"There are no argumentative children; only adults who argue with children."

Who's In Charge?

Question

I asked a question recently related to potty training and part of the answer was that I needed to reestablish myself as the head of the household. And that is so true!!! I have had an ongoing battle over control with my 20 month old for the last 4-6 months. This struggle has only gotten worse, and I am at a loss in how to regain control. She throws a fit about everyday things, like getting dressed and brushing her teeth. I’m stuggling to find joy in our relationship when everything is a battle.

Answer

Hi, and thank you for the question! Recognizing the need to change is the biggest step towards getting where you want to be. I had the same power struggle with my daughter when she was this age. I sometimes wondered if I would ever like her! The key was establishing myself as "she who must be obeyed." My problem was that I questioned my own authority - I felt weak and indecisive because I was always worrying about how she felt, whether I was being too hard on her, etc. etc. She, on the other hand, was totally single-minded - she knew what she wanted, she wanted it NOW, and she was going to get it whatever it took. You have to be the Alpha. You have to know what you want and be confident that it's the right and best thing for your daughter regardless of her reaction. Then tell her firmly - no question in your voice, no hesitating to see how she reacts, no backing down in the face of her screams and tears.

This will take longer than you think you can endure, and it will almost certainly get worse before it gets better. But you must believe me, it is worth it! You will never regret establishing yourself as leader, and it is the only way to ever have a good relationship with your daughter!!! It took a long time with mine, but she's now a mom asking me for parenting advice!

Let me know how it goes!
Kaye Wilson, CLPC
kwilsonok@gmail.com
parentcoachokc.com

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