Creative Child

3 Ways to Diffuse a Power Struggle with Your Child

by Rebecca Eanes


hard and say “I said so!” and leave it at that, or you could offer an alternative. Permissiveness is giving in and allowing her to go to a party that you feel she shouldn’t attend, but it is reasonable to say, “I know you are disappointed that you can’t go to this party. Why don’t you call another friend and see if there is a movie playing you’d like to watch? I’ll be happy to drive you to the theater” or “Hey, I know you’re upset with me right now and that’s okay, but if you’re up to it in a bit, why don’t we go out to the mall?”

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  1. Disengage without disconnecting. When disengaging from a power struggle, we are effectively ending the conversation with a “that’s final.” However, there are two ways to do this, one that disconnects and one that invites connection. As you might imagine, “Because I said so and that’s final! One more word about it and you’re grounded!” might be effective at ending the power struggle (or it might not!) but it leaves the relationship with your child on shaky ground. We can stick to our guns and say the same thing but in a way that isn’t so harsh. Instead, try saying “I love you too much to argue with you, so let’s not discuss this any further. If you need to take some time to cool off, you can. When you are ready, I’d love for you to come and find me.” This communicates I’m not willing to change my position but I still love you and I want you around, and those last two messages are vital to a strong connection and to a child’s self-worth.
Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the bestselling author of 3 books. Her newest book,Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, is more than a parenting book, it's a guide to human connection. She has also written The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parentingand co-authored the book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early ChildhoodShe is the grateful mother to 2 boys.


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