You have an important office party to attend and your four – year old refuses to go unless she’d allowed to wear her dirty – old shirt and a skirt that is stained. The expensive pretty pink party dress you bought is now lying on the floor in a heap. You are running late yet she has her feet firmly glued to the ground. She isn’t budging to your threats, blackmails or even pleads. Your most powerful weapon of “If you don’t wear this, I will call your dad” isn’t working too.
You feel your anger churning in the body and you now wish to show “Who – is – the – real – boss- here”.
You raise your voice asking her to get into the dress ‘immediately’. She cries and falls on the ground. You hold her tightly in way that says, “You – can’t – get – away- with – this. You – got – to – do – as – I – say”. She cries louder, stomps and throws the dress on the floor.
An hour later:
The stomping has stopped, there is silence – Your four year old has won the battle. She goes to the party with her dirty shirt and skirt. Probably even shamed or /and wacked on the bottom for the scene.
You are left feeling helpless, defeated, miserable and probably shameful as well.
Such battles with kids are inevitable and natural most of the times. Fundamentally, these battles are caused when there is a clash between the wills, it’s either this or that, your way or the highway, it’s now or never. That’s it!
Whoever wins feels POWERFUL and the other feels HELPLESS or POWERLESS. Like adults, kids too have an ego. They operate from an instinctive egocentric place which makes them fanatical about “Winning” and Use of POWER. Its just the way we are!
How would it be, if such conflicts are not about winning or losing? Not about who is controlling or who is more powerful? Not about “You – are – stubborn – I – am – more”.
What the situation demands is for either of the parties to use their ability to “Let go” and operate from a place of, “I respect your desire, let’s see how we can both work this out”. It’s obvious that a parent needs to make that move.
Let’s look at this battle in a different way:
Such moments can be a valuable time to use negotiation and teach the art of compromising. Your four – year old can be taught, ‘Let’s find a solution that works for both of us”. It’s not about me or you, it’s about us and this is how we collaborate.
Solutions such as:
Many times parents loose on the timeless moments to learn – teach – exchange life lessons. Lessons that teach your child, “Yes, You can express your desire, and you won’t be ridiculed for it. We are a family, and we are in together. We need to accept and respect another’s will. We listen and work out solutions – together”