Power Struggles with Children

Is your home a battle zone of power struggles, manipulation and fighting? Empowering Parents give you real advice from experts who've been in the trenches with kids and know how to stop power struggles before they start. Articles and advice on kids, parents and power struggles.

Teen Temper Tantrums: 3 Steps to Stop the Screaming

You thought “The Terrible Twos” were bad. Now you’re dealing with “The Terrible Thirteens,” and it’s just as bad, if not worse. When you ask your child to help around the house, inquire about school or say no to something they want to do, your teen explodes. When she was two, she cried, kicked and screamed on the floor. At 13, she’s yelling, slamming doors, storming out of the house and screaming, “You can’t control me!” Read More

The Strengths of the Oppositional Defiant Child

Do you have an ODD child or teen who constantly argues and fights your authority, refusing to follow the rules of your home? When the number for his school shows up on your caller identification, do you cringe in fear of what trouble he’s in now? When you have an oppositional, defiant child, it’s painful to read the seemingly endless Facebook statuses of proud parents beaming about how wonderful their child is. One mom recently shared with us, “I’m happy for my friends that they seem to have such great family lives. But it’s hard to see posts about their kids getting straight A’s, when my son swears at me every night about his homework.” Read More

Ask Once and Your Kid Does It: 5 Ways to Make it Happen

A few weeks ago, on the Empowering Parents Facebook page we asked parents to share the one day-to-day thing they find most frustrating about their kids.  The overwhelming answer? “I have to tell my kid five times to do the simplest thing! Every single day, it’s a battle. I want to tell him once and have him march off and do it! It would make everyone’s lives so much easier.” Read More

Negotiating with Kids: When You Should and Shouldn’t

Does it seem like every time you tell your child “No,” it turns into a tug-of-war? One mom shared with us recently, “Absolutely everything’s an argument with my son. Even the simplest request. He just can’t take no for an answer. It’s so frustrating!”  Many parents find themselves in a negotiation with their children when they are met with any kind of resistance. Negotiating is an important life skill. By definition, it means coming to an agreement through discussion. It’s about finding a middle or common ground.  But negotiation can also mean to get over or around something, such as negotiating the vacuum around the furniture. When it comes to children, they often try to negotiate “around” us to get the result they want. Read More

Is Your Child Responsible Enough to be Home Alone? Dos and Don'ts for Parents

Many parents are at a loss for what to do with their older children during the summer months – they may get the summer off, but you probably don’t. That leaves a whole chunk of time to fill each day. How do you know if your child is responsible enough to be left home alone? What if you know he isn’t, but he won’t stop begging to be in charge of his own schedule this summer? Read More

Inside Your Teen's Brain: 7 Things Your Teenager Really Wants You to Know

Have you ever wondered what’s going on inside of your teenager’s head? What was she thinking when she made that choice? Why won’t he listen to what I’m telling him? It can seem as if an adolescent is completely wrapped up in a separate world, feet planted firmly in the air instead of on the ground.  As parents, we often come away bewildered or frustrated when our teen’s perspective seems so utterly different from our own. Read More

Disrespectful Kids: How to Get Your Child or Teen to Behave with Respect

We all know that kids can act in many disrespectful and rude ways to parents: they can slam doors, roll their eyes, and tell you they hate you, to name a few. It’s natural to get very worried and frustrated and wonder if these types of behaviors constitute out-and-out abuse, or just “rudeness and mild disrespect.” How can a parent know when these rebellious and rude behaviors have crossed over a boundary and gone way too far? Read More

Life Lessons for Kids and Teens: 5 Skills Every Child Needs to Learn

When my son received his GED this year, I put together a small scrapbook for him with photos, quotes, and cards from his friends. I also considered the life skills he’s already mastered and thought about the ones he’s still working on. The big "aha moment" for me? Realizing that everything else in life builds upon the ability for kids to be able to do these five things… Read More

How to Talk to Teens: 3 Ways to Get Your Teen to Listen

You know the drill: you’re trying to talk to your teen about curfew. Or dinner. Or absolutely anything—and they pretend they can’t hear you. They start an argument with you, or give you an eye roll and a "Whatever." Or they turn up their music. They won’t lift their eyes from their screens. They scoff or grunt in your general direction. There’s no eye contact, no acknowledgement, and absolutely no hint of, “Yes, Mom, I understand what you’re saying to me.” Read More

How to Stop Worrying and Avoid Helicopter Parenting: Don't Do These 6 Things

“When I was young, my mom and dad sent us out to play in the morning in our neighborhood, and we didn’t come home until dinner time,” a friend said to me recently. “But times have changed. I feel like I have to keep constant tabs on my kids. I wish they could have the kind of childhood I did, but what can I do? I need to make sure they’re safe.” Read More

