Almost all parents have dealt with the dreaded power struggle in the past. Mom or dad is trying to prove they are in charge and the child is determined to prove otherwise. In this post I will discuss one simple method that can work wonders in diffusing such power struggles before they begin.
The A.C.T. Method (Acknowledging Feelings, Communicating Limits, and Targeting Two Choices) can work wonders if parents use it consistently. Power struggles generally involve anger, on the part of both parent and child. Parents should start by acknowledging the feeling (anger). This is done by stating clearly that you understand that the child is angry about (blank). The next step is to Communicate Limits. Do this by clearly stating the rule that was broken, i.e. "The rule in our home is that you can't eat candy after you brush your teeth for bed." The final step, and perhaps the most important in terms of diffusing the power struggle, is to Target Two Choices for the child. An example of this would be "It is not ok to eat candy after you brush your teeth before bed. Would you like to wait until tomorrow to eat the candy or eat an apple now instead?"
While this method may sound simple, if done consistently it can work wonders to stop many power struggles before they get out of control. As always, I want to stress the importance of using this technique consistently. All forms of effective discipline must be used consistently if parents hope to see significant results. I would greatly appreciate any feedback from parents. Let me know how it works and hopefully it can help make your house a more peaceful place!