Parents: Take your kid’s side!
I’m reading a wonderful book right now: “Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves” by Naomi Aldort. I highly endorse this one! It’s great for the many wonderful stories in it which demonstrates how to use empathy with your children in difficult situations. One of her great suggestions is to “take your kid’s side.” Many times we find ourselves in situations where we want one thing and our child or teen wants something else. Often this leads to a “power struggle” where the parent attempts to impose their “authority” over this child. What other option is there? As Naomi demonstrates over and over, we can always take their side without giving up. At this point, most parents are thinking, “Great! That means I lose every time and I never get MY needs met!!” This is not accurate.
What actually happens, if you pay close attention, is that once the child experiences themselves as being heard and understood, they are no longer interested in the power struggle. The power struggle is the result of the child wanting to be heard for what they want. When you simply impose what you want over them, they dig in their heels. Think about it. Would you enjoy someone imposing their will over you?
When you take their side, they soften. They see you are willing to understand them. This is what they really want. They want to be understood and appreciated by you. They do not want to be overwhelmed by your power. Once they sense your understanding, they are often willing to hear your side. Why? Because they sense your love for them and it arouses their love for you. Now they want to be on your side too!