No one wins when a parent and child become involved in a power struggle; most parents learn this lesson very quickly after engaging in a few heated battles with their children. At the end of a power struggle, all parties end up feeling battered and hostile and then regret engaging in the struggle in the first place (if they can even remember how it started). These struggles create distance, animosity, self-doubt and general emotional distress. Why is it then that we often go down this road where we, as parents, feel like we need to prove that we have the final say and control over our child? Power struggles with our children are damaging to everyone in the household and can have long-term effects on our relationship with our child as well as their own long-term development.
How can you maintain parental control without engaging in power struggles with your child? Unfortunately, there is not just one answer for every family and situation. However, many parenting experts have discussed this topic at length and there is a bevy of helpful literature available to parents as they navigate this challenge. A few of our suggested reads are listed below.