The "Cool Kids": How to Help Your Child or Teen Deal with Peer Pressure, Exclusion and Cliques

When we think of peer pressure, we typically have a picture in our minds of a kid handing another kid a cigarette, a joint, or a beer and saying something like, “Come on, just try it.” But at times peer pressure can be felt without a single word being spoken, like when a clique excludes others or rolls their eyes at the (in their opinion) "uncool" kids who walk by. Read More

Losing Your Temper with Your Child? 8 Steps to Help You Stay in Control

Do you ever struggle with temper tantrums at your house? You know what they involve: yelling, screaming, bad-language, and all-out loss of control until you almost can’t take it anymore and you just want to…put yourself in time out? Yes, I’m talking about our own parental "temper tantrums," which we’ve all been known to experience at one point or another as we raise our kids. Read on for tips on how to stay in control. Read More

Parenting Your Adult Child: How to Set up a Mutual Living Agreement

“I love my son, but things are getting really rough. I never expected him to still be living at home in his twenties. I don’t mind helping him while he gets on his feet, but most of the time he acts like he’s still thirteen – and he’s twenty three! This is not what I pictured!” Read More

Parenting Teens: 5 Ineffective Things to Avoid Doing

At Empowering Parents, we talk a lot about “effective” versus “ineffective” parenting styles. In fact, James Lehman reminds us that it’s not about whether your parenting style is right or wrong, it’s about whether it’s effective. Read More

Positive Parenting: 5 Rules to Help You Deal with Negative Child Behavior More Positively

Do your kids drive you crazy? If you were asked to describe them, after saying, "He's a good kid, but..." would you use words like “defiant,” “whiny,” “unmotivated,” “disrespectful,” “angry,” or “demanding,” with a few positives sprinkled in? If the negatives loom larger in your mind than the positives, the first thing to realize is that this is natural. We parents are human after all, which means we tend to look for what’s wrong with our offspring so that we can focus on what we should “fix” in them. Somehow this calms us down; we believe we are improving their chances of long-term survival in an often difficult world. Read More

In Over Your Head? How to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Regain Control as a Parent

Recently, a frustrated mom sat in my office and said, “I just don’t know what to do anymore. We’ve tried everything! There’s no punishment that gets through to our child; there’s nothing we can say that will fix her behavior. There’s so much going on we just don’t know where to start.” Sound familiar? Parents often get by on intuition and advice from others, but let’s face it–that’s not always enough, especially if you have a child who doesn’t respond well to your attempts to manage their behavior. Read More

Parent the Child You Have, Not the Child You Wish You Had

As soon as you knew you were having children, you probably began to dream about who they were going to be, how they might be like you, and hoped they would be successful in life. You may have wanted your child to be into football or academics, but then reality set in. You found that your son didn’t really like sports, and your daughter didn’t have much interest in school.The truth is, one day many of us wake up and realize that our children are just different than what we expected. Read More

Anger, Rage and Explosive Outbursts: How to Respond to Your Child or Teen's Anger

Everyone gets mad sometimes, children and adults alike. Anger is an emotion that can range from slightly irritated to moderately angry, all the way to full-blown rage. A child’s anger often makes us feel uncomfortable, so there can be a natural tendency to try and change the situation for your child, so the anger will evaporate. Or on the flip side, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “bringing down the hammer,” to put a stop to the anger through intimidation or punishment. But the fact is, your child will experience situations that may trigger anger throughout life. You can’t stop the triggers, but you can give your child the tools to understand anger and deal with it. Read More

How to Keep Calm and Guide Your Child to Better Behavior This Year

Have you been looking back on the last year, reflecting on how things went with your child? If so, perhaps you feel frustrated when you think about his or her behavior—and your reaction to it. Maybe you feel like no matter what you do, nothing changes. But understand that positive change can happen in your family. You’re not stuck in those negative patterns—you really do have the power to improve things, starting today. Read More

6 Ways to Manage Tantrums, Misbehavior and Meltdowns During the Holidays

If you have a child or teen who misbehaves, the holidays can be a source of infinite stress and anxiety. Your individual expectations of the holidays can be seriously at odds: you expect to have a nice, shared time with your whole family and maybe attend some larger family gatherings; they expect to get every gift they demand, and they intend to spend their school break staying up late, sleeping in, and playing video games. The resulting holiday season can be filled with tantrums, obnoxious behavior, and lots of yelling and screaming. Read More