Anyone remember that choice commercial? Bueller, Bueller, Anyone, Bueller?
I digress. How the heck to get out of a power struggle, with MY dignity AND my child's dignity in tact? Here is a list of 10 actions/thoughts/re-frames you can use:
1. If it's not a safety issue - let it go for the moment and go back to it. This takes Herculean effort. I am not saying it's easy. Try ONE time letting it go, call me, tell me everything!
2. Claim your own power. Remember - we got the money, the car, the house, the job, the legal rights. I'm not saying CONTROL them, I'm saying we often are victims of tears and tantrums and forget that we have so, so, SO much more real control and power then them. Have mercy.
3. If you can DO SOMETHING - do it. If you power struggle over princess dresses being worn to school - put them all on your upstairs shelf in your closet and they are available on the weekends. If you are power struggling over dessert, take a break from dessert for a few nights (have NO dessert in the house!).
4. Give it to 'em! power struggles are a way our kids tell us when they are ready to move forward. Listen to the message. Give them positive power - pick their clothes, have a say in summer planning, decide on dinner.
5. Kids who are in a lot of power struggles tend to live with adults who enjoy power and control. (Man in the Mirror moment - take a minute).
6. Stop trying to MAKE anyone DO IT. If you are trying to make someone do something, eat something, go to sleep at a certain time or get motivated. Please stop. Can't do it, won't happen. Dead end street.
7. Worry About Yourself! (watch it, watch it again, share with your kids, never gets old!).
8. Read up on development. You don't want to be power struggling over normal and annoying behavior (think 2 year olds saying, 'no', 4 year olds tantruming, teens eye rolling).
9. Ask your spouse or a friend what they see in your relationship with your child. I was greatly helped when my husband pointed out my kids played me like a fiddle, power struggles would ensue and the focus would change from what needed to get done to who was gonna win. I'm not saying I was gracious in the MOMENT he pointed this out, I'm just saying it really helped.
10. Join me for the Power Struggles workshop! It will be fun, we'll laugh and learn and I might just let you get the last word!