positive power

Playing to Prevent Power Struggles

Kids playing independently!  Parents celebrate when kids will finally play on their own or with a sibling.  Finally – a few minutes of breathing room for mom and dad to get some things done around the house! Independent play is important for your child’s development and should be encouraged, however, playing WITH your kids on a daily basis will do you and your kids a world of good.  It will even fend off some of the most frustrating power struggles.

Playing WITH your kids doesn’t have to be elaborate or take a lot of time. It can be as simple as throwing a ball or role-playing with dolls or action figures.  “Playing” with a teenager can be a game of backgammon, UNO, or a round of Wii Golf.  “Playing” is what ever your CHILD likes to do for fun. Read More

Kids Clamming Up? Try These 3 Strategies

girl in pink dress, clasping hand behind her.
girl in pink dress, clasping hand behind her.

girl in pink dress, clasping hand behind her.

Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get my kids to share ANYTHING! I’ll ask a question and get one word answers or their body language will tell me they’re not at all interested in discussing whatever I’m asking. Sometimes they’re tired or hungry or cranky and just don’t feel like talking. But there are other times when I recognize that my communication style is actually causing them to clam up.

I’ve found that I’m more successful in getting my kids to open up and have a real conversation if I use the following 3 strategies: 

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Morning Routine Survival Guide

morningroutineAre morning routines in your house already getting the best of you?

Instead of nagging, reminding or yelling your way through the morning schedule, consider implementing “When-Then Routines.”

A When-Then Routine is a tool to help your kids stay motivated to get everything done in the morning—even the “yucky” stuff like brushing teeth and getting dressed. It structures your morning so that all the not-so-fun tasks are completed before the most desirable part of the morning like breakfast (or morning playtime, TV time, etc.).

Your family’s when-then routine, which you create in advance, might sound like, “When you’re dressed, your hair is combed, the bed is made, and your backpack and lunch box are by the door, then breakfast will be served – but remember, the kitchen closes at 6:45!”
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Simple Words to Avoid Power Struggles

avoid power strugglesDid you know the average child hears 432 negative comments or words per day versus 32 positive ones? (Source: K. Kvols, Redirecting Children’s Behavior)

If there were a hidden camera in your house, how many times per day would you catch yourself saying “No” or “Don’t” to your kids?

NO or DON’T commands create several problems, especially for young kids… Read More

How to Avoid Power Struggles over Getting Dressed

I’m not wearing that!


Most parents can relate to the morning battle over what to wear to school. Even though your child’s closet is filled with plenty of clothes appropriate for any weather or occasion, you cringe when she shows up at breakfast with a purple plaid skirt, a Mickey Mouse tank top that looks like it’s been worn for days and green flip flops. Or maybe you selected an outfit the night before but the morning brings a new battle convincing her to actually wear it?

Parents can avoid many of the power struggles related to clothing by following these strategies…

Create Outfits: For younger children – pull “outfits” together on one hanger. Gather matching pants, shirt and socks and clip them to one hanger. That gives her the power to choose her own outfit but gives you some peace of mind that it won’t be a fashion disaster. It’s best if you can hang the rod at a kid-friendly height so she can feel capable and independent by reaching it herself.

Respect Sensory Complaints: Be aware that some kids are more sensitive to itchy tags, bulky seams and uncomfortable fabrics. If your son has a fit when you suggest he wear a certain type of shirt because the tag itches or the fabric feels “icky” on his skin, respect that and remove those clothing choices from the mix.

Control the Environment: You can’t “control” children (at least not without a battle) but you can control the environment. If flip-flops in February are out of the question, don’t battle about them, simply remove them from the closet so they aren’t among the available alternatives for school clothes. If certain clothes are not appropriate for school, then have separate drawers or sections in the closet for school clothes and fun clothes. Give her the power to choose anything she wants to wear as long as it comes from the school drawer


Let it Go: The very best strategy to avoid power struggles and foster independence is to “let it go” and allow your child to make her own clothing choices. You can provide some training about “matching colors” if you’d like but remember that fashion and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder. It’s much more important that she feel independent and powerful because she has some control over her day. Kids perceive that parents call all the shots and make most of the decisions. Giving her the power to select her own clothes gives her a big “hit” of positive power that will go a long way in fostering self-sufficiency and avoiding negative power struggles and morning dawdling.

If her choice does result in a fashion disaster, don’t worry about what others think. Most teachers love to see kids arrive for school in mismatched clothing because they know mom and dad recognize that child’s need for independence and positive power.

For more strategies for morning dawdling, bedtime battles, chore wars and more, join us for a free online class: Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling.  Discover why parents say it’s the best hour they’ve spent. Find dates and times here.