Losing Control: Parenting Is Not A Power Struggle

This last week has basically been an emotional rollercoaster of “Aww… where has my baby gone?” and “ARE YOU KIDDING ME, WHERE THE FUCK HAS MY BABY GONE???”

On Thursday, Amelia did something that she has never done before, but not in a cute way. No. She took her defiance and stubbornness to the next level, and although it was a relatively small act of defiance in the grand scheme of things, I feel like it’s set us up for a whirlwind of shit storms in the very near future.

She ate a biscuit.

Ok, ok – I hear you! Let me explain before you peg me as *that* mum. Amelia has eaten many a biscuit in her time, don’t you worry about that! But this time was different. We had spent the day with Grandma, and she had naturally had a few treats, mostly in the shape of ice lollies in the park. She’d been on her best behaviour all day, and I let her choose her own dinner. In hindsight, she was definitely looking tired around dinner time and I probably could have anticipated something kicking off!

Losing Control Parenting Isn't A Power Struggle

Despite choosing her own dinner, she flat out refused to eat any of it. Knowing she was tired, I decided not to push the matter and packed her off to the bath with Grandma while I attempted to get Wills ready for bed and have a quick tidy up. I’m going to take some of the responsibility for what happened next, because I hadn’t quite managed to stretch my tidying to the living room by the time she got out of the bath and had her pj’s on.

There were 2 biscuits sitting on the coffee table. 2 of Amelia’s biscuits that she had discarded earlier in the day, but now decided that she wanted with her pre-bed cup of milk. Given that she hadn’t eaten her dinner, I told her;

“No, not now. You didn’t eat any of your dinner, so please give them to me and I’ll put them in the cupboard for you to have tomorrow.”

And here’s where it all went wrong. I fully expected an argument, a tantrum even. But up until that day, while she would have potentially kicked off about it, she would have given thrown hurled them at me and then kicked off. But what she did next truly showcased her emerging confidence in her own power, abilities, and self-assuredness.

Losing Control Parenting Isn't A Power Struggle

She looked me square in the eye, and then crammed an entire biscuit into her mouth.

Needless to say, the rest of the evening did not go well for her. Unfortunately for her, it was close enough to bedtime that my reaction was simply to take her to bed. Not that she didn’t put up one hell of a fight! I stayed with her long enough for her to calm down, for me to explain why she was going to bed, and for me to remind her that it was ok to be upset, and that being upset was often the consequence of *ahem* less desirable behaviour! I even stayed long enough for remorse to start to kick in and for her to spontaneously apologise through sobs.

“I’m. So. Sorry. I. Kicked. You. Hic. In. The. Hic. Head. Mummy. Whaaaaaaaa!”

The problem is now that I foresee many more of these displays of stubbornness rearing their ugly heads in the not so distant future. I feel like this was the first time that she truly realised she doesn’t actually have to do what I ask her to (or not to).

I’ve Got The Pow-ah!

I’ve been left wondering about the word ‘control’ when it comes to me and my kids. There have been many times when I could have described my actions as ‘losing control’ (more commonly known as ‘losing one’s shit’), but this was different. I reacted quite calmly, and matter-of-factly. I knew in that moment that I needed to deal with the behaviour that had been displayed in a way that let her know it wasn’t ok, without turning it into a power struggle.

Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? I don’t want to control my kids, or have some kind of ultimate power of them. I want them to grow into self-assured and confident adults who know that they can assert themselves when the time is right. But I also want to raise children who understand boundaries, respect others, and are known for their positive qualities rather than their negative ones (we all have them!)

Losing Control Parenting Power Struggle

There have been more incidents since biscuit-gate (ha!), such as looking me in the eye while dipping her pinky into her yoghurt after I explicitly asked her not to dip her fingers in her yoghurt. I can only hope that, like me, she will soon realise that a power struggle is pointless, because neither of us going to win. I’m not going to win because it’s not a fun game that I want to win, nor would I feel any pleasure in winning an unfulfilling prize of ultimate dictatorship over my kids. And Amelia won’t win because ultimately it’s my job not to allow her to become a mini dictator, and that’s a job I take quite seriously

Excited for the teenage years much?! The Lib Dems want to legalise weed, so maybe I should switch my vote now!!

36 thoughts on “Losing Control: Parenting Is Not A Power Struggle

  1. I’m just beginning to understand the power struggle with Bear. His tantrums are small now so I am savouring the days. Sounds like you did the right thing, I agree we shouldn’t control our kids they need to be able to assert themselves when they need to. I would hate for my son to be afraid of being able to be himself. Really great post, can’t believe she ate the biscuit right in front of you! Thanks for sharing with #StayClassyMama!

