Power Struggles & Temper Tantrums


Ever felt provoked, defeated, or angry with one of your children?
Ever thought: Why does he have to be so difficult all of the time?

Ever said: “Oh yes, you will young man! That’s it, I’ve had it”?

If so, you’ve experienced a power struggle, and what an uncomfortable feeling it is. How can those little people make us so angry and wield so much power over us at the same time?

It’s easy, because we love them and we want so much for them to do the right thing. Nobody else’s children can do that to us.

Here are some tools to help with power struggles and temper tantrums:

  1. Stop fighting and stop giving in. Say, ‘I love you too much to fight. I’m not willing to discuss this while we are both upset.’
  2. Disengage. Wait until the storm has blown over and then find a calm time to discuss what happened and why.
  3. Find alternatives to ‘no’. Try saying “Yes, you may have that cookie after dinner.’ Instead of saying ‘No, you can’t have that cookie right now.”
  4. Negotiate. Work on a respectful, problem-solving approach before the situation gets out of hand.
  5. Give more responsibility to your child. Capable contributions such as helping to cut sandwiches are valued.
  6. Create a ‘feel better’ space with your children. Fill that space with cushions, books, a blankie, snack, quiet music and embrace a positive attitude about a Time-Out. Even if they refuse, model the behaviour and take a ‘feel better’ moment yourself.
  7. Use 10 words or less. One is best, such as: “Toys” (left on the floor) “Towels.” (dropped on the ground). “Homework” (still waiting to be done).
  8. Ask for help and cooperation. Say, ‘I can’t make you, but I really need your help”. Keep it under 10 words. Give a choice (that you can live with) and stick to it.

Look for some more tips next month.


Leave a Comment