You Can Do It

Let Go of the Desire to Win Every Power Struggle

Sometimes it seems like we just can’t help it.  We have to be right.  And we need our kids to know that we are right.  And what this can lead to is the phenomenon of perpetual power struggles.  We’re only trying to do what’s best for them, right?  We only want them to grow up knowing how to do things right and knowing the difference between growing up with “good” parents and growing up without them.  We just want to have the upper hand because isn’t that what parents are supposed to do?  Have the upper hand?  It’s uncomfortable to not feel in control or to feel that our children are out of control.  But it’s very important that we learn now—sooner than later since our children are still young—to let go of the desire we feel to win every power struggle that we face with our children.  It is not necessary to win every fight.  To be parental at every turn.  It’s okay to loosen the reigns a bit.  Meaning that we need to prioritize our priorities.  Yeah, we can’t stand when our first grader wants their sleeves to cover their hands (for example!).  But is this where we want to spend our energy?  Suggesting and/or offering to roll up their sleeves once is enough.  If our children choose not to go that direction, then this sort of thing can be let go.  It doesn’t endanger them, it doesn’t hurt them, it doesn’t hold them back, it doesn’t push them too hard before they are ready.  It’s just one of those things that are truly trivial compared to other areas where our energy is better spent.  Safety first.  Respect self and others (sure, the sleeve thing can be seen as a reflection of self-respect, but they’ll catch on over time).  Be responsible.  The Big Three (safety, respect, and responsibility) can steer us to better ground on which to fight the fights that are worth our energy.  All the other stuff can fall for now.  We are better parents for being able to differentiate between the main stuff and the fluff stuff.