How to Stop Power Struggles

Power Struggles and Engage Cooperation audio download.

The power struggle is the natural successor to the temper tantrum.  If you’ve left tantrums behind and life now feels more like an endless battle, then you can actually congratulate yourself.  You’ve taught your child a more reasonable way to deal with not getting their own way: negotiation.

But life isn’t fun when you and your child get bogged down in innumerable negotiations over major and minor details.  And as parents we know that every decision affecting our child’s life cannot be open for negotiation.  On top of this, when we get embroiled in power struggles we tend to communicate in ways that create a lot of resistance and bad-feeling.

Human beings actually have an inborn desire to contribute to other people’s well-being.  Unfortunately, when parents insist on compliance, they interfere with a child’s natural desire to cooperate with their parent.

Happily, there are lots of ways to work with your children, increase your influence and foster harmonious communication in your family.  For starters, you can try any (or all!) of these five techniques:

1) Be Brief

Instead of a lecture try saying it with just one word:  “Coats” or “Towels”.  Or try the Three-word suggestion: “Jack, your boots!”  Eliminate words entirely if you can.

2) Describe the Problem

Instead of complaining or criticising try describing the problem BRIEFLY.  “There’s stuff all over the sitting-room floor”.  “I see the light is still on in the bathroom”.

3) Give Information

Instead of name-calling or blaming give important information that your child may not know or have forgotten.  “Cheese goes hard when it’s not covered” or “The milk spilled.  We need a cloth.”

4) Be Honest about your Feelings

Instead of sarcasm or nagging try telling your kids what you really feel.  “I feel really angry when I see paint all over the table” or “I feel really worried when I see you hurt each other”.

5) Write a Note

Try writing a letter or pin up a sign.  Notes even work with children who can’t read!  Try this for your bedroom door:  CAUTION: SLEEPING PARENTS.  PLEASE ONLY ENTER AFTER 8am

If you’d like to hear these ideas discussed in more detail and hear more examples of how to apply the techniques to real life then please go to the downloads page and select the Stop Power Struggles and Engage Cooperation audio download.

You will also find a selection of sample Notes under the Free Stuff link on the Home page.

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