Power struggles can be the bane of many a good parent’s existence. We’re going along, and before we know it, we’re locked in a nasty battle with our adorable child. We’ve talked before about different ways to cope and avoid power struggles—but one thing that may be hitching us up as parents is if we feel the need to ALWAYS be right and ALWAYS come out on top.
The truth is, we can feel absolutely and completely “right”—but that is not going to make things go any easier with our child. In fact, our insisting on how “right” we are can actually make things worse. Whether our child thinks he is right or not becomes unimportant, as does whatever tiny event sparked the power struggle, it really just becomes about two people trying to hold their ground and NOT give the other person the chance to be superior. What are we teaching our children if we insist upon always being the person who is “right”?
It might take some soul-searching and self-reflection to dig down and figure out just what is behind our need to always be right with our kids. Did we feel powerless in our own upbringing? Do we feel powerless or not listened to now? Do we feel as though our children’s actions are a reflection on us so we want to minimize the embarrassment? There could be myriad reasons and motivations spurring our need to be right with our children. In order to be able to let go and remedy the situation, we need to identify what’s going on.
You’ll be surprised what happens in a power struggle when the parent refuses to push his or her agenda. This doesn’t mean that you’ve given up or given in, it just means you’re not staying locked in a battle in order to prove that you are forever “right.” And, our children learn to respect us as someone who is confident and comfortable, as well as solidly in charge, without needed to prove anything in order to feel that way.