Hard against hard is always going to result in some sort of explosion!
However hard and triggering it can feel when our children refuse to comply with our instructions – letting our frustration get the better of us and giving them ultimatums is always a sign that we feel powerless.
While some children back down when we threaten to take away TV rights for a week, cancel the birthday party or send them to bed an hour early – ultimately we lose their respect in us and their faith in us weaken.
And then there is the child, whose temperament just won’t allow them to back down when their dignity is at stake. The child who will fight till the bitter end – seemingly unfazed by the threats and desperate measures employed by bewildered parents.
These children teach us a great deal about the importance of remaining the ‘adult’ when emotions get heated. About finding our own stop button.
Out of fear of appearing weak and losing respect, many of us insist on having the last word in these situations.
But the fact is – when things get this heated – the child is no longer concerned about getting his/her own way. Simply to be allowed to save face and be shown a way out!
Hit the PAUSE BUTTON
By simply taking a deep breath. Composing yourself! Taking yourself out of the equation for a second if you need to in order to get hold of yourself – whatever comes next – will flow from a less reactionary place in you.
Try using fewer words – changing the language from ‘what you demand’ to ‘what you can see’:
‘I can see you are so angry… / mad / frustrated’.
Was it when I said.. x..
And if you can – and if your child allows you to – offer to sit with them – with body language that feels like you are there to help. Not to judge or contradict or teach.
The more we can BE with our children’s disappointment or point of view – while staying true to our decision and our own truth – the easier it becomes for them to accept a no or a boundary.
My experience tells me that this takes time. Time to practice. Because our own reactions and trigger points are so deeply rooted in us from our own upbringing.
But the real reason most of us struggle to resolve these conflicts in ways that feel respectful and loving – is because we struggle with what to do instead.
My ‘Raising a strong-willed child‘ workshop is designed with you in mind. Because I know that these power struggles erode your confidence and the connection you share with your child. And it need not be this way. I promise.