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Greetings from Power Struggles Headquarters...

I have 3 children and I am a control freak, so I am a mom with a lot of power struggles on my hands. I can recommend a few things:

1. A good book is "Positive Discipline for Preschoolers" by Jane Nelson (ignore the stuff about sleeping). An even better book is "Kids, Parents and Power Struggles" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. Both of them give you little exercises to work on to see what sorts of personalities you and your tyke have and they help you pinpoint the areas in which you will clash.

2. If you ask yourself "Is this harmful? To whom?" before you say anything, you will save yourself a lot of wasted energy and heartache. Wearing pj's almost anywhere is not harmful. Waiting until you are cold until you put on your coat is not harmful (if you want her to wear the coat, you take the coat... get a bigger backpack...) Not washing your hands after you've used the bathroom has enough potential to be harmful that you have to be really strict. Nothing happens until the hands are washed. No stories, no TV, no lunch, no outings, nothing. You want to be the mom who says very little, but who means everything she says.

3. I agree with the mom who posted saying that the less picky she is with her kids, the easier they are to get along with (edited to add: Liz, I should have known it was you!) It is a hard lesson to learn, and I can say that I have had to learn and re-learn it many times, but it is always true that you have to pick your battles.
 
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