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It only recently dawned on me that toddler power struggles and happening more and more often with my 20 month old. (I know, I know…ALMOST 2…I just can’t quite bring myself to believe that yet…).
All of us are laid back in our house.
But the power struggles still happen.
I’ve been finding that they can be surprisingly easy to avoid. With a little creativity and proactive parenting.
Maybe you can try this out and let me know if it works for you too!
Our power struggles usually are over things that she is exploring or playing with that I don’t want her to have.
Like the remote.
Recently it was a tube to blow up her travel bed.
These are easy to diffuse before they even start.
I let her keep them.
If it isn’t dangerous, breakable, or necessary to immediately take away from her I let her keep it.
And I move on to doing something else.
After a few minutes of playing with whatever it is she loses interest.
Then she’ll either drop it, hand it to me, or let me trade her something else.
It can be a bit frustrating because it doesn’t happen on my timeline. But we are building a relationship (hopefully of mutual trust and respect).
And, as the adult in this situation, I am better able to regulate my emotions and come up with creative ways to create a win-win situation.
I always try to remember that power struggles happen because she has little control over her life.
By allowing her to have this small amount of control, I hopefully can prevent bigger power struggles.
By showing her that I respect her feelings and not everything has to be done the way I want, she can feel some power, control, and responsibility for her self.
And, when I do have to take something from her, she will hopefully learn that I only do that when it’s dangerous or could hurt her if it breaks.
This will (I hope) lead to greater trust in our relationship.
So that maybe when she’s a teenager and I tell/ask her not to do something, she’ll understand that there’s a good reason behind it. Not just because I said so or because it makes things easier for me.
Parenting is one big experiment and we aren’t really sure how it’s all going to pan out until many years later.
So, I’ll keep trying to be respectful of her thoughts, feelings, and wants by treating her as a person and the way I would like to be treated.
And many years from now, we’ll see if my hopes turn into reality!