Saturday, August 25, 2012

20 Toddler Tips in 20 days... watch for the daily posts! Today: POWER STRUGGLES

Some Toddler Survival Tips.

I have decided that sometimes articles are too long with too much information and as busy parents, we don't have time to read tons of information each day. I am doing 1 tip each day to help families with "toddler tear downs". Whether your problem be revengeful kids or attention seekers; I will try to give you a tip for each one to help you cope. 
Today's tip is:

1. How to Avoid Power Struggles

When you and your child are struggling for power, what is actually happening is your child is trying to find a sense of autonomy. A sense of self reliance and independence. He wants to know he is important, he can do things, he can problem solve and you can help.

Your job is to HELP him do this. Toddlers are not out to 'get back at you' or 'push your buttons' even though it may feel like that at times.

You'll know when your in a power struggle because you will begin to feel attacked, threatened, angry or embarrassed. Usually you will throw out an ultimatum at this point and feel horrible doing it.

When going through a power struggle your child may be displaying temper tantrums, crying, arrogant voice and body language while talking back or shouting NO!. The child when asked to stop will continue to misbehave giving the parent the message to engage in a power struggle.

The alternative tip:

Help your toddler exchange this misguided goal for a healthy one.

First it is helpful to label what they may be feeling such as, " I can see that you want to ______ but mommy is making this decision today." "I can see that this is difficult for you, and we must get it done together, what can you do to help?" "Your fists are clenched and your yelling, are you angry?" Labeling feelings helps the child know you understand how they feel; increasing trust.

CHOICES: Offer ideas and choices. Two POSITIVE choices. Not your choice or else.
You can put your blocks away while acting like a robot or you can be a basketball player and toss them in this bin. We are going to grandma's and mommy has her shoes on. What do you need to get so we can go?

Toddlers LOVE to be right, to help, to be in control. Give them jobs when they are not acting out to full fill this need. Let them get their own cutlery, shoes, help you cook, toys, garden with you, build together, etc.

A healthy goal is to be independent and get dressed on their own, brush their own teeth, make their own beds, put toys away, read books, cook with you and more. Find a goal that helps them feel independent, important and self reliant.

Check in tomorrow for another toddler tip!

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