This is the companion piece to the paper Seven Steps to Heaven, which lays out a strategy to be used to find mutually agreeable, workable, long-term solutions to issues that can and generally do lead to power struggles.
But, what if you’re IN a power struggle right now? Well, you need some way right now of defusing the situation and preventing a full-blown Incident. Here you go:
- The first thing to do is identify what’s going on to the best of your ability. What do you think this is all about? Could someone get injured? Do you need to prevent someone from losing a finger or an eye or a life? Find out how critical this thing is. (Hint: It IS critical to your child, no matter what it is. If your child is getting red in the face, it’s important to him or her. Don’t minimize it, even if it seems minimizable to you.) If safety is a question, you will obviously have to do whatever you need to do to ensure everyone’s well-being. Now is probably not the time for exploring options and brainstorming. The time for that will come, but when your child is about to run out onto a 4-lane highway, talk is not what’s needed. A loud, sharp NO is entirely appropriate. But, keep reading. We’ve got more to discuss.
- Once you have eliminated safety concerns, if you’re really hot under the collar right now, you are not in any shape to help your child resolve this issue (and neither is your child, by the way, whose help you really need here). So, if you’re spitting nails, wanting to hit your child, about to say something that if it were said to you, you’d find hurtful, then you have to calm yourself down. If it is safe to, and if no one’s going to get hurt imminently, then ~ as kindly and lovingly as you possibly can ~ excuse yourself from the space. You’re doing this because you need to disperse the adrenaline that is coursing through your body right now. Adrenaline (the fight-or-flight hormone) is great for getting you out of life-or-death situations, like bestowing upon you the strength and speed to emergently pick up a Honda Civic that landed on your mechanic’s foot, flee a saber-toothed tiger ~ things like that. But, it can be very detrimental when you need to have a clear-thinking head for solving problems. Adrenaline is best dispersed by large muscle movements. So, a brisk walk or jog outside around the perimeter of the house, splitting a few pieces of firewood, kneading (or rather pounding) the dough for a loaf of bread you’re making, doing 10 or 15 jumping jacks ~ these are all useful activities to calm yourself down and get past the adrenaline effects. (Again, here’s a little extra credit: when you explain to your child what you’re doing and why, you demonstrate a very useful tool that he or she will be able to use when feeling too angry to problem-solve. In fact, perhaps the two of you could work on your respective adrenaline dispersion together, but make no attempt to work on the power struggle issue right now! Make absolutely certain you are both feeling calmer.)
- Now that you’re both feeling calmer, guess what? You can pull out your Seven Steps to Heaven paper and pick it up from Step 2. If you don’t have that paper, click here to sign up and get it!
I hope this is helpful to you. If you would like to talk more about power struggles, problem solving, and finding workable solutions to parenting issues and struggles, or if you have some other issue (whether parenting related or not) that you would like help solving, please contact me for a no-obligation, no-cost consultation session to see if we’d be a good fit, or even a no-obligation, no-cost sample coaching session so you can see how this thing works. Visit the main site at www.peacefulparentingwhisperer.com to learn more or you can call me at 845 – 657 – 3111 or you can send me an email at marji AT peacefulparentingwhisperer DOT com.