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My husband and I have different parenting styles. This often leads to powerstruggles between us!
If more than two persons are responsible for the kids, there can be a problem, even if the two people agree on the parenting style. If the parenting style is also different, the problem is even bigger. The children realise quickly that they can play the two adults off against each other and take advantage of the situation. However, the problem can be easily overcome if only one person is always in charge of the children. You can pass the responsibility, but when you do this, you must inform the children, so that they know which person is making the decisions and whose rules now apply. The person not in charge must also strictly keep to it and not get involved at all.
I'm afraid to hurt my childs feelings when I punish him!
In principle, I am against punishment too, because punishment always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. In addition, punishment often leads to power struggles, which, in the end, hurts both the children and the parents. However, I think it is important that children are held accountable. The children even need this so they can learn and grow. It is important for parents to know the difference between punishment and being held accountable. (for more information, check out the Mom Has Fun handbook or browse our video tools about implementing rules and coaching vs control).
My child does not follow my instructions!
Generally, one can say that children follow instructions only if they ‘must’, or if it is fun to do. If your child does not follow instructions, they know that they can get away without doing what you want. In other words, they don’t really have to! The simplest solution is to see if you can present the situation so that it is fun and the child wants to follow the instructions and, if that is not possible, I recommend you start with 3 simple rules which must be respected and where you follow through consistently – implementing consequences if the rules are not adhered to. When this works, continue to create (and implement) the next 3 rules.
How much help can I expect from my child?
A family, even if only made up of 2 people, is a team. It is important that the family works as a team. This means that everybody must help and do their part to keep the team running. The work should be distributed fairly and according to capability. It is best to integrate ‘helping in the house’ into the children’s lives from a very young age.
I always have to say things 100 times!
Repeating yourself constantly leads in most cases to a feeling of powerlessness and anger. It is important that you do not talk at the child but with the child. To get the child’s attention, you need to be at eye level with him or her. Do not start giving the instruction until you are sure you have his or her attention. During your communication, keep eye contact and, once you are done, ask if he or she understood the communication.
My child never eats what I cook!
First you have to make sure that their lack of appetite is not connected to a physical problem. Once physical problems are ruled out, I recommend introducing a new rule (and ensuring it is implemented): that there will only be snacks between meals, if everything is eaten at main meals. Also, to start you can serve only very small portions and then slowly increase the volume.
My child is aggressive!
Here it is important to intervene immediately. You can start at a very young age. For example, if a baby hits their mom in the face, one can take the hand of the child and guide it gently over ones face while saying, “Gently, like this”, so that the child can feel the difference. With older children, what mostly works best is an immediate Time out (see our “Timeout” tool), with clear instructions as to why the timeout was applied. If the child is still aggressive, give them another Timeout and then take him/her away from the environment or repeat the Timeout until the child co-operates.
“I can do it by myself!” - When do children need help?
Often we underestimate our children. They can do much more than we think! It is very important that a child can try to do as much as possible alone, even if it takes more time. For example, when the child ties their shoes for the first time by themself, this is a big achievement. Even if it doesn’t work immediately. With patience, coaching and precise instructions, you can help a child to accomplish many things and feel great about it However, if the safety or health of the child is at risk, you should definitely intervene.
The constant fighting between brothers and sisters!
Fighting happens in every family. However, it does not need to be constant! With fighting, nobody really wins. That is why you should make it as unattractive as possible for the siblings. According to the saying: if two are arguing, a third person can profit! So this could be you who profits from now on! Also here it is very important to set clear boundaries and consequences - and to implement them consistently.(See our video tool about setting clear boundaries).
How can I bring out my child's emotional intelligence?
Now we are on my favorite subject. Emotional intelligence can be learned and therefore it can be taught through parenting. An emotionally intelligent person can better cope with their emotions and the emotions in their surroundings. If you teach your child emotional intelligence, you not only give your child an important gift for life, you will also get to know yourself and your emotions much better and therefore you will find yourself less engaged in power struggles (which are mostly fought on an emotional level). However, the issue is very complex and is best explained in more detail in our 120 day Online Parenting Class.