Dealing with Power Struggle at Home

11:39 AM

It is inevitable. Parents and children will find themselves locked in a power struggle from the simplest to the most complicated issues at home. The good news is that there are positive ways to deal with these situations that can result to a win-win scenario.



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One Family, One Thinking?

I think not. Being in the same family does not mean everyone will agree with each other all the time. We must remember that a family is composed of unique individuals with their respective points of view. Age and home roles generally dictate how family members behave.

Thus parents, having the role of primary caretakers of their children assume the more authoritative part while the children are expected to take the obedient follower's role. While this arrangement would work especially during the years when children are fully dependent on their parents, reality says that it will not always be this way. As children grow up, they test the limits of their independence, not specifically as an offensive move against their parents, but as a natural course of life.

So Who's the Boss?

Studies show that children start to exhibit independence at the age of two. By some unexpected twist of events, parents may find themselves "controlled" by their children's tantrums, demands, and seemingly unbelievable persistence in doing the opposite of what is requested. This may result to parental reaction that can range from surrender to all-out show of who's in charge.

Of course, neither of these extreme scenarios will be beneficial for the family. How on earth can a home function properly when parents let their children "rule" completely? On the other hand, if parents become the dictator, the perfect recipe for rebellion is brewed.

Dealing with Power Struggle

Most parents think that they can easily handle family matters by exercising their parental authority but this will not always be the case. When children are talking back or outrightly disobeying, parents' tempers can fly, resulting to words and actions that will be regretted later. Many families part ways with members carrying the memories of these unfortunate incidents with them all throughout their lives. 

Parents being the more responsible party (with exceptions) are expected to deal with power struggle with a win-win solution. In a family, the "defeat" of one by another is not the goal. This is where parents need to channel all their inner strengths to summon patience, understanding, and resourcefulness.

Depending on the situation, parents may alternately bring down the gavel or handle with kids' gloves. Sometimes it might be necessary to accept a middle ground. Whatever the choice should always be for the greater good of the family. A "no" coming from the children need not be disrespectful. Neither should a "no" coming from a parent always mean a punishment.

My Say

My temper button is almost always triggered when my children answer in a manner that I interpret as disrespectful or somewhat challenges my parental authority. I used the word interpret because I've learned through my years of parenting that things are not always what it seemed to be in my view. There is always the other side which is my children's view.

That said, I have lost my temper many times over trivial things because I was tired or simply not receptive of my children's views. While there were several instances of power struggle happening at home, I am starting to understand that not every instance should be a declaration of battle. Rather, families should see it as an invitation to talk to understand each other more. Of what value is gaining the upper hand in a family battle if we end up alienating the people we love?

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