    1. It sort of crept up on us here! That’s EXACTLY what I meant… like I don’t wanna beat the fight of the kids, you know!! But there needs to be a line… in front of the biscuits mainly!!!!xx

  2. Oh dear we have definitely lost the biscuit battle in our household, my daughter pretty much demands them all day, and I cave. Does this make me a bad Mum? When I say biscuit, I mean oatcake. It’s really hard as parent’s, but sometimes we just have to give them a biscuit, to stop a full blown out tantrum happening. Actually maybe I should stop giving biscuits when she asks for them. Who knows what she’ll be asking for next. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    1. It’s such a difficult balancing act sometimes, isn’t it?! There are days I’d consider a tantrum if I couldn’t have a biscuit hahaha!!xx

  3. Oh no! I laughed reading this but I definitely wouldn’t have done in that situation! Ah I have all of this to come, I think you handled it very well though! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

  4. haha … threenagers are real. I have written many posts about them. I have 4 more days left before I’m officially clear of this phase – not that any kids ever stuck to those rules!!
    Good luck! They are double the pain of the ‘terrible twos’!

  5. Hahaha!!! This is brillant!!! Been there with ‘biscuit-gate’ in our house too……and shoe-gate and crisps-gate and pencil-gate and DVD-gate and toy-gate and clothes-gate and toilet-gate…..Really like the point you make about not wanting to ‘control’ your kids; I hadn’t thought about it like that before and there’s a fine line! Great read #blogstravaganza

    1. Hahahaha! I wonder how many ‘gates’ there would be if we actually kept track?!!! There is definitely a fine line, and I think remaking in control of ourselves (as hard as that is sometimes!!!) is a pretty good start. For me that’s been the hardest lesson to learn, but it’s leading to kids who (occasionally) take their lead from me. Thanks for your lovely comment xx

  6. Oh no! I know that look well from having younger siblings. My son has actually given it to me a little once or twice even though he is too young to actually know better at 8 months.
    She is learning to be independent, which is so great! Even if it is a pain for you to have to enforce the rules.
    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. It’s easy to do, isn’t it? And a lot of that is because we feel as though we are having control and power removed from us. When you stop seeing it as a control thing I find personally it becomes easier not to lose it!!xx

  7. Lol I hear ya mama! We have a LOT of this it’s all one big power play and I say you’ve got to choose your battles and it’s definitely not about control but mutual respect….very different things. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub with this xoxo

    1. Yeah, there has to be respect both ways, that’s so important. So it becomes more about respecting each other’s wishes (within reason) than succumbing to demands. And that works both ways!! Xx

    1. Haha! I’m not going to lie, I’m just a tiny bit nervous about the teenage years! Understatement of the year! x

  8. It most certainly is all about the control and when you lose your shit you have lost control. The best and most powerful teachers I know hardly ever raise their voices but deal with situations calmly. They always have control.
    Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  9. I have to admit, I laughed when I thought of her looking you square in the eye and eating the biscuit…it’s like the toddler equivalent of showing you the finger.
    When they start to test the boundaries it can be hard to find the right response, but I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s less about being the one with the power, and more about guidance…easier said than done sometimes though, I know I’ve used the dreaded “because I say so” more times than I should have!

    1. Oh totally! In hindsight it’s hilarious! And it is definitely easier said than done sometimes, I couldn’t agree more with you there!x

  10. Opps! My teens often quote the Lib Dem’s and legalizing weed, I’m not sure they know anything else they stand for! Parenting is so hard and who knows what the right response to the ‘biscuit incident’ was, but I do you as the parent on the spot you do the very best you can to establish right from wrong and that’s all anyone can ask. #bigpinklink

    1. Haha I’m just impressed your teen are talking about politics at all! #parentinggoals haha! Thanks for your lovely comment xx

  11. Oh I could really relate to this. It’s so hard but they will always push the boundaries to see what they can get away with. Hopefully all the boundaries will be pushed before the teen years and she will be an angel for you. As a mum of three teens this is a good hope!! Loving your Intagram feed by the way x #BigPinkLink

    1. Oh wow THREE teens! You can’t see but I’m totally saluting you, haha!! Aww thanks, that’s really lovely to hear! I’m always wondering if anyone else but me is interested in random pics of us haha!!!xx

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