Wait, what happened!
This tiny little human has a mind of its own!
And very soon the battles begin….
“You love your child and value your child’s progress. That’s wonderful and important. And I know that sometimes its easy to get single-mindedly caught up in achieving a particular milestone with your child. In your pursuit of your child’s progress, though, it is essential to temporarily relinquish any goal as soon as it causes a control battle with your child. In fact, control battles are one of the most disabling dealings you can have with your child. You want to avoid them whenever possible (except when safety is involved, of course.)” (Kaufman pg.133)
“WAIT! STOP RIGHT THERE! I’M THE BOSS AND IF I GIVE IN WHEN MY CHILD WANTS HIS OWN WAY AND TURNS TO MONSTER MODE, I RELINQUISH MY AUTHORITY AND CONTROL AS A PARENT! THAT IS NOT ONLY SCARY, BUT IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! “
But what you do not understand is that when you are controlling you GIVE UP your control automatically anyway.
Think about this…in your own life:
“When people…are in the throes of an experience where they don’t have control, don’t have understanding, and have too much input to process, [as all humans feel] they react in very particular ways. They put everything they have into gaining a sense of control. They seek out situations where they can exert their own autonomy, rather than having their experience dictated to them. And they powerfully resist any efforts to impose control upon them.” pg. 134
It is amazing that children have an innate fighting instinct to recognize when they feel threatened and out of control in a given situation and FIGHT to regain it no matter how big and powerful the opponent is. Even when we are taking about a tiny being who may not walk or even talk yet, and do not have a mature understanding of what they are doing.
“Think of a rope with a knot in it. I am holding fast to one end and you to the other. The harder you pull, the tighter the knot gets—’cause I ain’t letting go. You can never release the knot by pulling harder. The only way to release the knot is to let the rope go so that there is enough slack in it for the knot to loosen.”
“The key to understand is this: if you want your child to be less controlling (and thus more flexible and able to learn more, grow more, and ultimately achieve more goals), you have to give your child as much control as possible.”
“Most people’s first response when dealing with a controlling child is to try to “break” the child of his controlling behavior by wresting [forcing] control back from him.
Example: “YOU WILL EAT THIS OR ELSE! SIT THERE UNTIL IT IS ALL EATEN! I DON’T CARE IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT!” (And the child sits there and won’t eat…because you forced them to sit there.)
“Some of you might think: To function in the world, my child has to get used to doing things the right way, so I have to get him to do this particular thing the correct way now.”
“For others of you, the situation may be more in-the-moment pragmatic. You might think: I just have to get my child to brush his teeth (for example), and we’ll be done. I know he’s fighting me now, but soon it will be over, and it will be worth it because he’ll have clean teeth.”
“If either of these scenarios resonates with you, it’s not only normal, it is totally understandable. You love your child,….but you have a million things you are juggling at once, and sometimes you may just be trying to get through your day.”
The problem is that going down this road with your child will end up being highly counterproductive. Asserting control over someone who is controlling leads to the person becoming more controlling, not less. You see, when your child’s control is challenged, he will feel compelled to dig his heels in and fight to reestablish control and personal autonomy.
But you see what happens is that “as you address the issue…you compromise interaction and learning long-term because you get a child who is not only more controlling but also associates learning or doing something that you want with coercion and unpleasantness.” pg. 136
The interaction between you and your child in this situation now loses harmony and the action you are both trying to control becomes contentious and negative. And when it happens over and over the control anger-meter rises, creating negative energy and unproductive growth.
Oh they can be forced because you are bigger and stronger. But you will teach them by fear not trust and your actions will give them a very loud message. That they do not have control. Then other symptoms will appear…
refusing even if they want something
This is not about allowing your child free reign without boundaries. This is not about not having them brush their teeth or sit at the table to eat. But it is about learning how to evaluate yourself as an adult and as a parent and to be the one who raises the white flag when the battle begins, because you are the more wiser of the opponents. It is about being attentive to why your child is trying to be in control because it is usually about being afraid, not understanding, not developmentally ready, or simply wanting more time. They are not trying to oppose you just to make you mad. They are telling you messages constantly with and without their words. Listen, look, empathize and give in or shape a situation to dissolve impending battles. Battles are counter productive in childhood.
I promise you…
you will get better eaters-
better and kinder players-
potty trained children-
children who do not bully or withdraw-
a happier family atmosphere-
children who feel safe to grow and make decisions-
Don’t take my words or the words from the book quotes…
Try it and see for yourself….
Your life will change but mostly the life of your child who wants to feel she has control of her life too.
Raun K. Kaufmans. (2014)...The Groundbreaking Method that has Helped Families All Over the World. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.