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Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you remember the first power struggle you got into with one of your kids, and did you win?

Asked by Dutchess_III (39712points) October 25th, 2010

My oldest daughter was 18 months old when I met her for the first time. She was my husband’s from his previous marriage. (I eventually adopted her.) One time I took my daughter, who was about 20 months old, to visit a friend of mine. It was the first time she and I had been alone together for any length of time.
When it came time to leave Jen decided she didn’t want to sit in her car seat. Well, I don’t know what had transpired in the past to make her think she had a choice, but as far as I was concerned, she DIDN’T have a choice. I kept putting her in, and she kept climbing back out, and slipping under the restraints and I kept putting her back in. I had no where to go, nothing else to do, and I decided we would sit there in front of my friend’s house all damn day doing this if that’s what it took. It seemed like hours, but was probably only 5 minutes, but she was getting more and more angry and frustrated. When she got to the point that she was red in the face and sweating and screaming in rage, and I was afraid I was going to do something I’d regret (not sure what, but I was getting MAD too!) I called a time out. We got out of the car and sat in my friend’s yard, where she ripped grass out by the handful, venting her anger.
After several minutes we had both calmed down. I picked her up and put her in her car seat again. She slid out. I put her back in. She slid out, I put her back in…and then she just went limp with surrender. All the fight just drained out of her. It was kind of sad, actually! But there never was a car seat issue again.
I wonder what I’d have done if I’d had to have been somewhere important, like my first day of work or had to catch a flight or something…..

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17 Answers

meiosis's avatar

You should win ALL your power struggles with your child, which is why you should also choose them carefully. Nappy changing is probably the first one I had with both my daughters. I remember the car seat struggle with my eldest, the youngest hasn’t got to that stage yet.

YoBob's avatar

It happened in the hospital on the day of their birth.

I’ll let you know who “won” when they become adults and go off to seek their fortune.

Trillian's avatar

Hehehehe! That’s funny. They will push and test their boundaries to see if you are serious. Good for you that you persisted without getting angry. My guess is that she learned to respect you and that you mean what you say.
Backing down and letting them have their way is not doing them any favors, as they then believe that they have to have their way in all things, and we all know that this just ain’t so.
I guess learning when to give in and when to hold firm is a tough one.
When my oldest was seven, she insisted on wearing a little outfit that she liked every day. I wanted her to change her clothes. The pediatrician that I knew told me to let her. He said that peer pressure would exert a more powerful influence on her and that if I stepped back I would see that it really didn’t matter. I informed her teachers and let her have at it, and in the end, she only wore it occasionally. That was tough, but I don’t feel that I won or lost, only that I learned something valuable.

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MissPoovey's avatar

I hope this isn’t off topic, but how did she slip out? My 3yr old rides in a car seat. If she can slip out the restraints are not fixed properly.
I have older children (the 3yr old is my granddaughter) and I have had that carseat fight also. But I just locked them in and drove away with the screams in my ears. I think you did well not losing your temper.
Go to a fire station and have your carseat checked for free.
As far as winning a power struggle with your children….it is a wash. Some you win, the important ones, some you let them win, the ones you can. But my children are older and it never stops. There are still power struggles over who goes to which home for the holidays, who drives further, which Christmas presents are opened first….it never ends.
Good luck.

MissPoovey's avatar

@noelleptc – two years olds do NOT have impulse control. She should be taught it hurts etc. but a 5 min sit out sounds alittle severe for someone that cannot control themselves yet.
JMO ofcourse.

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YARNLADY's avatar

@noelleptc Good choice. I asked my two year old “Do you want me to do that to you?” and he said “No, Grandma” so I was able to let him know without actually doing it.

MissPoovey's avatar

I hope you all will not slap a young child. I do not understand why you got that from my answer.
Teaching someone that it hurts, does not mean slapping them back. Can’t any of you cry? Act in pain, Pout or something? Or even tell them you don’t talk to/play with people that hurt you?
I did not want you to slap them. I still do not know how you think I wrote that you should.

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MissPoovey's avatar

”.. and I’m not about to slap her back to show her it hurts”

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Dutchess_III's avatar

@MissPoovey This would be in, like, 1979, when car seats weren’t even mandatory. They weren’t much better than booster seats. Said daughter is now 32.

@noelleptc You behaved with amazing restraint! I would have probably busted her a fast, hard one on her butt, faster than the speed of sound!! And people can criticize that all they want, but boy…to me that’s serious! A simple time-out sounds too lenient! But….I also come from old school…so, I’d be curious to know if that really made an impression on her.

As an aside, I’m getting the impression that @MissPoovey is suggesting that your daughter couldn’t help herself and therefore there should have been virtually NO consequences. Maybe just a little ole’ friendly talkin’ to. But… impression may be wrong. If not, I’m sure that if she ever has kids she’ll be saying the same thing to her kid’s teachers when they get to school and do something wrong. You know, it’s not their fault.

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Dutchess_III's avatar

@noelleptc How long has it been?

My old school was “Wait till your father comes home!” so that meant if we screwed up in the morning, we had to go to our room from that moment on until he got home. The waiting was the WORST part. We learned to wait until 4:45 p.m. to do something that might require a spanking, so that it would only be a 30 minute wait. It was several years (from 6 to 12) before I realized that my dad’s spankings didn’t even hurt! His heart wasn’t in it because he wasn’t there when the infraction happened. My sisters even used the “book in the undies” trick, and he pretended not to notice. But the waiting was the worst…..

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Dutchess_III's avatar

TTU soon, @noelleptc! To bed now! :)

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