One way some parents bypass those power struggles is by giving their child choices. No one likes to be ordered around all the time. When a child feels she has some say over what she does, she’s less likely to get into a power struggle.

Here are some tips on giving children choices and avoiding power struggles:

  • Be sure all the choices are things you can live with. If you’re not prepared to go out for a fast-food lunch, don’t give it as one of the choices.
  • Make sure the choices are acceptable to your child. “You can take out the trash or you can clean out the basement.”
  • If some things aren’t open to choice, make that clear. “You can do your homework now or after dinner. Of course, the rule is still that there’s no TV until homework is done.”
  • Once your child makes a choice, accept it with good grace.
  • Realize that it isn’t your job to make sure your child is happy all the time. Kids don’t always want to do their homework. They don’t always want to take out the trash.

Giving your child more choices may keep you out of power struggles. But your child still has to do the homework sometime.

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