Power Struggles Between Children
Power struggles between siblings are a normal part of a family. Kids want to be the best, the most loved and the one who gets the most attention from their parents. It becomes a problem when one child becomes more dominant than the other and essentially bullies the other child. As a parent, you will need to guide your children in learning how to handle these power struggles, and how to also defuse the situation if it gets too out of control. There are several tips to help you manage the power struggles between your children.
Both Kids Must Be Accountable for Their Behavior
When kids bicker, or try to put one another down to make themselves feel superior, the other child will fight back in words or actions. Very seldom it is a one way street, and often the two are equally responsible for the spat. Both children must suffer the same consequence. For example, both must go to bed a half hour early for having a disagreement. Keep them both accountable and treat both equally.
Set Up a Resolution Corner
If the back and forth power struggle goes on and on in the form of bickering or picking at each other incessantly, there needs to be an out of the way space for the kids to hash out their problems. If they have an issue, they have to take it to the resolution corner and stay there until it is worked out. This helps other family members from being drawn into the power struggle, and teaches the two to solve their issues. No child wants to have to stay in one place for long, so they will be forced to compromise and work things out.
Don’t Become a Referee
Don’t let your kids put you in the middle. After all, what each one is looking for is your approval and your love, and what better way to prove it than by you taking their side. Tell them that they are responsible for solving their squabble and let them learn how to arrive at a good conclusion. Set up consequences for their behavior and stick to it. Kids love boundaries and they both know deep down you love both equally.
Nip Jealousy in the Bud
Don’t make a big deal out of jealousy, because it’s normal, but try to deflect it. When one child is jealous of another’s ability to play the piano, point out the child’s strengths, by telling her how much you admire how good she is at cheerleading. Always spotlight each child’s good characteristics, and teach them the importance of being an individual.
Power plays are something most siblings go through and children can actually learn from them. They learn to problem solve, resolve conflicts, cherish sibling relationships, and learn that all children are loved equally in a family. Parents can help to guide their children through this rite of passage with support and teach their children good values.