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Balancing Power Between Parents and Child  

Balance of Power

If you ask any parent what is the one thing they want most for their child, without hesitation it is happiness. Now, if you ask a child what they want most in the world, the answer would be power. Maybe not in so many words, but if you watch them operate and talk with them and really listen to what motivates them, you get the idea.

These two wants create a fundamental upset being played out in almost every house in America, perhaps the world. Parents and kids are locked in a battle of wills. Kids know we want them to be happy so they use that desire to get what they want: power. The whining, crying, carrying on and arguing you see at a trip to the local mall supports this claim.

When parents get together they share war stories of how exhausted, overwhelmed or frustrated they are by this constant power struggle. Adults actually bond over how bad parenting is. If you are not sharing the shame, other parents in the group act like you have broken some unspoken code. Some even think you are not in touch with reality.
What makes grown ups engage in such parent pressure? The need to belong is usually enough to have us conform to some degree. In this case, the pressure to be like other parents who, just like you, have little idea how to get results they want with their child, is strong enough to have us be like-minded in being resigned. At least you have that in common!

You could read parenting books and hope for some insight before you drop them at their college dorm room. Consider this approach. Join a conversation with parents who are learning to look beyond the pains of parenting to find their own power and have some left over for their kids.

Have you ever thought that if you didn’t have to deal with the constant power struggles, you might actually get some parenting (that you could be proud of) worked into your day? There is an underlying myth here that deserves a second look. When you uncover it, you will thonk yourself on the head with the realization. Doh!

Power struggles will always occur. Yes, I said ALWAYS. How you react to and manage your own personal power struggles ARE the parenting moments. Think about it. What will your kids remember and unconsciously emulate? The movie memory in their head starring you; losing your mind the last time they tried to seize power will live forever. You, on your best behavior? Utterly forgettable. Scary isn’t it?

Unlocking the power struggle mystery is a wondrous process. You start by recalling that there was a time when you actually did respond to your kid’s demands willingly, as a sweet newborn. Otherwise they die and you go on the news as Bad Parent of the Year. The problem is that the rules change between age one and two. Surprise! The window for the child to demand expires and is replaced by learning to make requests. The bigger problem is that no one explicitly tells parents of this vital switch! Now if the parents haven’t heard, you can bet they aren’t telling their children.

Without this knowledge you can imagine the confusion; Kids running the show, parents responding to the demands out of habit; kids vying for power inappropriately, parents reluctant to be the authority because they have distasteful memories of being under someone’s thumb as a child. Is it any wonder that the second year of life, when the child’s right to demand fully expires, is referred to in our society as ‘The Terrible Twos?’ It points to the breakdown of this critical point in the ebb and flow of natural power.

So what? How can I make a difference in my family? Learn the Power Flow Model from the Licensed 2 Parent Program. Put it to use and you will never look at power struggles the same again. Expand your awareness.
Balanced Parenting    

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.
~Albert Einstein

A mom using this approach for two months with her school age son told me this story. She was at a local restaurant they frequent. As they left, the Owner came over to say that a patron overheard them interacting with their son and coaching his behavior. The gentleman was so impressed by their style and the results they got that he had to tell the owner he was going home to share what he heard with his own family. She was in tears because she is used to leaving there embarrassed by the latest incident with her son. This day she was proud of her son and herself. They got to be a family functioning powerfully and get recognized for it.

The best news is that what parents and kids want is abundantly available. Powerful kids; happy kids. Happy parents; powerful parents, too.
Parenting Resources, Parenting Tips and Parenting Articles by Dawn Roth    
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