When it comes to power struggles with my all-too-powerful, almost-four-year-old darling, I want to let you in on a little secret:
That's right. I don't handle them anymore. I pass the buck.
I stumbled on this strategy a while back out of desperation, and at the time I thought two things: "I must be losing it!" and, "Surely, Lucas won't buy it!"
Why did I think these two things?
Because I delegate to Chewy-man, Lucas' well-worn lovey.
Here's what Chewy-man (otherwise known as "Vegetable Chew") looks like … after a replacement hat and some reconstructive surgery following the incident of the neighbor's dog eating his original face.*
Here's an example of delegating to Chewy-man from this very morning (at 5:30am, I might add):
It turns out, this is a well-known strategy, but I didn't yet know about it. This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending an all-too-brief workshop on Redirecting Children's Behavior led by RCB instructor extraordinaire, Kelly Soban,** and found out that using puppets is a great way of diffusing power struggles. I know Chewy-man isn't a puppet, per se, but the idea still applies. Instead of me - the authority figure - trying to get Lucas to comply with a particular request that he's decided he'd rather not comply with, Chewy-man – his peer, so to speak – makes a simple request, and Lucas happily goes along with it.
Sheer brilliance – if I do say so myself!
Try it for yourself and let me know how it works!
*Mommy isn't the best with the needle and thread, and when I handed him back his Franken-Chewy with a crooked head, Lucas looked at him thoughtfully and said, "It's okay Mommy. It's good." Sweet boy!
**Redirecting Children's Behavior is a wonderful body of work that dovetails so, so nicely with sensitive kids! Many of you have mentioned this to me before, but I thought I'd put out the word again, for those of you who've missed those valuable reader comments along the way. If you're in the San Diego area, Kelly Soban is a wonderful facilitator. She's been practicing on her own daughter for 14 years, and has been helping other families for 13 years. Check out her website!