Parenting Without Power Struggles + Building Self-Esteem
Heidi Rogers here with your 3 Minute Parenting Playbook. I'm gonna go fast today, you guys - I have a lot to jam into this.
So what we're talking about today, power struggles, self esteem, listening, and how to get all that happening.
Okay, when parents come to me and say, "Why do I have power struggles? "Why does my kid have low self esteem?", it comes down to this, and this is called the buckets. And what the buckets are is basically our greatest fears, your fears, my fears, our kids, all of us wonder, two greatest things. Am I enough, and am I lovable? Am I skinny enough, smart enough, fast enough, rich enough? A good enough mom, a good enough student blah, blah, blah.
And then, am I 'lovable' based on those things? I'm not sure if I'm lovable with how I look, how I dress, where I live, how I talk, what I did on that last test, okay, they kind of go together. If you were filling those buckets enough, am I enough, am I lovable? If you're depositing into those buckets enough as parents, they will then end up with a bucket called 'I am okay' or 'I'm empowered in my life', 'I feel good about myself'.
Why do I feel good about myself? Because you've communicated to me that I'm enough and I'm lovable. And if those two buckets are filled, I then have 'I am okay'... that's filled. And so when I am okay, just as I am, that means I have good self esteem and high levels of confidence.
Most parents, however, fill these buckets through verbal cuddles, 'You're awesome, you're amazing, you're so pretty, you're so whatever'... which is great. Don't stop doing that. But the better way to fill those buckets is through three things. One - choice, two - autonomy and three - connection.
Choice means do what the red cup or the blue cup? For an adolescent that might be, do you wanna have tech curfew be 10 or 10:30? Now the point is not necessarily that they're going to like these choices, because 10 to 10:30, of course, they're gonna pick 10:30. And if you say do you wanna have you know, something for dinner like, what do you want for dinner? They're gonna say pizza and ice cream. That's not the point, we always give them choices that are parameters and within parameters that work for us.
So 'do you wanna come inside in 10 minutes or 15 minutes?' Of course, they're gonna say 15 minutes, but that's not the point. I communicate to you, you matter, you have worth, you have value, you are lovable, you are enough, you are okay, just by asking you for a choice and asking you for your opinion, okay? Powerful, especially for strong-willed kids.
Choice can be a game changer, and it can be arbitrary. 'Do you wanna brush your teeth in this bathroom or that bathroom?' 'Do you wanna wear this shirt or this shirt?' Giving choices constantly can really, really help the power struggles and the battles all the time, because why kids have power struggles when they're not given enough power, but giving them choice is giving them power. So when you do that enough, it stops the power struggles or minimizes them a lot.
If you want kids to be more cooperative, getting them to have choice opportunities all throughout the day, where they can is huge.
The second thing is autonomy. So that's walking home from school by yourself, making your own breakfast, encouraging autonomy, and teaching them how to do stuff makes them feel good about themselves.
Because mom and dad aren't controlling this, and they're letting me have a go. And they're letting me practice and they're letting me learn, well, they must think I'm enough. They must think I'm lovable, that they're teaching me how to do this thing, cool.
So autonomy ... and then the last one is connection and connection is basically validating their feelings, empathizing with them, spending one-on-one time with them, but it doesn't have to be a lot, you can get a lot of connection time in 10 minutes of just having one-on-one time with your child. But the key thing with connection is validating how they feel, not trying to fix it and empathizing with them.
I ran through that to try to get it close to three minutes. I hope that was helpful. That is called the 'buckets' as I refer to it, or our greatest fears, and that I hope was helpful.
There's a resource that goes with this if you wanna click below to download it, see you next time.