• Ahh !! Power struggles .. I am a mother of 3.5 yr old and just today morning we had this power struggle. She was brushing her teeth. I asked her to rinse her mouth one more time and she thought what she had done was more than enough .. And it turned ugly !! Sigh …

    • Stephanie Sprenger

      It’s those little things, isn’t it? And it seems we always have power struggles over things that happen as we are getting ready for the day, or getting ready for bed, and I am always short on patience then. Sigh, is right!

  • Hi Stephanie… you have brought a vital issue out of the closet… it is a daily power struggle in every family. I guess the key is which battles to win and which to loose….Very interesting post.
    Thanks.

    • Stephanie Sprenger

      Thank you, I’m glad you thought so! Yes, picking your battles is key, and every family has their own particular brand of power struggles. It is universal in some ways, I think.

  • Every morning is a power struggle with my four-year old. When I tell him to rinse his mouth properly after brushing and he tells me twice is enough and won’t rinse his mouth a third time. When I tell him to go to the washroom first thing in the morning he will say I am still sleeping wait for a minute. It just gets too tiring and the result is that I get late for work.

    All in all, good read Stephanie and thanks for sharing it because it makes me aware that I am not the only mom trying to cope with these power struggles.

    • Stephanie Sprenger

      It is ALWAYS in the morning when we are already running late and I am frustrated!

      No, you are far from the only mom who experiences power struggles. One of the biggest challenges for parents, I think.

  • Laura Madson

    It was the “Thundering Three’s” at my house, too. And Ian HATES his spelling/writing/reading homework. His teacher made a brilliant suggestion that made a huge difference. Instead of writing the words on his own, we write them in highlighter and he traces over it. Over time, the solid highlighter lines will become dotted, then smaller, etc. I have no brilliant suggestions for math or any other power struggle other than keeping an eye out for a small, creative interventions that sometimes transform the situation.

    • Stephanie Sprenger

      That is such a great trick for writing, Laura! Fortunately Izzy is at a point where she likes reading, writing, and spelling a lot, but the math is rough. She is just like her mama in the way her brain works.

      Looking back, I have to say I think age 3 might be the most challenging.

  • My kids are 9, 5, 3 and 1. Power struggles are my middle names. One would think by now I’d be some kind of expert in this field but alas, no. It’s definitely about picking your battles. If I didn’t I’d have been sectioned a long time ago.

    • Stephanie Sprenger

      I keep waiting to think of myself as some sort of veteran expert. Guess I’m going to be waiting a long time…
      Thanks for reading!

  • chattywren

    I have ongoing battles with my kids and my husband is of the opinion that we are always fighting:) There are these lulls and come food or homework time, or even clearing up time and these can get triggered. Just go with it!

  • Teresa

    I am having power struggles with my daughter too. Or at least I was. Monday night I pulled out all the stops; sent her to sit on my bed until after dinner for her rudeness, then we made a chart of our responsibilities in the family: ours- provide her with food, clothing, shelter, love etc. hers – to take care of herself and her possessions, speak nicely to people, listen to our words the first time….etc. This was all before she was able to eat anything! I stressed the fact that playdates and buying her favorite foods were privileges, not rights. We have a much better behaved girl tonight! She has been so sweet and considerate!

    • Stephanie Sprenger

      That is such a helpful story- thank you for sharing something uplifting that worked for your family! It is wonderful to hear about things that work!

  • Yeah, I would love to offer some sage advice, but the truth is that I usually always flip out when my son starts his ‘challenging’ sessions!! I guess they just want to do things their way, on their own and independently. Ultimately, it is us who have to step back. Easier said than done, I know!

    • Stephanie Sprenger

      I have a tendency to “flip out” as well. It is easier said than done, but it seems that as soon as they notice they are getting a reaction from us, their behavior gets worse. Definitely better to step back!

  • Ahhhhh talk about Power Struggle, I have a two year old and when I read in your blog, two was fun and three years is when the actual ‘battle’ starts… I don’t even want to think about it. I guess I will have to take it as it comes.

    • Stephanie Sprenger

      Yes, take it as it comes, and remember that each child is different, and has their challenging phase at a different time. I used to hate it when my child was two and people would say, “Just wait until three!” Try to tune it out! 🙂

  • When they were babies, and just handling them was an achievement, you thought things will get better when they will grow bigger. So, well, parenting is a challenging job with the world’s best incentives 🙂

    • Stephanie Sprenger

      I know! Amazing how your perspective changes, isn’t it? I look back and think that the first year is the easiest part! But again, it all depends on the child, doesn’t it?

  • Hi Stephanie

    So glad someone wrote about this! Yes power struggles are rampant at all hours of the day in this house too, because there is exists a wilful little three year old in this house ! So far I’ve been able to come up with only one consistent way to allow me to brush his teeth and give him a bath. When the whining and feet stomping starts, I give in and just ask him to open his mouth , where to my shock and horror, there’s an elephant “stunck” in his teeth, a monkey sitting on his tongue and ohnoagiraffe hanging on his back!
    The animals first appeared a few months back , and he hasnt asked why the zoo animals come back every few hours, but I live in dread every morning, till he agrees that yes, the elephant, the monkey and the giraffe have to be shown the toothbrush , toungue cleaner and soap respectively 😉