Are Power Struggles Your Kryptonite?

Kids are in it to win it, aren’t they? They are all in when it comes to fighting for their way. Power struggles are exhausting for the parent. Exhilarating to the child.

It has helped me to understand why power struggles occur. Then I am better able to avoid my parent kryptonite.

Are power struggles your kryptonite?

So why?

  • Just ‘cuz. Just ‘cuz that is how we are all wired. One of our most basic needs is the need for freedom and independence. We need opportunities to make decisions for ourselves. Of course as parents we know our end goal is to work our mom (or dad)-selves out of a job. We want our kids to be able to manage life on their own. So…we need to provide appropriate times for our kids to make some good (and some bad) decisions under the safety of our roof. When our kiddos declare, “You treat me like a baby” or “I am 16 you know…” those are little hints for us to loosen our parent control a bit (maybe not as much as our kids may want but probably a little bit more than we would like).
  • Wants. Like all people, kids want their way. Sometimes that’s okay, other times it is not in their or another’s best interest. Once they view mom or dad as an obstacle to what they want–the boxing gloves go on. Personally I don’t want to enter the ring. The best way to avoid being the opponent is to be on the same side of the ropes. How can one avoid jumping into the fight but still say no? By agreeably opposing,“I would love to say yes to getting you that toy. When we get home let’s create a Wish List for your birthday.” Or even better, “Let’s put our heads together and we can figure out some ways for you to earn money to buy it yourself.”
  • Reason. Some kids actually have a reason for putting up a fuss. Consider this: The child who builds 3/4 ths of his vision for his Lego City and then he has to put it away before leaving the house. Or the pre-pubescent girl who doesn’t want to wear the jeans her mom laid out but wants to wear the sweats with elastic waste-band instead. Recognizing the uniqueness of our child will prevent a few melt downs. Work with the child who wants to see his creation to fruition. Give your developing kid the ability to make some clothing choices (within reason).
  • We ignite the fuse. Yep. Sometimes it is our fault. When acting in an abrupt manner, like flipping off the TV or declaring, “It’s time to leave” without a warning. When we exasperate our children with impossible expectations (rather than challenging or high expectations) we can expect a POWER SURGE.

The way to keep that ol’ kryptonite out of sight is to control the things we can such as our words, our emotions, and the general tone of the home. By doing these things and recognizing we are raising kids to hopefully be responsible adults then we are ready to provide opportunities for them to have some freedoms. If bad choices are made, it’s okay. Learning will take place…all in sanctuary of our homes.

Fathers do not exasperate your children.
Ephesians 6:4

Please share ways you have discovered to pull the plug on power struggles.


Lori Wildenberg
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Lori Wildenberg

Lori is a licensed parent-family educator, co-author of three parenting books, and co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting. Her first solo venture, Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home is to be published May 2017. For more information visit You can also Contact Lori to schedule her for a seminar, retreat, or speaking event. Go to to subscribe to her Eternal Moments blog.
Lori Wildenberg
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  • Micah Day

    Fathers do not exasperate your children.
    Ephesians 6:4. It amazes me how this warning is in the word of God. He has provided so much for us that we can never stop gaining wisdom through His living word!

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