As Parents we ALL have times when we want our kids to do something that they don’t want to do. This happens because our kids are developing their ability to make choices and control the world around them. This is healthy and it’s something we want to encourage.
What do you do with a Power Struggle?
So, what then do we do when our kids want something and we want them to do something else? Part of the answer is the Fast Food Rule. That’s the tip I shared last month on how to connect with your child when the emotion is high and get a message to him. When we connect, the doors of the brain open and the child is able to accept what we have to say.
Today’s tip focuses on the last step of the Fast Food Rule: giving choices. I use this strategy with all my children daily. My kids are 12, 10, 6 and 3. At each age this tip is great!
“Giving Choices” sounds like a real easy tip that doesn’t need a lo
t of explanation, right? Well, there are a few rules that are very important to having this tip work!
Step ONE: Connect with your child
You can use the Fast Food Rule to connect with your child and make sure you understand each other. Make sure to recognize the child’s feelings and that the child knows you know how she feels.
Step TWO: Give Directions
In this step you need to say exactly what needs to happen: “It’s time to go home.” “It’s time to do homework.” “It’s time to take a bath.” Etc. Make sure to be clear and simple.
Step THREE: Give Choices
Finally you give the child 2 or 3 different choices. This is important: ALL OF THE CHOICES MUST BE ACCEPTABLE! Do not give a right and a wrong choice. You, as the parent, want to b
e fine with whatever choice your child chooses.
Here’s an Example:
Say your child is at a play date and it’s time to go home. Maybe you have already given a 5 min warning. This is a natural situation where the child would want to keep playing. Here’s how it might look:
Mom: “Hey. 5 minutes is finished. It’s time to go home.”
Child: But Mom! I don’t want to go home!
Mom: (remember you are using the fast food rule) Oh, I see you are sad. I understand. Me too. I wish we could stay and play all day. But it is time to go because we need to do some other things now. (You can say as much as you want about this depending upon the age and emotional state of your child.)
Mom: Do you want to run to the car? Or do you want to walk?
OR you could say: We need to go to the car. Would you like to help mom by carrying your backpack or my purse?
OR you could say: Do you want to go to the car hopping like a bunny? Or running?
What makes this strategy so cool is that you, as the parent, stay in control but to the child it looks and feels like they are in control! Since this is what the child wants, it becomes a Win Win situation!
As you apply this tip you will not only see a decrease in power struggles, but also a boost in self-esteem and motivation in your child. It really does empower them to be independent. They feel respected and loved. Isn’t that what we really want for our children?
You are an awesome parent! I know just because you are reading this blog! The fact you are interested in improving your parenting says you are awesome! Thanks for being you!