Thanks to everyone who attended last night’s webinar hosted by Cyndy Ratcliffe from Organizing Solutions, Inc.
We ran out of time before I could answer all of the questions so the remaining questions are below…
Question: My daughter and I seem to “butt heads” constantly. Any ideas on how to handle that?
Answer: This is a classic power struggle. You didn’t mention the age of your daughter, but it doesn’t matter. We can butt heads with toddlers and teenagers. It is a classic power struggle with both sides determined to win the battle!
As we discussed in the webinar, we’re all hard-wired with a need for positive power – the ability to have some control over our lives. When we over-protect, over-demand, order, correct and direct… we stand in the way of our children achieving independence and personal power.
When they try to “butt heads” with us or engage us in power struggles – it’s their way of saying, “you’re not the boss of me and I’m going to let you know it!”
To get out of the power struggles, I encourage you to work on the following 3 strategies:
1. “Own YOUR stuff”. Communication is a two-way street and parents have to “own” the role they play in the power struggle. Be aware of your communication style and minimize the amount of ordering, correcting and directing you do with your kids (and spouse!) In Session 1 of Positive Parenting Solutions Online, you will take a Personality Priority Survey to learn how your personality priority impacts power struggles.
2. Give power. Find ways to give your kids the positive power they NEED! Provide more choices, bring kids into family decision-making when appropriate – give them opportunities to have more control over their world. To a toddler, that may mean choosing between a Batman and Spiderman toothbrush; to a teenager, it may mean having more choices in which family chores he will do and how and when they’ll be done.
3. Chill. Don’t “bite” when your daughter tries to negotiate, debate or otherwise engage you in a power struggle. If you ask your child to do something, say it once – calmly – and walk away. If you stay in the room with her – you’re saying, “I’m willing to continue debating this.”
If your daughter responds with a backtalk remark – choose not to respond –that’s just what she wants you to do! Our kids are looking for a reaction. They use negative power behaviors and expect a power-response from you – that’s why they do it! When you get upset and respond with a “you WILL not talk to me that way, young lady”, they SCORE with a power payoff. Instead, get eye to eye and very CALMLY say, “I feel hurt when you speak to me that way. When I hear that tone of voice, I’m going to walk away. I’ll be happy to talk with you when we can speak to each other respectfully.” Then – WALK AWAY! The next time it happens – don’t remind – don’t say a word! Just CALMLY walk away. It sends the message, “I won’t participate in this power struggle with you.”
Question: My children have so many privileges that they just go to something else when they lose the video game or tv or Nintendo – they seem unfazed by consequences.
Answer: I hear this a lot from parents. My suggestion is to take a good, hard, honest to goodness look at the privileges your child enjoys compared with the family contributions and responsibilities he is expected to fulfill. (All kids – toddlers through teens should contribute in a meaningful way in the family. It’s part of how they develop their sense of personal significance.)
If the privileges and responsibilities are out of balance – it’s time to make a change. However, I caution against the “Okay, there’s a new sheriff in town and we’re ‘makin’ some changes around here” approach. You need a PLAN.
The plan is the process for correcting behavior that we discussed on the webinar:
- Address the child’s hard-wired need for belonging and significance
- Recognize how YOU contribute to the misbehavior/power struggles and choose to use different responses/strategies.
- Effectively use the “in the moment” or “behavior specific” strategies. The 5 R’s of an effective consequence is one strategy in the Positive Parenting Solutions Tool Box.
- Address the child’s long-term need for independence and self-sufficiency.
Unfortunately, we can’t cover all of that in a 1-hour webinar! However, I do encourage you to enroll in the Positive Parenting Solutions Online course. We cover ALL aspects of correcting behavior and give you the step-by-step plan to make it happen.
Question: Sibling Rivalry and Fighting: There were many questions related to sibling fighting, competition, jealousy and rivalry.
Answer: This is another topic that is much too broad for a 1-hour webinar as there are so many related factors and as many solutions that we provide!
The one caution I would give you is to avoid viewing one child as the “victim” and one as the “aggressor.” It is very common for parents to do this and its understandable – especially if the “victim” is younger or smaller. However, when we perceive one child to be the victim, you likely respond to her as the victim. Very quickly the roles of “victim” and “aggressor” can develop between your two kids and these roles can linger into adulthood.
The “victim” learns that she gets attention by being the victim. The “aggressor” learns to use power in negative ways. We want to focus on strategies that do NOT reinforce victim and aggressor roles.
There are a number of strategies to address sibling fighting – all of which are discussed in Session 5 of the online course. Begin by ignoring the fighting as much as possible. As long as they aren’t physically hurting each other – just stay out of it. Right now, they know that when one screams – mom/dad get involved. (Big payoff!) Every time we intervene in their fights, we rob them of the opportunity to work it out on their own.
You also want to train both kids on conflict resolutions skills. This is especially important if we’re going to ignore the fighting. We have to equip our kids to work it out since we’re no longer getting involved.
Note – there are times when we do have to get involved, (Again, the when and HOW are covered in detail in Session 5 of our online parenting class) but those times should be few and far between.
There is so much to learn about Sibling Rivalry – the root cause, how parents contribute, the 4 Sibling Rivalry Solutions and much more. I hope this gives you a place to start!
Thank you again for attending the webinar and thanks to Cyndy Ratliffe from Organizing Solutions, Inc. for hosting! You can learn more about Cyndy and Organizing Solutions at: www.OrganzingSolutions.biz.