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"Undoing The Power Struggle"

I recently found myself at a small kid friendly party around 9pm. I started to hear many of the mothers saying, “honey, we are going home soon, it is almost bedtime.” The wails of terror were beginning and the whining could be heard throughout the room. Meanwhile, after a while my own son comes up and says, “Mom, can we please go soon? It’s my bed time.” My audience of mothers nonverbally responded with shock.

I knew what they were thinking. “How on earth do I get my child to WANT to go to bed?” It is simpler and more complicated than you think. See, setting boundaries and rules in a household are of supreme importance. However, testing a child’s integrity and character can be done gradually in small ways every day. If I seem less than worried about my child’s 9pm bedtime, he may become the one concerned. Children have a need for structure no matter how much they hate it. When those parameters are set and sporadically monitored, you may find your child to be very independent for their age. I personally believe finding unique ways to encourage autonomy with our offspring is the key to lasting positive self-esteem as they develop.

Nobody wants to be the “overbearing” mother. However, our kids did not come with a parent handbook. We are inundated with magazines, social media and numerous influences that are both conscious and subconscious. Yet, deep down all parents question themselves regarding the efficacy of their individual parenting style. As humans, we hear the word, ‘power struggle” and immediately deny that we are ever in them with others, especially not with our own children. The next time your kid won’t eat their brussel sprouts, how might you engage them uniquely to consider for themselves that maybe they themselves actually need to eat vegetables?

When parenting, use your imagination. There are plenty of parent websites and parent templates we try to follow. Don’t forget that thinking outside of the box may one day produce responses from your child that are as uniquely gratifying as the strategy you devised yourself. Now that, is parent pride!

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