Over the past 3 weeks, I’ve been writing about how to avoid power struggles. So far, I’ve discussed how choices and routines can help us avoid power struggles all together. Today is the final day and I’ll be discussing one of the most important ways to avoid power struggles, picking your battles.
When children hear “no” or told to stop doing things multiple times of day, they can easily get frustrated which can lead to more power struggles. When we learn to let go, and say “yes”, that frustration starts to dissolve. All of us, including children, need a sense of control in our lives. Sometimes finding the balance between our need of control and our children’s need of control can be difficult. I wrote more about children and control when I discussed choices. Before we tell our kids no, it’s important to decide if what they are doing is really a big deal. I always ask myself 4 questions:
- Will this hurt him or someone else?
- Will this cause damage to property?
- Does this go against our family’s rules, values or beliefs?
- Do we have to move onto something else? (bedtime, leaving the house, etc.)
If the answer to these four questions is “no” but the behavior is still bothering me, then I ask myself one more question.
“Why do I feel the need to stop this behavior?”
Sometimes it’s because I’m in a bad mood, tired or distracted and I am easily annoyed. Sometimes I need to have more control over things in my life, so I try to control my children more. There can be many reasons why, but most of them are usually my issue. When the issue is mine, I try to not tell my child no or to stop what he’s doing. It’s easier for me to let it go, if there is a solid “no” to the four questions above. I will choose to not get into a power struggle because it’s really not that big of a deal. So tell me your thoughts on this? More posts in this series:
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