Rather it is our spouse, children, family, or friends, we all have been in a power struggle at one time or another.  This gridlocked situation can be frustrating, maddening, overwhelming, or just plain irrritating.  Below is a few tips to stand still instead of being pulled in different directions with your children:

1.  Use controlled choices.  Pick two choices that your kids can pick from and that you can live with.  Examples:

  • “You can cooperate or go to your room.”  They can choose to tell you to screw off in their own way or be uncooperative.  No problem, they chose to go to their room.
  • “You can have milk or water.” If you child won’t choose from the choices, your response is “Either you can make the decision or I can, it is up to you.”
  • “You can hold my hand or the stroller in the parking lot.”
  • “Would you like to put the blue car or the red car away first?”
2. When/Then or If Then When.  You have your child do the thing you want and then they will get something they want.  Examples:
  • If you can keep your pants dry this morning, then we can go to park.
  • When you finish your homework, you will be able to watch TV.
  • We can talk about a friend coming over, when you have finished your chores.
3.  Follow through the first or second time (depending on age and your comfort level).  I don’t know about you, but once I stated the options more than two times, my voices starts to raise and I am no longer as calm as I would prefer to be.  Options are stated, with a possible reminder, and then action happens.