In turn, the child who is involved in power struggles is
feeling determined to stand his ground. He will not be bossed
around; he will not be controlled. He will fight back at every
opportunity. He learns through these power struggles that he
finds his place through anger and fighting.
"Children who are into power," writes Jane Nelson, Ed.D. in
Positive Discipline "are usually involved with an adult who is
into power. It is the adult's responsibility to change this
atmosphere." The most important thing the parent can do is to
see the part she plays in the power struggle. It is imperative,
for the sake of the relationship, that the parent begins to take
responsibility as the parent to begin to heal the relationship.
There are several things a parent can do to reduce power
struggles within the home.
After realizing she may be actually promoting the power
struggles, the parent can decide to not fight and to not give
in. She can disengage from the fight. She has to be completely
emotionally detached from overpowering her child. There is power
in disengagement. The parent needs to remain emotionally cool
and calm. Without her anger there will be no power struggle
because the child will have no one to fight against.
Second, parents need to give up the concept that they can
make their children do anything. Instead, parents can inspire,
teach, influence, lead, guide, motivate, stimulate, and
encourage their children to positive, cooperative behavior.
Catch them being good!
Third. In disengaging, parents need to act, not speak.
Parents need to become active rather than reactive parents. For
example, a temper tantrum becomes ineffective and silly if the
parent withdraws to the other room--with no slamming of doors.
Child psychiatrist Rudolf Dreikurs called this "taking the sail
out of their wind."
Fourth, later during a cooled-down period, parents can talk
about what they want from their child.
A parent can say, in a loving, accepting tone, "Son, in the
morning, would you prefer to get dressed here or in the car?" If
children feel personal power through choices, then they do not
feel the need for power through conflict.
Power struggles can destroy a parent-child relationship. Power
struggles can destroy a child's sense of self-worth and
self-esteem. Power struggles can eventually escalate into the
more serious stage of rebellion and revenge.
With this in mind then, Parents can take a look at their
relationship with their child. Are there more feelings of anger
than love and peace? Are there power struggles going on? If so,
the parent needs to begin to make some changes immediately.
During a calm period the parent can spend time playing with
child to encourage more good behavior. The parent needs to
remember and to get back to the love, let go of the control.,
and once again begin encouraging and enjoying the child.
Demanding and orders are not love. Love is the affectionate,
caring, kind leading and guiding of our children.