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NAN: Power Struggles in Discipline

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The root of most reasons that a child misbehaves is a child’s desire to have control. When a child feels like he has no control and no options he is likely to misbehave. Giving a child two or three acceptable choices can help to eliminate a power struggle and facilitate cooperation. 

To avoid a power struggle over eating at breakfast time for example, the nanny can ask the child if he’d like plain or blueberry pancakes for breakfast. This will engage the child and help him to feel that he has some control over what he will eat for breakfast. 

Asking a child an open-ended question like “What do you want for breakfast?” on the other hand, can instigate a power struggle. Chances are the child will ask for something you aren’t prepared to serve, like chocolate cake, and the child will be back to feeling like he has no control.  

Michelle LaRoweNAN: Power Struggles in Discipline