HuffPost Parents' Parent Coach, Susan Stiffelman appeared on the "Today" show this morning with Kathy Lee and Hoda! She shared smart strategies from her new book, "Parenting Without Power Struggles", for raising happy children in a battle-free household.
"Our kids want and need us to be what I call 'the captain of the ship,'" Susan says, because we're not raising children, we're raising adults.
She used hand signals to demonstrate the communication between parent and child. With one hand on top representing the parent, and the other on bottom representing the child, Susan says the parent must maintain that upper hand. But when the parent accepts push back in a given situation, the hands even out and nobody is in charge. "I call this the two lawyers," she says.
Susan says in order to keep the desired position (the arm on top), parents must not engage or participate in push back. Instead, you should acknowledge what the child wants, but stay disengaged from the struggle.
Another method is to "make it your idea". If you're too exhausted to say "no" to cake over and over again, for example, say, "I was about to give you cake. I can't believe it! You read my mind," Susan suggests. That way, you're not training your child to "push and push and push".
Most importantly, stay calm, slow down, and acknowledge that feelings are feelings.