Minimize power struggles and arguments with your kids

Power struggles, every parent has them but no one likes them.
You just asked your child to clean up their room and they respond with a ‘no’, so you tell them again, but their answer doesn’t change. This can keep going and it might end up in a power struggle between you and your child.

Why can’t they just do what you ask? Well, they want to control what they’re doing, and cleaning up their room isn’t a priority.

Children want to have some control about how they spend their time, they don’t like to be told what to do every minute of every day. But be honest, would you like this? I doubt it.

minimize power struggles kids

Power struggles can happen multiple times a day, about the most simple things like cleaning up a toy or getting dressed. You want your child to do what you say, I think every parent wants that.
When you’re in a power struggle with your child, you want to win, but your child wants to win as well. Here is where it goes wrong, our goal shouldn’t be to win a power struggle, it should be to avoid them as much as we can.

But how do we minimize power struggles? I can say it really simple and tell you to stop playing that game, because that is what it is, a game for power. But that’s not all what I’m going to do, I’m also going to give you some tips to minimize those power struggles.

Offer choices

Children want to make decisions for themselves, and by giving them choices we offer them a bit more power. Instead of telling your child to eat the kiwi you gave them, ask them if they want a kiwi or a banana.
If you struggle with getting your child dressed in the morning, let her choose between two outfits.
Giving your child choices will give them more control of a situation while they still do what you want them to do (eat fruit or get dressed).

Use consequences

Let your child play outside without a coat (if it’s not freezing of course), the consequence is that he’ll be cold.
Does your child refuse to clean up her toys? You ask them twice, you give a warning and then you stop saying anything. You clean up the toys and the consequence will be that the toys will be gone for a few days.
By giving your child consequences, you avoid power struggles and let the consequences do their work. Just make sure that they know the consequences before.

Pick your battles

When you think back at the power struggles you had with your child, are there some that made no sense?
Some things are not worth an argument, let you daughter where her princess dress when you go to the store. It doesn’t hurt anyone if your sons socks don’t match.
Before you start arguing with your child, as yourself if it’s really that big of a deal and what can go wrong when you let your child get her way.

Take a time out

You’re stressed or tired (or both) and you just want your children to do as you say. This is when we’re most likely to end up in a power struggle, I get it, I’ve been there too. This is the moment where we need to take a time out, breath and calm down.

Give your child the last word

This might sounds strange, but it does help. If you make sure your child knows the consequences, stop responding when they talk back. Some things are not worth it, and when we walk away there’s no one to argue with.

I hope that these tips will help you minimize the power struggles and arguing, so that you can create a happier home for your family.
Do you have more tips on how to minimize power struggles with your kids? Then make sure to leave a comment as I would love to hear them.

If you want to read more about power struggles with kids, then this is a great book. (affiliate link)

minimize power struggles kids
minimize power struggles kids

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