Handling Strong Willed Children Without The Power Struggle.

Here you are, getting ready to leave for work when your 5-year old decides that she doesn’t want to go to daycare that morning. Or you’ve just prepared your toddler his favorite cereal only to have him throw it on the floor and hear him scream “I hate this! It’s yucky!”

This kind of behavior can be hard to deal with in a way that won’t diminish our children’s self-esteem or push us over the edge, feeling we’re about to lose it.

Lots of parents feel intimidated by their strong willed children especially if the children don’t live with them on a regular basis.

Feelings of guilt and shame tend to influence their parenting style. With more and more families being dual income households, separated or divorced, parents hesitate to actually enforce guideline of conduct with children, therefor giving way too much power to the youngsters who don’t know how to handle it.

Feelings of exhaustions and overwhelm doesn’t help make good parenting decisions either. We often spend a lot of time and money learning skills that will help us in our work, improve ourselves in sports and even in our hobbies. But when it comes to learning and improving parenting skills, they don’t seem to have enough money, time or energy.

Raising respectful and responsible children doesn’t have to be overwhelming and all consuming.

We ask ourselves “What is wrong with these kids that they’re behaving so badly?” Then we start to blame the other parent’s parenting skill, their genes, the school, the environment, whatever happens to be available. It would be nice to blame all our problems on genetics, the environment and even other people but unfortunately that wouldn’t change much.

Children need and thrive best when they understand what they are supposed to do with very clear and defined guidelines. Today’s generation is one where options are almost endless. Have you been to Starbucks lately to order a coffee? There is no such thing as a plain coffee. You can now get shade grown, fair trade, handpicked, etc. Then we go into the designer coffees. That’s enough to make your head spin. It takes forever to order coffee now. So imagine our children, being offered so many options they have no clue where to start.

We’re asking little ones to make decisions like adults, to analyze, evaluate and decide in a matter of seconds issues that adults sometimes take for granted. You’re thinking that it couldn’t be that hard to decide among the 101 food items that you offer them for breakfast or the vast array of clothing that busts out of their wardrobe and still feel on top of the world. Children have a lot more difficulty dealing with having too many choices. They easily get worked up, fearing of making a mistake if they make the wrong choice. And this is even truer for teens.

So what do you do as a parent?

Not knowing what to do when certain things happen is often a common feeling among parents and especially stepparents that come into the lives of children that already have a patterned.

Tips from experts in the Love and Logic program recommend that parents learn to stay calm when kids act up. If there is no audience, then the children soon stop what they are doing.

Like anything we do, it takes practice, dedication and determination to achieve success. Remember the first time you used a new computer program or a new phone? You didn’t intuitively excel at it did you. You needed to get information, read up on it and practice. Sometimes we do things so automatically that we forget that we had to take the time to learn about it in order to feel comfortable.

Claudette Chenevert, known as “The Stepmom Coach” provides advice, support and guidance to those women who are entering the “Instant Family” realm, feeling overwhelmed, misunderstood and isolated.

Claudette became a Master Certified Stepfamily Foundation Coach when she realized that too many women weren’t getting enough help and support. In 1990, Claudette became a stepmom to two stepdaughters. She is also a mother to a grown son and grandmother of seven.

When she is not speaking to women’s groups, or conducting many of her free webinars, she offers group and one-on-one coaching to women around the world. She is also a contributing writer for Stepmom Magazine. Claudette is an active participant on many Facebook groups and has her fan page at https://www.facebook.com/ClaudetteChenevert.StepmomCoach .

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