When children feel powerful from making little decisions about clothes, food, and friends, they're more willing to comply with the big decisions that are necessary for parents to make regarding values and safety. Each time a parent makes a decision for a child, it's important to consider, "Is this a decision the child could be making for himself?
Let the child decide. It can be as simple as asking Jimmy if he wants milk or juice for lunch, or as important as letting Jenny decide whether to take Spanish or French in school.
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If children have some say in decision making then they are more likely to be positively involved with that decision. In addition, once the child makes a decision, and then the child is responsible for the consequences of that decision. Whenever you can offer your child a choice, make sure the choice is one you can live with. For instance, parents don't let children decide where the family will spend their vacation.
Parents have too much interest and investment in this decision to allow children total control. Also, don't offer a child a choice when there isn't one.
If a child must take medicine, don't say, "Do you want to take your medicine? Turning too much power over to children equates to permissiveness. Children need parents who have enough interest and energy to set reasonable limits.
No matter how you work to avoid power struggles by turning power over to children gradually and by offering choices appropriate to their age and ability, many parents find themselves in power struggles from time to time. Because of the emotional link between parent and child, it's common for parents to get into power struggles with their children. Most parents know what a power struggle is.
It's when you're trying to get your child out the door in the morning, and your child refuses to get dressed. Power struggles occur when a child is determined to have her way, and the parent insists on hers. Both dig in their heels. Both are determined to win. In power struggles, there is always a strong element of emotion. It's an emotional battle over who's in control.
Usually when the struggle ends both parent and child are emotional and exhausted, and often the struggle persists day after day. The goal in any power struggle isn't for one to win over the other but for both to emerge winners. Parents find themselves in power struggles with their children because they care deeply for them. They usually don't get into power struggles because they maliciously want to dominate their child.
Most parents truly want what is best for their kids.
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Often for parents the root of power struggles is fear. Parents fear what will happen to their children if they let go of their control. A child might get hurt if he rides a bike to the neighborhood candy store. A child might fail in school if the parent doesn't see that his homework is completed each evening.
To resolve any power struggle, the parent must choose one option and take on a matter-of-fact attitude. If you're emotionally involved, that alone can keep the power struggle continuing. Remember it is extremely powerful for a child to be in control of his parent's emotions. Power struggles occur most frequently when parents want something done one certain way, their way.
Power struggles that go on and on can deteriorate the parent-child relationship. In addition, the paradox in power struggles is most interesting.
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Often when parents relax their control about sloppiness, schoolwork, eating habits and toileting, then the child miraculously becomes more easily influenced by the parent's wishes. Giving children power, choice and control builds responsibility, trust, and good will and sets them on the road to competence. Choices help children to solve problems, negotiate and compromise. Jan Faull, M. Without fear they just jump right to it.
They begin to explore the world and people around them using whatever capabilities they have at those young ages. More recent research has begun to show that infants, even very young infants, do store memories Peterson, and that most likely their memory capabilities are very similar to those of older children and adults See Rovee-Collier, How in the world do we know that infants have memories?
So, for example, kids at 2 months will remember something but for a much shorter amount of time than month-olds. How does she test something like this? This way, if the baby kicks his legs the mobile moves-teaching the baby that this movements can control the movement of the mobile.
Once the child has learned this the child leaves the lab setting for a period of time. If the child kicks when placed back in the crib more than he did prior to being attached to the original mobile a few days before the experimenter determines that the child remembers and is attempting to move the mobile by kicking his feet. So what does this mean for parents? Does it mean if you slip-up once and a you swear in front of your infant that she will remember forever and it will be the first word out of her mouth?
Luckily, probably not. But it does mean that infants and toddlers are remembering from experiences they have at very young ages. Since your infant is learning, imitating, and remembering, you can try to test them out at home too.
Bring out a novel, age-appropriate toy and demonstrate how to use it with your infant, put it away for a few days and bring it back out and see what she does with it. Faull, J. Berkley Books: NY. Peterson, C. Warren, K. Child Development, 82, Rovee-Collier, C. The Development of Infant Memory.
Current Directions in Psychological Science, 8, Filed under Infants.
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