Shift the Power Struggle Paradigm
Remembering two simple but very important sentences is the key to avoiding power struggles in the first instance.
“We cannot control someone else.” “All we can do is control ourselves and our environment.”
This may seem obvious on the surface, but it is incredibly difficult to do in reality. Wants “control” of our children and spouses. If they would only do what I ask, everything would be so much easier around here!
We are all hardwired to need free will and personal power. We can’t make our children study, eat broccoli, or sleep for 10 hours. These things are not under our control.
We can’t force our partner to turn off the lights, clean out the sink, or want more sex. It is not up to us. We have a battle of power when we try to force our will upon another person.
Nobody wants to be told when, what, or how to act. This is a surefire way to start a fight. As soon as we start directing, correcting, and ordering our children or spouses, the fight-or-flight response kicks into gear. Most of the time, they do not flee. Instead, they fight back. Human nature is to fight back.
We have to accept that our control over another person is not possible. The good news is we can control our reactions to whining and tantrums. We can also decide how we will respond when we are not being listened to or if we engage in backtalk. We can choose to engage in the power struggle, or we can disengage.
We can control our environment by improving routines, logical and natural consequences, and training.
Action item: I encourage you to examine the power struggles that you have in your relationships. Ask yourself …” Do I try to control?
It’s not easy to change the paradigm of power struggles, but it’s necessary if you want to avoid them and encourage open communication and cooperation with those you love. Positive Parenting Solutions Online can help.