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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Power struggles...kid style

What would parenting be without the occasional power struggle with children?...a LOT more pleasant, that's for sure!  Unfortunately, it's wishful thinking if you think you're going to get though raising children without having them test their boundaries.  What IS surprising is how early that can start.
The blur is intentional...he's in perpetual motion!

To be honest, a baby or toddler is not trying to usurp power from you when he refuses to go to bed or refuses to eat.  But the way you handle it will set a precedent for future interactions.  A calm, gentle but firm response is always the best way to deal with a battle of the wills with kids of any age.

Two year old Andy has become a picky eater.  He's a healthy little boy, energetic and rarely sick.  His mommy is frustrated by his new refusal to eat the food he's served at meals.  Looking closer though, he is a "grazer"...eats little bits throughout the day.  Also, the food he DOES eat is healthy and nutritious.  Is Andy getting enough to eat?  Yes.  Does his eating pattern conform with his parent's expectations?  No.  So, the parents can either accept that he's getting enough to eat and live with it or stop letting him graze and wean him towards a more scheduled eating schedule with the rest of the family.  The WORST thing this mother could do is make a big deal of it.  That will only escalate the conflict between Mommy and Andy and set the tone for later food battles.  Not worth it.

When parents set reasonable rules and expectations for their children, the children know what to expect and what happens when that "rule" is tested.  Hopefully, NOT a power struggle but a gentle reminder and firm stand.  Will you be tested again?  Most likely yes.  Your children are constantly changing as they grow so they will be constantly testing boundaries and rules.  Maybe not the SAME rules all the time, but they'll find new ones to try out.  :)

Keeps a Mom on her toes!


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