What is power?
Through the years, power has accumulated a much maligned reputation. It is associated with abuse, misuse and corruption. Practically speaking, though, power is simply our ability to affect change and to influence others. What gets us into trouble is when we confuse power with the ability to “make” others do something or not. That is not power, it is control.
Using your power effectively as a parent
Try not to measure success by your child’s compliance. If you have consequences that you can apply (rewards or punishments) you are playing the long game by building up your child’s experience of you as an authority figure.
Be consistent and fair. Use consequences that are logical and meaningful.
Don’t threaten anything that you are not willing to follow through on. Kids will not respect you if they do not see you as genuine or brave enough to follow through with consequences.
Model what you’d like your children to do. If you want respect, give respect. If you make a mistake, apologize.
Don’t be tricked into using spanking or physical force to gain compliance. Time after time, fear and physical punishment has been found to result in superficial compliance that disappears right after a parent leaves. We are looking for lessons that last a lifetime.
Kids need structure and discipline and they will very often hate it. If we build a strong consistent approach to discipline that is fair and logical, as well as build up a relationship of trust with our children we have the power to be a lifelong influence. We establish a framework for their experience that they will engage and utilize when we are there and when we are out of sight.
To learn more about power in families and how it fuels or stalls our parenting approach, come to our May 4th seminar “Who's in Charge Here?” or call (860) 431-0239 for more information!