When the kids run the show
Take back the power when family life is out of whack
Friday, August 22, 2008
Who’s in charge at your house? In too many homes, the answer to that would be "the kids." At least that’s what child psychologist and author Beth Grosshans thinks after seeing so many out-of-control children and their struggling parents coming in and out of her private practice.
"Through observing and listening (to the families) it became very clear to me that power was a central dynamic in what was driving the troubles," Grosshans says. "An imbalance of family power is when kids have too much power and parents not enough."
An imbalance of family power (IFP) is often a result of parents’ best intended efforts—the overfocus on our kids and their self-esteem and the emphasis on talking to kids to try to get them to cooperate, Grosshans says. All of those things give children, not the parents, the power in the family.
To help parents turn this situation around, Grosshans and Janet Burton wrote Beyond Time-Out: From Chaos to Calm (Sterling Publishing, $19.95).
In her book, Grosshans gives very specific instructions on what to do and say to regain the power balance in your family. She covers the five areas most commonly impacted by IFP: opposition, anxiety, sleeping, eating and toileting. She details the kind of parenting interactions that lead to trouble in these areas and how to correct them.
It’s all about stepping back into our role as parents, Grosshans says. "What’s the point of having parents if we sidestep our role? Kids are so fundamentally ill-equipped to raise themselves and exercise good judgment," she says. "This book is to open the parents’ eye to the problems and to give them instruction on how to be effective leaders."