Pull the Plug on Power Struggles

Ending the power struggles between you and your teenager, or any child is in your power! Yes, you the parent control arguments in your home. Isn’t that glorious news? You have conflict relief at your fingertips. As John would say, you can defang your teen and tweenager! What is the amazing defanging procedure? Read on.
First, realize that you do not have an argumentative child. Arguments do not originate with your child. I know. I can hear you scoff, I know I did, but it is true. As with most things, we need a mindset change. Change your mind about the origin of arguments in your home. The origin is you, mom and dad. Isn’t that great? It means you are in control of this conflict, not your child. Repeat to yourself: “I am completely responsible for these arguments. My child has nothing to do with them whatsoever. He is only taking advantage of the opportunity which I continue to extend.” What this means is that you are in complete control of whether or not arguments take place. You can stop them, and permanently so, whenever you decide to do so! Is that not fantastic news?
What’s the secret weapon? “Give’m the last word.” That’s right. We all want the last word in an argument. Your child is no different, so give it to them. The fact that adults generally refuse to let their child have the last word causes nothing but trouble. It leaves the door open for the argument to continue. John says “pull the plug on the power struggle.” Let go of your desire to have the last word.
We all know that the power struggle begins when you make a decision your child doesn’t like. So, let them express their disdain for your decision, but do not go into an explanation concerning your decision and do not get angry. With your calm alpha speech say something like “if I was your age, I wouldn’t agree with me either, but I have made my decision. Right now you are angry, and I don’t blame you, but anger and good communication don’t mix. When you calm down, if you want to talk, I’ll talk. Not argue, but talk. Meanwhile, the decision stands, and I trust that you will abide by it, whether you agree with it or not.” Now your child may endeavor to talk about it later, get upset again and again, so let them have the last word each time, and walk away suggesting that they try again later. Remember, they approach you to talk, you don’t approach them. Do they display a nasty attitude? So what? You have made your decision,and it will not change. You are in authority. 
End the power struggles. Defang your children. How? you say. By letting them have the last word. Don’t play “Who Gets the Last Word” with your children. You lose respect in their eyes every time you play the game. Instead of “Who Gets the Last Word” play “Pull the Plug on the Power Struggle.” Your entire family will be glad you did. 
Cyndy ShoemakerCertified Leadership Parenting Coach


  • This makes a lot of sense – and is so true in my family with my 10 year old little girl who is going on 15

    She hears my husband and I argue or disagree – so she and the other 2 think that they can start arguments as well

    I have learned something valuable today – thank you

    • Gail, thank you for sharing! I’m glad the article was helpful. Modeling the behavior I want to see in my children is always the goal.
      Easy says, hard does.
      Sometimes when my kids were disrespectful in their speech to me, I calmly said, “I did not deserve that,“ and I walked away. It will leave them speechless. It works with husbands too!

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