Who's Got The Power?

An undated photo released by Austrian police in March 1998 shows Natascha Kampusch who vanished in Vienna, Austria, on her way to school on March 2, 1998 when she was ten years old. (AP Photo/Austrian Police)
Have you found yourself saying "these kids are driving me crazy!" a lot lately? Constantly arguing with you, or not listening to what you say? If your children are in-between summer camps, or just hanging around this summer, you may be experiencing the push and pull between parent and child that often exists from the time the child is a toddler. But these little problems can be intensified when kids are bored and without the structure of school.

But there are ways you can turn power struggles around and lay a foundation of respect that will last with your child into adulthood.

Dr. Russell Hoffmann is Director of the Department of Psychology at St. Louis Children's Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. He says power struggles exist because parent and child don't share the same goal. The "kiss of death" for a parent can be trying to assert dominance over the child and as a result loosing control as the parent because all you're doing is yelling and threatening.

Dr. Hoffman says you have to take a deep breath and then analyze the situation and determine what further intervention is needed. For example, what is the purpose of the child's behavior and what is the purpose of the parent's response? Children behave in ways to get their needs met. When their needs aren't met, they up the ante by continuing to act out and the end result is a bad relationship habit.

Teaching them how to make good decisions they can learn from makes them more productive adults and better problem solvers!