There’s a difference between a power struggle and childish disobedience.
Not all disobedience is about power. Sometimes kids just want a cookie so they try to sneak one behind your back. But other times they set out to disobey just to test the limits. When that happens it’s critical that you stand firm on your rules until they comply.
Here’s why: at its core a power struggle is a search for security and comfort. When children refuse to obey what they’re really saying is, “I don’t feel safe right now. I need to know that someone is watching out for me.” What feels like a grab for power may actually be a longing to feel loved and protected. When parents understand that basic principle it makes all the difference in how they react. That’s why effective parents are always strong and loving in a battle of wills.
For more on raising secure and obedient kids, click on the Focus on the Family website www.families.org.au