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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Parenting without Power Struggles, Susan Stiffelman -- Review

I've just finished my third book of the year, and it was a parenting book. I started it more than a year ago, and have been plodding through it slowly, when I need it, and I need it often.

My kids are very spirited, and very loud. And it was hard for me to get them to do what I needed them to do without resorting to yelling or bullying of some sort.

And I hated it.

There are a lot of crap parts to this book. A lot of false dialogue, a lot of scenarios that will never happen in real life ever. A lot of her proposed solutions would not work in the way she wrote it down.

But, some of the core basics were very solid and things I needed to hear.

I needed to hear that I didn't need to hammer home a canned parenting point every time I spoke to my kids. The book spends a lot of time on separation. First help the child get the thing they need to do done. Don't talk about it. Or when you are saying no. Just say no. And let them feel how they feel. Do not spend a lot of time explaining it, thinking they'll come around, see things your way, or understand the logic. They won't and they can't and to try to get that whole message through at the time will result in disaster.

This has happened so many times to me.

What she advises is talking to your kids long after the direct order.

Another good thing in this book was the concept of coming alongside your kid when they feel negative emotion or don't want to do a thing.

Think of three reasons why they shouldn't want to do that thing, she wrote.

Now, I don't want to do that because dammit, do the thing, kids. But she's right.

One of my main mistakes with these kids is that I come at them from a state of irritation. Because why can't they just see the things the way they need to see them? Why can't they understand things and do them and behave?

I've noticed that when I do allow them their feelings, even if I'm impatient about it (in my own head), or I think their feelings are misguided, or downright wrong...if I give them the space to feel, they will come around on their own.

The biggest thing I learned, though, is that parenting without power struggles means getting rid of the bargaining.

I wanted my kids to be able to debate me and be heard and make their points, but that was absolutely the wrong way to go (at their young age). Right now, they need to know that "someone is in charge of the ship" as the book says. They have to hear in my voice that I mean what I say when I say it, and that they can trust what I say. If I leave what I say open at all times, they can never trust me. They don't know if I mean it or not, or if I'll change my mind with a little wheedling. They need me to be solid for them. Even if that solid says no.

Anyway, I recommend the book. Like I said, there's a lot of blah in it, but there is a lot of good in there too.

It helped us. It really did.


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