Power Struggles Vs. Natural Consequences
By Theresea Hughes
When working with stubborn children the last thing nannies and au pairs should do is to get into power struggles. When caregivers try to show children that they are stronger, they are being as immature as the stubborn children.
Power struggles teach children to be fearful throughout life and to force others to do things against their will. As long as children are in no danger, adults should allow children to experience the consequences of their decision making.
Nannies should keep in mind that they may need to provide for children's change of mind. Allowing natural consequences to occur reduces intense arguing and teaches children that they can sometimes be wrong and not be ashamed of making bad judgments.
Pick your battles. If a child wants to wear jeans on a hot day let her. If you argue, you will both end up angry and frustrated. Guaranteed, after five to ten minutes in the hot sun she will change into her shorts.
Natural consequences will work out her stubbornness without you having to persuade the child.
When children decide to change their minds, caregivers should not say, “I told you so.” Making condescending comments only adds insult to injury and takes the power of learning away from children.
Don't scare or make children comply. Scaring children or forcing them to comply with your rules only makes children fear to their actions. Scare tactics do not help children learn real consequences of their actions.
What power struggles have you had working with children?