirs and yours.

Ok, I will try these tomorrow and see if there is any improvements. There’s got to be some improvements. I got to believe it!

Wish us luck.

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One Comment

  1. I’m also in your boat with Darien. I tried some of these before but find myself falling back at one again. Hmm. Guess I’ve got to remind myself over and over eh. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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