We are up to Chapters 7, 8 and 9 in Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s book, “Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning For A Lifetime.” Chapter 7 is about identifying the real feelings and needs behind power struggles.
She identifies four major threads within power struggles, including:
- Temperament – the natural way your child reacts to something: how persistent, easily frustrated, sensitive, active, regular, or intense they are, how they cope with transitions and new situations
- Stress – the environmental factors in your child’s life that may be causing distress
- Medical Factors- physiological issues that are impacting your child; for example, auditory processing challenges, AD/HD, depression, anxiety
- Normal Development- developmental tasks that your child is working on and that can be predictable for the age if you know development (and to me also suggests, are you expecting too much or not enough?)
If you can identify the threads inside the power struggle, you will have a much better chance of coming up with a strategy that can address what is happening.
Chapter 8 is entitled, “Why You Blow: Understanding Your Temperament.” There is a inborn or genetric dimension to temperament, which describes how we perceive the world and our first, most natural responses to things in the world. If we understand ourselves, we can understand our reaction to our children’s behavior better. There is a test starting on page 119 of the book that measures traits such as persistence,sensitivity, adaptability, intensity, regularity of eating/sleeping/elimination, activity level, first reaction, and then a way to put it all together for a score of what kind of emotion coach you are for your children. The point is to accept yourself and know yourself; honor yourself in your parenting life because it will make parenting that much easier.
Chapter 9 takes these same temperament traits and applies them to children, and gives examples of how to emotion coach for trait. This author has written two other books about temperament and parenting and I encourage you to read them – one is “Raising Your Spirited Child” and the other one is “Raising Your Spirited Child Workbook.” They are both fantastic and can be so helpful when you are dealing with a child whom you are trying to understand.