Saturday, February 6, 2010

Struggle for Power

Last Friday night (which was still in the painful abyss of January) Jackson and I got in a power struggle. It was the knock-down-drag-out-cage-match of power struggles. Yes, I was struggling for power to 'win' against an 8 year old.

And what I have discovered as a parent, when you struggle for power, even when you win, you lose.

I got sucked into this vortex in January. Jackson was being so defiant, I wanted him to do what I said. To obey. To comply. Just once. If I could just get him to do put on clean underwear, it would show I still am the parent, have some measure of control.

And to lose control as a parent is abject failure.

But that isn't taking the long view. Seeing the big picture. Keeping my eye on the ball.

In the course of requiring compliance to my rules, I lost control. I nagged, I yelled and I even belittled. This, to put it mildly, did not bring out the best in the J Boy.

Our ultimate goal as parents is not to have a child who will put on clean underwear when we issue an edict. We want to raise a child who is respectful and gracious and is able to form good relationships. And knows how to have fun.

And so sometimes when the lad is having a hard day, I need to realize that clean underwear is not the most important thing. At that moment, it is less important that I hold the line on clean undergarments and more important that I remain calm.

Maintaining a good relationship and remaining respectful and gracious myself is what I need to focus on. It is VERY hard for me to let him 'win'. To let go of that bit of control. But I need to be the grown up here.

I started doing that more after that fateful cage match last Friday. And every day since then has been good. That is what I call winning.


DramaMama86 said...

Hooray!!!! Congrats Konnie. :)

Ellie said...

I completely identify with this - for me, it's Finn. Sometimes I'm even aware that I'm getting sucked into the vortex as it's happening, but I just. can't. stop.

Great perspective - thank you!

Konnie said...

Thanks for the support.

Ellie I was just sucked in again this week after posting this. Boy does it feel good to win sometimes.