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What are some ways to handle power struggles with my child in a gentle way?

Hi there,

I need some advice on how to handle power struggles with my child. My child is a strong-willed toddler who often has a will of their own. We frequently experience situations where my child doesn't want to do something, and I have to convince them to do it. The process sometimes involves a lot of resistance, tantrums, screaming, and even hitting. I'm worried that this constant battle might negatively affect our relationship and hinder my child's development.

Do you have any tips on how to handle power struggles with my child in a gentle way? I want to avoid punishment or authoritarianism, but I also don't want to spoil my child. How can I set healthy boundaries and encourage cooperation without creating unnecessary stress and tension? Any advice will be highly appreciated!

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As a father of a young child, I have also experienced power struggles with my little one. One technique that has worked positively for me is to validate their feelings by referring to their emotion instead of their behavior. This means that instead of saying "stop being difficult", I would say "I know you're feeling frustrated." This immediately shows that I understand their situation and encourages them to open up more easily.

Another effective strategy is to offer a choice between two acceptable options. For example, if my toddler does not want to eat vegetables, I would give him a choice between two different vegetables. This increases their sense of control, and since both options are acceptable, they do not feel like they have lost anything.

To avoid the build-up of resentment that can result in a power struggle, I try to limit my demands and approach my child with kindness and patience. Instead of raising my voice when they resist, which can escalate the situation, I try to keep calm and empathize with them.

Lastly, creating a routine helps give a sense of stability and predictability. A predictable routine not only reduces power struggles, but it also creates a sense of structure and helps the child anticipate the events of the day. This decreases anxiety and fosters cooperation.

To sum up, validating feelings, offering acceptable choices, reducing demands, approaching situations with kindness and patience, and maintaining a predictable routine can go a long way in reducing power struggles with children.


Hi there,

I completely understand your concern as I have a 3-year-old daughter who often engages in power struggles. What has been working for me is trying to avoid the power struggle in the first place. I try to give her choices or take her input on things she wants to do or eat. This has helped her feel like she has some control and, as a result, she is more likely to cooperate when I need her to.

Additionally, when there is a situation where I need her to do something, I try to explain why I need her to do it rather than just giving orders. This helps her feel heard and understood, which makes her more likely to cooperate. If that doesn't work, I try to give her a choice between doing what I need her to do or facing a natural consequence. For example, if she refuses to put on her shoes, I'll tell her we can't go outside until she does which usually helps motivate her to cooperate.

Lastly, it's important to remember to be patient and empathetic. Toddlers are still learning how to express their emotions and navigate their feelings. Sometimes it can feel like they are just being difficult, but often they just need a little extra support or understanding.

Hope this helps!



As a single mom of three energetic boys, I can relate to the struggle of power struggles with children. One technique that has worked well for our family is using positive language and encouragement. Instead of using negative language such as "don't do that" or "stop misbehaving", I try to use positive language such as "let's do this instead" or "you're doing such a great job".

I have also learned to pick my battles. It can be easy to engage in a power struggle over every little thing, but it's important to ask yourself if the issue at hand is really worth the fight. I have found that letting go of small disagreements has helped to reduce the number of power struggles in our household.

Furthermore, I often use play and humor as a way to diffuse power struggles. For example, if my son refuses to put on shoes, I'll pretend to be a silly monster who eats shoes and chase him around until he lets me put his shoes on.

Last but not least, I practice deep breathing and positive self-talk to stay calm during power struggles. When you're calm and centered, you're less likely to get triggered and respond with authoritarianism. I remind myself that it's just a moment in time, and it too shall pass.

In conclusion, power struggles with children are inevitable, but there are ways to handle them gently. Using positive language, picking your battles, using play and humor, and practicing self-care all help to create a peaceful and harmonious household.


Hello everyone,

I'm happy to share my experience and what has worked for me in handling power struggles with my children. One technique that has helped me is to use humor and silliness. When my kids are in a resistance mode, I'll often make funny faces or have a silly conversation to redirect their energy. This helps to break the tension and shift the mood back to a more positive one.

Another helpful strategy is to set clear expectations and consequences. My children know what behaviors are acceptable and what behaviors are not, and they also know the consequences of their actions. If they push the limits or engage in power struggles, they know that there will be consequences that are aligned with their actions.

Another technique that has been useful for me is to allow my children to express their feelings without fear of judgment or punishment. Sometimes, what may seem like resistance or power struggle behavior from a child can stem from them feeling unheard, uncared for, or feeling like they were not understood.

Lastly, I focus on being patient, understanding, and empathetic. As a parent, it can be hard not to get frustrated and a bit annoyed when your child does not want to cooperate with you, but it's important to remember that they're still learning and growing. When we show our children empathy, understanding, and patience, we help to create an environment where they feel valued and heard.

