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A Tip to Stop Power Struggles

Posted by Rebecca Wolfenden, 1-on-1 Coach

If there’s a surefire technique in parenting, we think this is it: Leave the room when things get heated.

We hear from parents all the time about power struggles with their children. Kids won’t get out of bed. They refuse to do their homework. Toddlers fight putting their shoes on.

The list goes on, but the solution can be simple. Walking away is the fastest way to stop a power struggle. And you might be amazed at what happens next.

If you are struggling with your child, physically leaving the situation is very powerful. We suggest this technique to parents all the time, and we hear back from them that it works.

The next time you’re in a power struggle, walk away. You could be amazed at what happens.

Often when you leave the room, your child will start doing what you had asked. Brushing teeth, getting dressed, starting math homework.

Magic? Not quite. But it feels like it! When a parent leaves the room, the child doesn’t have anyone to fight against. You have removed the power of an argument from the room.

“Remember, when you engage in an argument with your child, you’re just giving him more power.” – James Lehman, MSW

Leaving breaks the cycle of heated emotions and threatened consequences. Everyone has time to calm down, and your child has space to make a different choice.

If you want to read more about avoiding power struggles, this article by James Lehman is a great place to start: Avoiding Power Struggles with Defiant Children: Declaring Victory is Easier Than You Think.

Wishing you the best this week,

Rebecca W., Empowering Parents Coach


About Rebecca Wolfenden, 1-on-1 Coach

Rebecca Wolfenden is a loving Momma to her son and a dedicated 1-on-1 Coach. She earned her degree in Social Work from West Virginia University and has been with Empowering Parents since 2011. Rebecca has experience working with children and families in home settings and schools, and has extensive practice working with people of all ages who have survived significant emotional and physical trauma.

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