How to Reduce Power Struggles

How to Reduce Power Struggles
Children challenge us when they feel powerless.

And it's fair enough. If our little ones were to spend a day recording us, we'd be shocked with the amount of directions they hear.

  • Come here
  • Sit down for breakfast
  • Get your shoes
  • Put that away
  • Go get a book
  • Put your socks on
  • Stay close
  • Hold my hand
  • Follow me

In fact - research such as this has been completed in some early childhood centres and they found the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of what kids hear are questions and directions. That's A LOT of expectation.

So - it's no wonder they're seeking some independence and control over their little world. The more we can give them, the less battles you'll have.

Here are some ideas:

Connect before you direct: Get down to their level and join in with their play for a while. In this way you're following their agenda. THEN you can ask them to do something on your agenda.

Let them be in charge: Look for times when you don't have to give any direction, like the park or out for a walk. Try to just follow them and do whatever they want to do, with no agenda.

Offer more choices: "do you want the blue shorts or the red shorts?". Kids feel more in control when they get to make more choices. Let them choose clothes, activities, food, adventures.

Welcome big feelings: Is your child just misbehaving for no reason or is it the result of them feeling a certain way? (Psst - it's ALWAYS the result of feelings, kids don't misbehave for no reason). When you reframe your own thinking, you'll be able to see that your child is asking for help, not trying to wind you up.

Keep a routine: No two days can be identical but if you have as much routine as you can, children know what to expect and feel less need to push back. If your day was changing constantly and was unpredictable, you'd be stressed out/seeking control too.

Hold your boundaries: If sometimes you give in and other times you don't, you're sending mixed messages. It's important you kindly hold your boundaries whilst acknowledging their feelings as valid. "You really don't want to leave the park, I hear you. It's been so fun here. We are leaving now and it's ok to feel mad".

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