Sometimes parenting can feel like a constant battle with tempers flaring and no solution in site. It’s like a tug of war.

Part of the problem is that both parent and child want to be in control. Another part of the problem is that regardless of who “wins” in a power struggle, everyone is still basically miserable.

One of the best solutions is simply to share control.

If you feel weird about sharing control with your kids, let me ask you a question. Do you want your kids to be really great at following orders or do you want them to be able to think for themselves? Because if you teach them to be really great rule followers as kids, that’s what they’ll be as adults. Life seems easier when kids just do as they’re told, but they aren’t learning to problem solve for themselves.

This doesn’t mean that kids just do whatever they feel like doing and have no rules at all. Spoiled, entitled kids happen when we let them run wild and then clean up after them. But when we have a few house rules and let them consider possible actions – and enjoy the confidence that comes when things work out – as well as clean up after themselves when things don’t turn out, they learn to be strong thinkers.

One way to share control is to provide choices. And there’s a science to this. Younger kids get a couple choices, older kids get several choices and with teens, we make decisions together.

Home provides a great place for children to experiment with choices to see what works best for them. When something doesn’t work out, they know they can talk with us and we won’t judge them – we’ll just help them work through it.

It’s not about making them feel bad when things don’t work out – just providing love and support and care as they work through what worked, what didn’t and why – and then come up with a new plan.

I learned to use these techniques in my Parenting with Love & Logic class and they worked so well that I took the training and now provide classes.

In our next class, we’ll be discussing sharing control. Questions? Comments? Want to join our parenting community? Shoot me an email at shaffermentor(AT) and I’ll tell you how to get started. I also offer private sessions when requested.