In conclusion, humor and silliness, setting clear expectations, allowing expression of feelings, and being patient, understanding, and empathetic are all useful tools in handling power struggles with children.


Hi there,

I am a father of two young children, and I completely understand the challenges of power struggles with kids. One technique that has worked well for me is to give my children a sense of ownership and responsibility. For example, I involve them in making decisions such as what to eat for dinner or what activities we should do for the day. This helps to reduce feelings of powerlessness, and they're less likely to resist when it comes to the things they had a say in.

Another great technique is to use positive reinforcement. When my kids do something well, I make a point of recognizing it and praising them for their effort. This helps to build their self-esteem and reinforce positive behavior, which in turn reduces the likelihood of power struggles.

Another powerful tool in reducing power struggles is empathy. I make an effort to actively listen to my children when they're upset or frustrated, and I try to understand their point of view. This way, I can validate their feelings and help them work through their emotions, which often results in a win-win situation.

Lastly, I focus on building a strong bond with my children. Children are more likely to comply with their parent's requests when they have a close and stable relationship with their parents. So, I make an effort to spend quality time with my kids doing things that they enjoy. This helps to build trust and foster cooperation, which makes for a happier and more peaceful household.

In summary, giving kids a sense of ownership, using positive reinforcement, showing empathy, and building a strong bond are all effective ways to reduce power struggles with children.


Hello everyone,

As a mother of two young children, I can definitely relate to power struggles. One strategy that has worked for me is to give my children some control over their routine. This can be anything from taking turns picking out which pyjamas to wear or which bedtime story to read. This helps to reduce resistance and creates a sense of independence.

Another technique is to try to diffuse power struggles with humor. Sometimes, when my children are resisting doing something, I'll start to act silly or make them laugh. For example, if my son doesn't want to brush his teeth, I'll pretend to be the tooth fairy and make a game out of it. This helps to redirect their negative energy and make them more willing to cooperate.

I also prioritize open communication with my children. Whenever there's a disagreement or resistance occurring, I ask them what's wrong and genuinely listen to their answers. This can help create a dialogue where we work together to find a solution rather than it becoming an immediate power struggle.

Lastly, I try to anticipate their needs and give them plenty of warning for transitions. For example, I'll give a five-minute warning that it's time to stop playing and start dinner. This helps to reduce surprise and make the children more willing to cooperate as they've had time to prepare for the impending transition.

Overall, by giving my children control over smaller aspects of their lives, using humor, promoting open communication, and anticipating needs, I've been able to reduce power struggles in my household.


Hi there,

I have a 5-year-old son who is also very strong-willed, and oftentimes we find ourselves in power struggles. As a parent, it can be frustrating to deal with such situations, and I have found that it can be really easy to snap and become authoritarian. However, I have realized that taking a gentler approach is more effective in the long run.

One thing that has worked for me is giving my son choices, but within limits. For example, I might say "Do you want to wear your blue shirt or your red shirt today?" This way, he feels like he has some control, but is also following a directive from me. It's a win-win.

When there is a disagreement, I try to listen to my son's side of the story and validate his feelings. I'll say things like "I understand that you're feeling upset" or "I can see why you might be frustrated." This makes him feel heard and reduces the chance of an escalating argument.

I also try to use positive reinforcement. When my son does something I want him to do without a power struggle, I make sure to praise him and tell him how happy it makes me feel. This encourages him to continue cooperating and decreases the likelihood of power struggles in the future.

In conclusion, dealing with power struggles with children can be challenging. However, I have found that a gentle approach works better than being authoritarian or punishing. Giving choices within limits, validating feelings, and using positive reinforcement are effective techniques to resolve these situations.



As a mother of two young children, I understand how challenging power struggles with young ones can be. One thing that has worked for me is setting clear expectations and sticking to them. I make sure to communicate the rules in a clear and concise way, so my children understand what is expected of them. This eliminates any confusion or room for negotiation.

Another helpful strategy is distraction. When my children start to resist, I try to redirect their attention with something fun or interesting. For example, if my son doesn't want to wear his jacket in cold weather, I'll challenge him to a race or tell him we're going to look for birds outside. This immediately takes his mind off the jacket and the power struggle ends.

I also try to choose my battles wisely. It's important to remember that not every little disagreement is worth a power struggle. For example, if my daughter insists on wearing mismatched socks, I allow it because it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. This way, I save my energy for the times when we truly need to work together.

Finally, I make sure to approach each situation with empathy and understanding. It's important to remember that young children are still learning and growing, and sometimes they just need a little extra patience and support. By taking a gentle approach, I am able to maintain a positive relationship with my children, while still setting boundaries and expectations.

I hope these tips help!

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