Do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells? Never know what you’re going to say or do that will cause your child to erupt? Are you scared of saying no to your child? Do you feel like you’re constantly in a Power struggle? Most likely you are!
All children need autonomy (Power) a feeling of being in control. When facilitated properly your child’s need for Power is healthy and moves them to independence. Be sure to give positive ways of attaining power so that they will not fight for it.
Some ideas for increasing child’s autonomy for toddlers and preschool age kids:
Let child choose his/her own clothes
Let child to dress themselves
Let child choose their own breakfast
Let child pour their own juice/milk (when able to)
Allow child to be in charge of their personal toys/gifts
Offer choices whenever you can
For elementary school aged kids:
Give them private/personal space – a designated drawer or shelf
Ask permission to use their personal possessions
Allow them to pack their lunch/snacks
Let them choose dinner once in awhile
Give responsibilities and chores
Allow them to make their own decisions and learn from the consequence( if it does not break your values and is not dangerous)
Let them choose (what time do you want to do your homework? Before or after dinner?)
It is important to realize we can help empower our children without overpowering them. Children usually display their first need of power around the age of 2 and will typically require a boost in power at the age of 4,6,10 and throughout the teenage years. If they have not been empowered at the appropriate developmental stage they may be embroiled in fighting for that power long after the stage has passed. It is important not to get caught in power struggles, try to minimize by side-stepping the issue when possible or giving acceptable choices.