One of the best ways to avoid power struggles is to allow others to have the last word. Though difficult to do, it is an effective strategy – especially when dealing with your own children. I have always struggled to practice what I preach with regard to this one, as I have felt as though I was letting my son win by not responding. However, as my wife has reminded me on numerous occasions, sometimes you have to lose a battle in order to win the war.
Behavioral choices can be addressed at a later time when you and your child are both calm. “It’s okay to be angry. I get upset, too. It’s not okay to say, ‘you’re stupid’ or ‘I hate you’. What’s a better way to show me you’re upset?” This neutral time is also best for discussing consequences. When you choose not to clean your room, you’re choosing not to watch that show. However, calm conversations and teachable moments will always strengthen positive behaviors faster than any consequence. Did I mention how important this strategy is when dealing with teenagers? Critical.