Family Magazine

You Don’t Have to Win Every Battle …

By Yourfamilysurvivalcoach @shari_brewer

If there is a phrase I have come to appreciate and rely on more and more during this parenting gig, it would be the little gem ….

you don’t have to win every battle, to win the war

Not saying, that life should be considered a war-zone nor a state of hostility the norm … just that sometimes it makes so much sense to pick your metaphorical battles carefully.

As the parent of one very head-strong little ma’am, and two teen lads, it probably won’t surprise you to read that I sometimes find myself at loggerheads with my darlings and these battles can be over the most fundamental things …. like going to bed, having a bath, eating vegetables or a choice of outfit etc, etc ….. possibly an endless list and you understand, I’m sure you do.

When a stalemate arises over any issue, such as one of those classics above, both the child and the parent have a “need” they are seeking to meet – the child has a developmental need to assert their independence and have their opinion heard and the parent has a need to assert authority and make decisions on behalf of a child not yet capable of making their own. When these are completely opposed, things can get ugly. Quickly. And then, yep, everyone’s cranky and it’s stressful for all. Groan.

You don’t have to win every battle …

I’d actually never, ever advocate a strategy of avoiding all conflict by agreeing to every one of the demands that kids make. That’d be taking the easy way out, and we all know that parenting was never meant to be a breeze. What I do suggest is establishing some bottom line non-negotiables which are just that – the things that you will not budge or compromise on – and then accepting a little flexibility around some of the other issues. You really don’t have to win every battle to win the war.

It’s amazing how quickly a parent-child power struggle can be diffused when the child believes they are gaining some control over their situation and it’s really very valuable it is for them to learn skills in negotiation and reasoning. Sometimes it’s as close to a win-win as you can get doing this parenting job!

What do you think? Do your kids try it on? Have you decided on your non-negotiables?

photo credit: Nomad Photography and edwick via photopin cc

Joining in with IBOT over at Jess’ place today. See you over there!
You don’t have to win every battle …


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