Parenting Power Struggles

by denny hagel on June 24, 2010

Power struggles usually begin during what many refer to as the “terrible twos” and can continue through out the teen years UNLESS you choose not to participate. Your level of participation depends upon your need to be right or in control.

Parents need to take the position that your relationship with your child is not a platform for battles. It is not one side against the other. Conveying to your child that you are their resource for help, guidance, and support from a very early age will go a long way toward establishing a sense of “team work” rather than a “you against them” mentality
This needs to be expressed verbally as well as modeled by your attitude and approach to the varying situations that occur. Children, for the most part, will learn from what they see. They will also learn from their own experience.

If a child sees his parent approach situations with an open mind, ready to listen to opinions of others, he will model this behavior in the situations he finds himself experiencing as well. If he sees his parent approach life with a “my way or the highway attitude” this will most likely become his approach as well.

Children make mistakes. Whether through their attitude or choices, they are going to do and say things that are not what parents believe is appropriate. The reaction of the parent is what will determine in the child’s mind if his parent is on his team or if they are on opposite sides.

My parents raised five children, of which I was the oldest. From as far back as I can remember they had one rule…be respectful. It was instilled in each of us that our thoughts, opinions and ideas were important and respected.

They made sure we knew they wanted to hear all of them. It was also clear that we had the right to express our thoughts, opinions, and ideas in every situation as long as we did it in a respectful way. It didn’t take long to figure out that it was in our best interest to be respectful. When we weren’t, the conversation ended! My parents maintained strict personal boundaries that made it clear to us what they were not willing to accept and that was disrespect.

We also knew that they loved us unconditionally and that their highest concern was for our safety, emotionally and physically.

Because we were allowed to express ourselves freely, we also learned to listen. During discussions, Mother would say, “I have heard your opinion or thought or idea, (whatever the case was); now it is my turn to speak and your turn to listen.” And we did. By example and through the process that had begun as soon as we could speak, we learned that our parents were fair and when the result was not as we hoped we always walked away knowing their reasons.

I remember a time I was at a friend’s house and witnessed an exchange between her and her mother. I was shocked to hear after my friend asked her mother if she could do something, her mother replied “No!” My friend asked her why, and her mother responded with, “Because I said so!” I also remember my friend walking away and muttering under her breath that she hated her mother!

Looking back I can see that the attitude of the mother set the tone that this was a dictatorship mentality rather than a relationship mentality.

There will without a doubt be times, as there were in my growing up years, when emotions will take over, the heat of the moment will surface and the exchange will become disrespectful on the child’s part.

Those are the times parents need to model the behavior they want to see in their child. Be calm. Take a deep breath. State your boundary of only accepting a respectful attitude and put it in their hands. Reiterate that you care about their feelings and thoughts, that you are willing to have the discussion and then offer them the choice to continue the conversation respectfully or stop it.

Children will be more apt to respond in a reasonable way when you allow them to reach a conclusion through discussion and mutual respect than by being controlled without explanation.
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Denny Hagel is a child advocate and parenting coach, devoting over 25 years to the success and well being of all children. She is the published author of over 125 articles on parenting, many of which have attracted international attention in over 24 countries.

Denny was blessed with forward thinking parents who raised her with an understanding of her value as an individual, her innate power to choose by way of her thoughts, ideas, opinions and beliefs, thus, instilling in her a strong sense of personal responsibility for what happens in our lives

She is the founder of Awakened Parenting LLC, a company dedicated to helping parents release parenting paradigms of the past and consciously choose to raise their children to approach life with a positive mindset and strong sense of self. It is Denny’s passion to combine what she learned through her formal education in early childhood education and psychology and what her parents instilled in her and pass this on to all parents.

Denny has created the discussion group "Awakened Parenting Discussion Forum" on Face Book which now has over 600 members.  She does on line coaching with parents and teachers who consult her on a regular basis. Denny collaborates with counselors, authors, coaches and others working in the parent coaching field. Denny Hagel is the author of the newly published "The Missing Secret to Parenting", "The C.P.R. Program for Parents & Teens: Conflict Prevention/Resolution Formula", "Mini-Me Syndrome" and two free e-booklets Parenting Using the Law of Attraction and Becoming an Awakened Parent".



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