Monday, October 24, 2011

Avoiding power struggles

Sidestep power struggles with creative distraction
and  problem solving.

Power is often a motive for misbehavior. It is natural for young children  to react in an unpleasant manner when they are being asked to do something they would rather not. As parents we can easily get frustrated with their attitude, and lose focus on what we want to  happen. One clue that you are getting sucked in to a power struggle is your own response. If you are feeling angry,  if your temper is flaring or if you are focused on the child rather than the behavior you could be setting up power struggle. This win-lose game start to lose focus and the opportunity for a teachable moment quickly dissolves and leaves everyone frustrated, unhappy and miserable. A few suggestions:

·         Do the unexpected. By taking advantage of surprising or distracting the child a parent can draw attention away from the power ploy.

·         Encourage cooperation with problem solving. It is an "I got an idea" moment. Ask a child to come up with an idea or an alternative solution. By encouraging this the child becomes active in the problem solving.

·         Take the ego out of the conflict.

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