Youth Alternatives: Avoiding power struggles

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CHEYENNE, Wyo - Power struggles with our kids are hard because they are so easy to get into and yet they don’t get us very far. What it does is make you as a parent feel powerless and delays finding any real solutions. This doesn’t benefit you or your child Cheyenne Youth Alternatives sent us some different strategies to help you avoid them.

-Pick your battles
We aren’t going to win them all so pick which issues you can’t budge on and which issues you can let go and focus on the more important ones. If it’s an issue that isn’t going to seriously harm them, then it’s okay to let natural consequences take its course. For example, if your child is refusing to wear a coat and it’s 50 degrees out don’t force them. It’s not going to hurt them and more than likely next time they will wear a coat.

-Give choices
Give choices before the child becomes resistant. For each choice, give two options, each of which fit what you want and are enforceable. This creates a sense of shared control for your child and reminds them that they have a voice. If we don’t give the child control on our terms, they will take it on their own terms. If they’re not responding don’t be afraid to say “I usually give choices but not this time”.

-Problem-Solve
This means coming together to find common ground with your child. The goal here is to find a solution, not to win. Doing this together teaches them how to compromise and get along better with others.

-Don’t lose your cool
Kids will often try to push your buttons or argue but remember you’re in control. Entering into every argument we’re invited to tells your children that they have the control, not you. If you feel yourself losing control, it’s okay to take a break. Stay calm, don’t let them see they can get you going.