Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Parent"dox: The Power Struggle

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #5: The Power Struggle
The Power Struggle.  It is no stranger to our home.  Most of the time, my daughter is the one who invites it in.  Most of the time, it wears out its welcome.  Most of the time, I am exhausted by the time it leaves.

However, tonight, I share with you the very rarest of of "parent"doxes: when the Power Struggle actually works to your benefit.

I sounds as real as a unicorn or a leprechaun or as likely as actually picking the fastest lane at the grocery store.  But every once in a blue moon, this elusive "parent"dox occurs.  At our house, it was over a banana.

My kids love bananas.  (They also frequently "go bananas," but that is another story completely...)  Their favorite way to eat them is like a monkey, meaning peeling it and holding it themselves.  If, heaven forbid, there is a brown spot of any kind, they balk, put the banana on their plate, and loudly proclaim they will not eat it.  Fortunately, as long as my husband or I quickly cut out the offensive brown spot, they are happy to gobble the rest of their beloved fruit up.  

One morning, as I spotted a brown spot on an already peeled banana, I thought I would be proactive and avoid the drama by just cutting it out before it became an issue.  My son looked at me and said "What are you doing, Mom?"  I explained my plan of action, to which he responded "Don't!  I love the brown spots!  That is my favorite part!  It tastes just like the rest of the banana and I'm going to eat it up!"

Um....excuse me, what?  Was that my son?  Had he been abducted by aliens and replaced by a pod person?  Was this the best acting job in history performed by a 4 1/2 year old?  Was I still asleep?  These were all equally possible occurrences.  I was totally baffled.     

Then it dawned on me.  This was a Power Struggle in disguise.  He had simply won it before it even begun.  My little strategist...I think he's been playing too many games of checkers.

I'm guessing this is how it played out in his mind.  Mom is trying to do something I did not ask her to do.  This is not OK with me, because now Mom has the power and I do not.  Forget that.  I am taking back the power, and I will let her know I will eat and love the brown spots, just because she is trying to get rid of it, and she was totally wrong to even think about cutting it out, even though deep down I really want her to cut out that nasty, gross, mushy part of my banana.  I will choke it down if I have to, just to maintain that tiny bit of power.  Game over.  I win.

What his little preschool self doesn't know, is that Mom is actually 100% OK with him winning this one.  1.) I didn't actually have to cut the banana, 2.)  There was no drama/whining/carryign on to speak of, and 3.) He ate the entire banana on his own without him nagging me.

There are many, many power struggles waiting for me in my very near and very distant future.  I know they are coming.  I know most of them will not work to my advantage.  I will cherish this one.  I will enjoy it.  I will smile and wave at the leprechauns riding a unicorn through my backyard. 

As you encounter your own Power Struggles in your world, You Are a Good Mom. Whether it is a newborn refusing to take a bottle, a toddler refusing to take a nap, or a teenager refusing to pick up their room, hang in there.  You are not alone in dealing with your Power Struggles!  And maybe, just maybe, one might work to your advantage one of these days.


  1. I love the new walking-on-the-beach photo! Another great blog post!


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