Do you wish your preschooler or toddler would JUST STOP WHINING? That your child would go to bed maybe the second time she’s asked rather than the 100th? That your children would stop fighting, yelling, tormenting each other, making outlandish demands, or otherwise acting outrageously? If only!
All humans struggle for power and control over their own lives and young children are no different! Ideally we want our kids to do what we need them to without us having to do anything more than merely ask. Let's not kid ourselves; that is just not going to happen most of the time. "I said so" or "you have to" is about us asserting our power over them and can feel disrespectful to the child. Our children have little to no control over much of their daily lives. That is why most power struggles are associated with: what goes in their body, what goes out of their body, what goes on their body and where they put their body!
I’m sure you have had moments when your child has sobbed and heaved as if Halloween, Christmas, and their birthday had been abolished, replaced by endless amounts of chores, tasks, and unwanted adult-related errands. With preschoolers, this is a very normal response to “ It is time for dinner. Can you put your crayons away?”
The smile that lights up your day; that laugh that warms you up with joy and optimism; the ability to show you the world through innocent eyes: kids can be such amazing parts of our lives with their constant ability to learn and grow, teaching us how to see the big picture and to love someone so much it hurts.
And then they learn the word “No.”
I was recently reading a piece that a business management expert wrote about being a good leader and boss. As I read this short bite of insight, I realized that all of the principals and ideas that he presented apply to success in parenting.
In working with clients over the years on navigating challenges at home with their children I cannot count the number of times a mom or dad has said to me, “I do all of these things in the work place and am very successful at it. But for some reason I did not connect the way I communicate with my employees/boss as the same way I might speak to my children.” This blog post is a twist on what Lex Sisney wrote about on “How to Give an Order” on his website Organizational Physics.