Posted on: Monday June 13th, 2011
Posted by: Victoria Sopik
Power struggles are such a common occurrence with children of all ages for so many different reasons! You would think after the age of five or so they would taper off, but I'd have to say to this day I still experience power struggles... even with my oldest child!
One power struggle that is common for parents is the clothing dispute. Whether it's your three-year-old daughter who insists on wearing a Christmas dress with rubber boots in the middle of July, or your four-year-old son who refuses to get dressed in the morning, clothing can be a tough one! When my eldest daughter was three years old, she decided that she was going to be picky about her clothing. In fact she decided not to wear clothes at all, and there was no way I was going to get anything on her. This was definitely difficult for us, as the number one rule in power struggles is to ignore the situation and not to engage in the battle.
Another situation that many parents can relate to is the candy battle. For many children, after that first taste of sugar, they can't get enough of it! There are times when your child will spot some candy and begin crying and throwing a tantrum the second you tell them, "not now hunny" or "you'll have to wait until after dinner". There is no point in talking it out or discussing why they can't have candy at that moment, as they're already off having a tantrum. If you have firmly stated, "you can't have candy now,” then you can simply put the candy out of reach and walk away. Try not to engage in the battle, because then your child will automatically decide that they are in it to win and they won't give up!
I'm sure many of you know that the worst thing to do is to change your mind and give in once you've said no. Even though saying "no" might throw them into an utter rage, it is not worth it to give in. They will stop eventually, especially when they realize you've walked away. After a few more “tests”, your child will likely figure out that you will not give in.
We have all experienced these battles and I'm sure we've all lost a few. Unfortunately, giving in lets them know "there are many more battles to be won."
The moral of the story is, stay strong and don’t give in!