Thursday, October 08, 2009

Power Struggles

When I was trying to get Margaret dressed this morning, I realized I forgot to mention "power struggles" in my "In the Moment" post.

This morning was one of those mornings where Margaret put on a coat and thought she was dressed enough to go outside. "Margaret, you need something on your butt! Let's get some pants and socks and shoes!"


Oh fun times. Well, I try to make them fun.

In one book I read (I want to say it was Pantley's The No-Cry Nap Solution, but I looked through it and couldn't find it), it talked about bedtimes and getting kids to sleep. It talked about the reaction of saying "No" and running away to a "Let's get your pajamas on" suggestion. It said something on the lines of "Why not take a 5 minute break and indulge your child in a game of chasing? Play a little game of tag and then when your child is "tagged out" put the pajamas on her." This was kind of eye opening to me. Why not? Margaret does this all the time; she likes to be chased by us. Why don't I turn her "No!" into a game?

So I've been doing that. I think it's normal for kids to want to play tag. Of course, this happens at "inconvenient" times like in a parking lot or while getting her dressed. If I can and if the safety of the situation allows it (obviously not in a parking lot), I try to indulge her. She wants me to chase her down? Why not? She just wants to play.

It's not always tag and chase. When I put her socks and shoes on, we do the Hokey Pokey, "You put your right foot in, so we can go out, you put your right foot in, and we shake it all about!" She seems to respond to the song and movements very well.

One blog post I came across in the Interwebs (couldn't re-find this one either) suggested making the wanted item "talk." For example, at dinner time having the dinner food call the child, "Eat us! We're yummy!" or moving the diaper like a puppet, "I want you to wear me!" It sounded really dorky and lame... but it works. McKay's tried it a couple of times when Margaret's been against wearing a diaper for bed. She won't come to me or him, but Margaret totally comes over and lies down for the talking diaper. It's actually pretty hilarious.

I'd like to read more about turning discipline into games and read the book Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen, but our local library doesn't have it. Interlibrary loan will soon be my best friend.


  1. I just added Playful Parenting to my library list, it should come in by mid-next week if you want to borrow it :)

    Also, Margaret's "No!" is so stinkin' cute it pains me.

  2. The talking diaper thing is in one of Pantley's books. I think it is called Kid Cooperation. I referenced it in one of my blog posts a while ago.

  3. Haha! Love the talking items -- I forgot we do that sometimes too. I have Playful Parenting if you want to just borrow it from me. :)

  4. I think I need to read Playful Parenting as well, so I just put it on hold at the library. I think I was better at being playful before I had my own kid, now I just feel tired! I guess I need to get in the groove again.

  5. My friend recommended i read your blog for some motivational support after what I wrote on my blog last night!

    I mentioned that I finally sat down and ordered some books because I was feeling like I needed some parenting knowledge, and unsure where to get it. Playful parenting is one on my list. I forget sometimes that, although mothering is natural for me, discipline isn't.I have a lot to learn.


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